NBA Playoffs
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mike Conley, front, looks to pass the ball under defensive pressure from Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and center Nikola Jokic, back, in the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Sunday, April 16, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Upsets Highlight Sunday’s Action of the NBA Playoffs

Sunday’s slate of the NBA Playoffs had four games, three of which were upsets. The jam-packed Sunday created chaos around the league.

Lakers Steal Home-Field Advantage Against Grizzlies

After defeating the Timberwolves in the Play-In, the Lakers advanced to the playoffs. Many had the Lakers upsetting the Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, but not even the most delusional Lakers fan could have expected a double-digit win on the road.

An arm injury from star forward Anthony Davis in the second quarter created a 38-point quarter for Memphis. The Grizzlies went into halftime with a five-point lead.

Davis stayed in the game, and it was all Lakers in the second half. The Lakers were the busiest team at the trade deadline and are the hottest team in the league since the deadline.

Rui Hachimura is one of the players the Lakers acquired, and he was a man possessed in the second half. He missed only one of his nine shots and made all of his three-point attempts in the second half of Game 1. Hachimura and DeAngelo Russell pushed the Lakers to a Game 1 victory and an early lead in the series.

In the 29 prior series in LeBron James’ career, his teams advanced 27 times after winning the first match. Game 2 is Wednesday and starts at 7:30 p.m.

Bucks Couldn’t Hold Up with Heat after Giannis Injury

Prior to Sunday’s game against the Heat, the Bucks expected a sweep. After Game 1, the Bucks will try to not be bounced in round one. The shift in mood is due to one player, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The two-time MVP went down in the first quarter with a back injury that sidelined him for the rest of the game.

Without their star player, the Bucks could not stop Miami’s perimeter shooting. Gabe Vincent and Kevin Love shot a combined 8-12 from beyond the arc. While the team shot 60% from three.

While the Bucks’ Kris Middleton tried his darndest to keep Milwaukee in the game, Antetokounmpo’s departure was too much. It also did not help that Jimmy Butler only sat three minutes in the entire game and led both teams in scoring with 35 points. Game 2 is Wednesday night and starts at 7:30.

Leonard and Durant Duel in the Desert

Two experienced teams face off in round one. It’s viewed as the most exciting series in the opening round. While neither team are a top-three seed in the west, it would shock nobody if the winner of this series upsets the one-seed Denver Nuggets in the second round.

The Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard has been struggling with injuries in his tenure with the team. But on Sunday, Leonard turned another gear. He had 38 points in Sunday’s win against the Suns.

The Suns, who struggled to begin the season, needed a spark heading into the postseason. That spark is named Kevin Durant. Phoenix mortgaged their entire future for the 34-year-old at the trade deadline. The Suns were undefeated with Durant until Sunday’s game.

Durant had 27 points and was one rebound short of a triple-double. The Suns were risking Durant’s health by playing just three minutes without the three-time champion. Durant was also nursing an ankle injury he suffered a few weeks ago.

But neither of the two future Hall of Famers had the ball late in a one-possession game. Devin Booker, who had 26 points Sunday, drove down the lane and was blocked by Russell Westbrook. The Suns needed a three and only had 17 seconds left in the game. Booker was hoping to get a quick two points and see if the Clippers made their free throws. Even if Booker did make the layup, Phoenix had no timeouts and still needed a three to tie the game.

This game was the third and final upset of Sunday’s slate of playoff games and Game 2 of this series will be Tuesday at 10 p.m.

Nuggets Cruise Past Timberwolves Despite Jokic’s Struggle

The last game was a late one. Tip-off started at 10 p.m. and it was a very uneventful and unaspiring match.

Minnesota was outmatched by Denver offensively and defensively. The headline was centered around the big men going into this series. Denver’s Nikola Jokic has won the last two MVPs and carried his team to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The player everyone stayed up to watch, had just 13 points and six assist in 28 minutes of work.

Jokic has had the better of Rudy Gobert in his career. Gobert was dealt by the Utah Jazz at the beginning of the season for five first-round picks. Jokic struggled against the French big man and fouled out early in the fourth quarter.

By the time of Jokic’s departure, the game was out of reach. Minnesota was unable to keep up with Denver. The Nugget’s starting five had more points (83) than Minnesota’s entire 13-man rotation (80).

Jamal Murray led Denver in points with 24 points.

Denver’s 29-point victory Sunday does not spark hope in Minnesota for the rest of the series. In order for the Timberwolves to gain any momentum, Karl Anthony-Towns and Anthony Edwards need to step up offensively.

About Nick VanZandt

Nick VanZandt is a senior journalism student at the University of Florida and this is his third semester working for WRUF.

Check Also

NBA Legend Jerry West dies at 86

The NBA community mourns the loss of Hall of Famer Jerry West, who passed away …