Good morning, folks. If you heard that opening day of the postseason would be a boring affair, you were woefully misinformed. Let’s talk NBA playoffs.
(6) Nets – 111 @ (3) 76ers – 102 (BKN leads 1-0)
- Let’s start in Philadelphia and get all the non-BBNBA games out of the way. The three-seeded 76ers fell to the six-seeded Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 by a score of 111-102. But the controversy wasn’t the Nets upset win, rather a cell phone incident on the sideline between 76ers superstar Joel Embiid and veteran reserve Amir Johnson. Embiid was caught by cameras looking at Johnson’s phone as he checked it during the middle of the game. The Internet immediately lost its mind.
Philly texting on the Sixers bench as the Nets had a lead on them all game pic.twitter.com/2ogjPhajPj
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 13, 2019
Joel Embiid says Amir Johnson was checking his phone because “his daughter was extremely sick and he was checking on his daughter” pic.twitter.com/ZXVyd8iTT3
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 13, 2019
- If Embiid’s claim that Johnson was checking on his extremely sick daughter, then I personally don’t understand what the big deal is. Should Johnson have his phone out during a playoff game? No. But does it really have an impact on the actual game? Would Philly have won if Johnson kept his phone in his pocket? No. Johnson has already been fined by the Sixers for the incident – a fine I believe was more about the principle of the rules rather than “detrimental conduct”. This isn’t an issue that should be debated beyond yesterday.
- Now to the upsets.
(7) Magic – 104 @ (2) Raptors – 101 (ORL leads 1-0)
- Jodie Meeks only appeared on the court for Toronto for two minutes, but still managed to drill a triple in the process as his Raptors team fell at home to the Magic in Game 1. And once again, we can bask in the glory that is the Raptors absolutely blowing it in the playoffs. What’s that? DeMar DeRozan is gone? Doesn’t matter. Kyle Lowry forgets how to play basketball once those initial 82 games come to a conclusion and Kawhi Leonard’s 25 points didn’t even matter. D.J. Augustin buried a three with under four seconds left to break the tie and ultimately give Orlando a massive 1-0 advantage. Augustin finished with a team-high 25 points.
(8) Clippers – 104 @ (1) Warriors – 121 (GSW leads 1-0)
- Of course, the only upset I wanted to see, didn’t happen. The Los Angeles Clippers held strong for the majority of the first three quarters but were overwhelmed by the stacked Golden State Warriors in Game 1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander opened his playoff career with a solid outing for the Clips, posting a BBNBA-high 18 points on 6-16 shooting (3-6 from deep) to go along with five rebounds and three blocks.
- DeMarcus Cousins playoff debut didn’t go as well. Cousins fouled out after only 21 minutes, but not before he registered nine points on 4-12 shooting, nine rebounds, four assists (and six turnovers). But the worse news is Cousins was a minus-17 in those 21 minutes. And if my math is correct… that was the final difference in the end. The Clippers were baiting Cousins into open threes, to which he happily obliged – and then missed.
- Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverley were both ejected after receiving two double-technical fouls in a matter of 20 seconds while Steph Curry broke the record for most made three-pointers in playoff history. Curry finished with 38 points and made eight of his 12 attempts from deep. Geez…
(7) Spurs – 101 @ (2) Nuggets – 96 (SAS leads 1-0)
- The playoff debut for Jamal Murray is one he’ll want to forget as soon as possible. The former Kentucky guard got off 24 shots against the Spurs but connected on only eight of them for 17 points. 17 points on 24 shots is not quite ideal for a Game 1 playoff matchup. Actually, the Nuggets as a team shot under 22 percent from deep (6-28) – they shot worse than that only three times in the regular season. The Nuggets aren’t used to not breaking 100 points (they did that only 12 times in the regular season). Murray was just missing wide-open looks, including the clean mid-range attempt he missed right before the end that would have won the game for Denver. He did finish with six steals, however, a career high.
- Denver is the only team of the three upsets that I’m not worried about. The Spurs did look good but did so by bombarding Nikola Jokic on every possession. Jokic was making plays like a young (and oversized) Chris Paul all night but it didn’t matter when his teammates weren’t hitting. Once those shots start to fall, the Nuggets will take off. This is the team a lot of pundits are worried about because of their overall playoff inexperience and star power flowing through a plodding big man with love handles, but they’re built for this. They can torch teams for 120 on any given night. It’s going to happen to San Antonio in this series (they hit that mark 17 times in the regular season). Keep an eye on the rest of this series, it’s only going to get better from here.
- Check out the full stat sheet below. On deck for Sunday’s games, we have Eric Bledsoe and Enes Kanter headlining Game 1’s for their respective teams.
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||104-121 L @ GSW||18||6-16 (3-6)||5||1||0||3||1||-8||34|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||96-101 L vs. SAS||17||8-24 (0-6)||2||0||6||0||2||+5||34|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||121-104 W vs. LAC||9||4-12 (1-3)||9||4||1||0||6||-17||21|
|Jodie Meeks (TOR)||101-104 L @ TOR||3||1-2 (0-0)||0||1||0||0||0||+4||2|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||96-101 L vs. SAS||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||96-101 L vs. SAS||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TODAY IN THE NBA
1:00 (TNT): Pacers @ Celtics
3:30 (ABC): Thunder (Diallo, Noel, Patterson) @ Trail Blazers (Kanter, Labissiere)
7:00 (TNT): Pistons @ Bucks (Bledsoe)
9:30 (TNT): Jazz @ Rockets