By: ENZO MORALES
The NBA Playoffs are finally back! After 427 days of waiting, fans all around the world get to see the best NBA teams in the world clash against each other in the battle for who gets the NBA Championship. The Nuggets, Jazz, Celtics, Sixers, Raptors, Nets, Clippers, and Mavericks all have the honor to play on the first day of the 2020 Playoffs.
The first game featured the Nuggets squaring off against the Jazz. Nearly every play made by the Nuggets was a pick & roll play with Murray and Jokic. Murray’s primary defender, Joe Ingles was just too slow to keep up. Murray would always blow by him and either go for a jump shot or drive to the rim to score on the seemingly fatigue Rudy Gobert. Jokic was ultimately just too big to handle in the paint which secured them the 135-125 overtime win in game one. Murray and Jokic both combined for 65 points which overcame the 57 point performance of Donovan Mitchell who just kept attacking the rim against the perimeter defenders of the Nuggets.
The Raptors then battled against the severely beat-up Nets who lost Kyrie, KD due to injuries, and Deandre Jordan due to Covid-19. All they had to do was to contain Caris LeVert who was averaging 25 points heading into the series. LeVert finished with just 15 points on 5/14 shooting against an incredible show of defense by the Raptors. The Raptors primary perimeter defenders such as Gasol and Siakam did a spectacular job to limit the Nets points in the paint. Fred Vanfleet was also red-hot from the three-point area, shooting 8/10 and finishing with 30 points. Kyle Lowry also displayed terrific shooting in the first half after shooting a pair of deep threes to get the game going. The Nets just couldn’t quite stop the Raptors from beyond the arc.
The Celtics and Sixers were up next with the Sixers missing Ben Simmons due to an injury that could be detrimental to the team’s playoff run. The game started with Embiid going 5/5 in the first quarter. It almost seemed like he was going to erupt for 50 points but his lack of touches throughout the game might have cost this defeat. Embiid went on to attempt ten more shots throughout the game and finished with 26 points and 16 boards. The Tatum and Brown duo showed out and notched 32 and 29 respectively to lead the way for the Celtics. Although, Gordon Hayward went down with three minutes left and had to leave the game. Coach Brad Stevens said “Don’t know the severity. He’s clearly in pain. It looked like it had some swelling already. That’s my medical review (Per https://www.espn.com/nba/recap?gameId=401236268)” This definitely isn’t good news for the Celtics and may even cost them their championship run.