NBA Playoffs off to historical start

Taylor Jordan, Courier Staff

The NBA playoffs are in full effect, as a busy weekend of game one’s have begun. The road to The Finals started last Saturday with four games on the schedule. Two more games took off on Monday.

The Philadelphia 76ers made a statement by blowing out the Brooklyn Nets in game two. After leading by just one point entering halftime, the Sixers tied an NBA record by scoring 51 points in the third quarter. The game ended at a 145-123 defeat over the Nets to tie the series up.

Ben Simmons posted a triple-double (18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds) as Philadelphia rested their starters for most of the fourth quarter.

On Saturday, the Nets were on fire when it came to three-pointers. Their long-range attack led to a rare sequence in the first quarter where they hit two and-one 3s in a span of 90 seconds. D’Angelo Russell flaunted some postseason gold, playing like the All-Star leader Brooklyn needs with 26 points, and Caris LeVert scored 23 to lead the Nets to an impressive win.

In the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday, the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers repeated their rivalry. The Warriors pulled away from the Clippers for a win in game one, even though Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverley both got ejected.

With a 121-104 win, Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 27 points. Durant is scoring 26 points per game while averaging 6.4 rebounds for the Warriors. Draymond Green has averaged 6.4 rebounds and added 8.7 points per game over the last 10 games for Golden State.

The Warriors have gone 13-3 against division opponents. Golden State ranks third in the NBA with 36.5 defensive rebounds per game, led by DeMarcus Cousins averaging 6.8 while the Clippers are 11-5 against the rest of their division. Los Angeles is 48-25 when scoring 100 or more points.

In game two on Monday night, the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers came back from 31 points down in the third quarter to beat the Warriors 135-131. This comeback win is the largest in NBA playoff history, surpassing the 1988-89 Los Angeles Lakers comeback from 29 points down versus the Seattle Supersonics.

The Clippers were led by Lou Williams’ 36 points and Landry Shamet’s game-winning three-pointer with 16.5 seconds remaining. Los Angeles outscored Golden State 85-58 in the second half.

The Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers tipped off game one of their first round series on Sunday afternoon and following the first half, the Celtics took a 1-0 series lead over the Pacers thanks to a 26-8 third quarter.

Boston was led by Kyrie Irving, who finished with 20 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and two steals. They also had the help of Marcus Morris, who ended with 20 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

The Pacers went 0-9 from the field to start the second half and they didn’t score their first points until the 1:27 mark of the quarter. The Celtics defense helped get them their victory despite their offense. Game two is set for today.

Milwaukee Bucks made a statement to the Eastern Conference after game one on Sunday in a stunning 121-86 victory over the Pistons. Superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 24 points, 17 rebounds and four assists in just 23 minutes. At just 24-years-old, he is the favorite to win MVP along with leading Milwaukee to the best record in the NBA this season.

Bucks had finished the regular season ranked first in the NBA with a net rating of plus-8.6. While the Pistons have lost seven on their final 11 games, the Bucks and Pistons will face off for game two tonight at 7 p.m.

The Utah Jazz were run off the floor Sunday night by the Houston Rockets after a 122-90 win. Houston’s entire starting lineup had at least 10 points. Eric Gordon had 17, Cline Capela scored 16, Chris Paul added 14 and P.J. Tucker had 11.

The Rockets had a double-digit lead for most of the game, but the Jazz got within five points midway through the third quarter before Houston used a big run to victory.

It’s the second consecutive year these teams have met in the postseason after the Rockets eliminated Utah in five games in the second round last season. Game two is scheduled for tonight in Houston.

The NBA Playoffs will continue with games all throughout the week.