In case you were enjoying a casual Sunday off, here is what you missed on a HUGE first day of playoff basketball:
- One game winner and playoff record broken
- Two ejections
- And three upsets
It was a good day in the basketball world.
Brooklyn Nets (1-0) v Philadelphia 76ers (0-1): 111 to 102
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Brooklyn led from with about 2 minutes left in the first quarter and never looked back, winning a huge upset game against the hobbled 76ers.
How did this happen?
Firstly Embiid is still injured, he was a game time decision before the game and after a good start was pretty much shut down by Ed Davis who held Embiid to 13% shooting (1-8), and did not look his usual dominant self.
JJ Redick was fouled out after 23 minutes shooting 2-7
Tobias Harris (usually a great shooter) continued his slump hitting 2-7 for four points, Mike Scott was 1-8 in 32 minutes and the bench was outscored 26-59.
Jimmy Butler had a playoff high 36 points and 9 rebounds and looked to be the only threat on a pretty weak Philly team.
Ben Simmons got salty about the fans booing BUT the biggest story for the 76ers was Amir Johnson playing on his phone on the bench, but to be honest, anything would have been more enjoyable for him than watching the 76ers play that game…
But lets give some credit where it’s due: the Brooklyn Nets.
D’Angelo Russell continues to be All-Star calibre, leading his team with 26 points and 4 assists, there was also much needed help from the bench from LeVert with 23 points, Dinwiddie with 18 points and Davis pulling down a double double with a mighty 16 rebounds.
This game was worrying for the 76ers and their chemistry. They need Embiid to get healthy and Harris to start shooting again to have a chance of winning this series.
Next game @ 76ers: Tuesday (16/4) at 10am AEST
Orlando Magic (1-0) v Toronto Raptors (0-1): 104 to 101
Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images
There are two important notes to this game.
The first is the DJ Augustin game winner. With a few second to go, Marc Gasol and Kawhi Leonard mixed up their defensive assignment, Augustin got a wide-open look and sunk the game winner to the amazement of the entire North. Orlando somehow managed to win this game against Toronto, even with a poor performance from Vucevic.
The other story is that of Kyle Lowry. He went 0-7, six of those being three pointers…. We often forget that each year as we head to the playoffs historically Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan disappear. But now DeRozan is gone, we saw Lowry for all his glory and it was just shocking. Most of the misses were open threes but at least he provided 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals. This likely won’t happen again but for now it’s a bit worrying for the Raptors team.
Thankfully they still have two other power players in Leonard and my personal favourite: Pascal Siakam, who had 25 and 24 respectively, that will allow them to win this series.
At the end of the day, this game really shouldn’t worry the Raptors. This is still their series and they are still the much better team but only time will tell how far this series will go…
Next game @ Raptors : Wednesday (17/4) at 10am AEST
Los Angeles Clippers (0-1) v Golden State Warriors (1-0): 104 to 121
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
This game was as expected, Golden State destroyed the Clippers, but it wasn’t without its controversy and excitement.
Firstly, Steph Curry is now the all-time leader in three pointers made in the playoffs, taking over Ray Allen. He has 386 threes…. In 91 games. He was 8-12 for the night from three-point land and I can confirm his contacts lens are clearly working. Also, he was 11-16 in the game with 38 points, it’s just not fair.
Secondly, Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverly got ejected after tussling all game (if you get a chance to watch this, it is pretty darn fun). Keep in mind Durant is 2.06cm (around 7 feet) and Beverley is 1.85cm (Around 6’0) and yet Beverly still manages to hold his own as you would expect from one of the grittiest players in the game.
The Clippers bench of Montrez Harrell and Lou Williams was great once again with 26 and 25 respectively to lead their team, but I am genuinely unsure if they will win a single game against the all-star five of the Warriors.
Next Game: Tuesday (4/16) at 12:30pm AEST
San Antonio Spurs (1-0) v Denver Nuggets (0-1): 101 to 96
This was the upset that everyone expected.
Don’t get me wrong it was a close game and with about a minute left there was one point in it, but then Denver crumbled.
On a woeful inbound play, Derrick White steals the ball from Jamal Murray with 2 seconds to go and that was all she wrote (pretty much).
This game was really all about defence, with the Spurs holding Denver just 42% shooting and 21% from 3-point land. It should be a very tight series with a lot of uncertainty with who will win….
Just a quick side note: Jokic had a huge game becoming the fourth player to get a triple double on debut in the playoffs. But it meant nothing… Jokic was double teamed for most of the game and held to only 10 points, despite this monumental achievement.
The moral of this story is never doubt Greg Popovic.
Next Game: Wednesday (17/4) at 11am AEST