The 2021 NBA Playoffs formally kicked off on Saturday as eight of the 16 groups took the courtroom to start their journey to the NBA Finals. In case you missed it, right here’s a recap of the primary day of motion.
(3) Bucks 109, (6) Warmth 107 – MIL leads 1-0
The postseason opened with an exciting sport in Milwaukee because the Bucks held on for a 109-107 additional time victory over the Miami Warmth in Recreation 1 of their first-round playoff sequence on the Fiserv Discussion board on Saturday afternoon.
Khris Middleton hit a 19-foot fade away jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining over Warmth guard Duncan Robinson to carry the Bucks to victory.
The win comes after the Bucks fell to the Warmth within the second spherical of 2020 NBA Playoffs, dropping the sequence 4-1.
Jimmy Butler compelled additional time with a driving layup in opposition to the robust protection of Antetokounmpo. With one remaining probability to win the sport, Butler’s three-point try was blocked by Jrue Vacation as time expired.
”I’ve confidence in myself,” Middleton mentioned of his sport winner. ”You miss plenty of photographs. You make plenty of photographs. You simply should belief all of the work you place in through the season and apply.”
Middleton led the Bucks with 27 factors, six rebounds, and 6 assists. He went 3-for-9 from three-point vary however there’s little doubt his largest two factors got here within the remaining seconds of additional time.
Antetokounmpo completed with 26 factors, 18 rebounds and 5 assists, however shot simply 6-of-13 from the free-throw line, costing the Bucks an opportunity to shut the sport in regulation.
”I simply tried to remain aggressive the entire sport,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. ”That’s what I’m going to attempt to do the entire sequence, miss or make.”
Vacation had 20 factors and 11 rebounds and Brook Lopez chipped in 18 factors and eight rebounds for Milwaukee, who scraped by with the win regardless of capturing a poor 16 p.c from three-point vary within the afternoon.
”We don’t want 3’s to win,” mentioned Vacation, who missed all 5 of his 3-point makes an attempt. ”We do plenty of every little thing.”
Goran Dragic scored 25 factors to guide Miami, together with a 3-pointer with 20.6 seconds left in additional time to tie the sport. Butler added 17 factors whereas including 10 rebounds.
”The stress was all on them,” mentioned Dragic. ”They should win at dwelling. It was a detailed sport. I really feel like we had our probabilities, however sadly we didn’t take them.”
(2) Nets 104, (7) Celtics 93 – BKN leads 1-0
Saturday evening’s marquee matchup was the playoff debut of the “large three” in Brooklyn as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden all took the courtroom collectively for simply the ninth time this season.
The Brooklyn Nets overcame a poor first half and used a robust second half to defeat the Boston Celtics 104-93 on the Barclays Heart in Recreation 1 of their Jap Convention first spherical sequence.
Boston got here out robust, scoring taking the early 9 level lead and led by six after the primary quarter. The Nets’ star trio mixed to shoot a poor 0-for-11 from three-point vary within the first half.
Nonetheless, that every one modified within the second half. Durant completed the sport with 32 factors and 12 rebounds to guide Brooklyn. Irving scored 29 factors and Harden chipped in 21 factors, 9 rebounds and eight assists.
”I believe as soon as your vitality’s targeted on the defensive facet of the ball, it would begin to flip for you,” Durant mentioned. ”So that you noticed that for us within the second half.”
Jayson Tatum scored 22 factors for the Celtics whereas Marcus Good added 17.
(4) Clippers 103, (5) Mavericks 113 – DAL leads 1-0
Luka Doncic burned the LA Clippers within the bubble final 12 months within the playoffs and he wasted little time doing the identical factor this 12 months.
Doncic scored 31 factors and the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Clippers 113-103 in Recreation 1 of their Western Convention first-round sequence on Saturday afternoon at Staples Heart.
When the Clippers despatched two gamers at Doncic, his teammates have been prepared. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 21 factors, Dorian Finney-Smith added 18, and Kristaps Porzingis chipped in 14 factors.
”We’re a strength-in-numbers operation,” Dallas Head Coach Rick Carlisle mentioned. ”Luka is a good participant and KP is a good participant, however as a workforce we all know that everyone has received to be prepared and pull their weight when known as upon.”
Doncic 11 assists and 10 rebounds to associate with his 31 factors on the day. He and Hardaway Jr. made 5 3-pointers every because the Mavericks completed the sport capturing 47 p.c from past the arc.
It was a special story for the Los Angeles, who shot simply 27 p.c from three. Kawhi Leonard had 26 factors and 10 rebounds and Paul George added 23 factors. The 2-headed snake of the Clippers shot simply 3-for-14 on three-pointers.
”We had plenty of dangerous performs, plenty of breakdowns, however after we have been dialed in we had an awesome stretch the place we took over the sport,” George mentioned. ”That’s simply received to be us all 48 minutes.”
(3) Nuggets 109, (6) Path Blazers 123 – POR leads 1-0
The ultimate sport of the day noticed the Denver Nuggets lose dwelling courtroom and fall 123-109 to the Portland Path Blazers at Ball Area on Saturday evening.
Damian Lillard scored 34 factors and CJ McCollum added 21 factors for Portland, who took the house courtroom edge with the Recreation 1 win. Carmelo Anthony helped out by chipping in 18 factors.
The Blazers did most of their harm from past the arc, hitting 19-of-40. They outscored Denver by 24 factors from three-point vary. The Nuggets solely related on 11 of their 36 three-point makes an attempt.
Nikola Jokic led Denver with 34 factors and 16 rebounds. Michael Porter Jr. added 25 factors, whereas 16 factors.