Philadelphia started the night with a big 128-108 win over the Heat and it came with the help of a reinforcement.
Joel Embiid returned to the lineup and promptly scored 23 points while adding seven rebounds and four assists. While he had to play the game with a mask to protect his face after a recent orbital fracture, Embiid looked like he hadn't missed much time at all. His presence spells danger for the entire Eastern Conference.
"I was excited," the 2018 All-Star told reporters after the game. "Worked really hard for it. Promised the city that and made it happen. I was kind of sad that I couldn’t play in that first at home because we have a special connection. But I’m glad, came back today and we got a win."
The Pelicans were never scared by the Trail Blazers as they dominated Portland 119-102. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are still struggling to figure things out as they combined for minus-43 when they were on the floor.
Golden State is far from intimidated despite playing without Stephen Curry. They dropped the Spurs 110-97 in San Antonio Thursday giving them 18 straight wins in the Western Conference playoffs.
Studs of the NightPelicans forward Nikola Mirotic had a career playoff-high 30 points along with eight rebounds. He actually outscored Anthony Davis who had 28.
Kevin Durant had 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists and was a perfect 7 for 7 from the free-throw line.
Duds of the NightDwyane Wade had eight points and was just 2-for-10 shooting with four turnovers and his Heat teammate Hassan Whiteside scored five points in 13 injury-plagued minutes.