NBA playoffs east and west first round recap

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Matt Mariani, Editor, Staff Writer

The Boston Celtics were the first team to win their series, beating the Brooklyn Nets in 4 games. This was the 7/2 matchup and looked like it would be a close series throughout even though the Nets were such a low seed. The Nets had injuries and covid issues throughout the season, but with superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving playing, it looked like they could upset the 2 seed Celtics. In game 1, Kyrie Irving went off for 39 points while being heckled by all of Boston, but it wasn’t enough as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 54 points and Tatum hit the game winning layup. The next 3 games were all held within 7 points, but the Nets were unable to close any of the games out. Celtics star Jayson Tatum averaged 29.5 points and 7 assists per game in the series and Boston will move on to round 2. 

The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Chicago Bulls in 5 games with great performances from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who averaged 28.6 points and 13.4 assists. After the first two games, it looked like the series would be close with each team taking a game. But the next 3 games were very different as the Bucks blew out the Bulls in each game. The Bucks star Khris Middleton got hurt in game 2, but the Bucks were still able to dominate the series without him. Bulls star DeMar DeRozan averaged 20.8 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.8 rebounds throughout the 5 games and a 41 point effort in game two that secured the Bulls their only win of the series. 

The Boston Celtics will face the Milwaukee Bucks in round 2 of the NBA playoffs. 

The Miami Heat took down the Atlanta Hawks in 5 games, starting on the defensive end, holding young star Trae Young to 15.4 points per game. Young shot only 18.4 percent from 3 and made only 7 threes through the 5 games. The Heat were catapulted by star Jimmy Butler who averaged 30.5 points per game, including a 45 point explosion in game 2. The Hawks kept game 5 close up until the end, but it was a great defensive effort from Max Strus, P.J. Tucker, and Victor Oladipo on the final play not allowing a shot in the final 5.2 seconds, up by 3. Oladipo stepped up in game 5 for Miami, scoring 23 points after not playing much in the first 4 games. 

The Philadelphia 76ers beat the Toronto Raptors in 6 games after going up 3-0. MVP candidate Joel Embiid led the way for the Sixers, averaging 26.2 points and 11.3 rebounds per game during the series. Raptors Power Forward Pascal Siakam did all he could for the Raptors averaging almost 23 points, 7.2 rebounds and just under 6 assists. Injuries plagued the Raptors as they almost came back from down 3 games. 

The Miami Heat will face the Philadelphia 76ers in round 2 of the NBA playoffs. 

The Golden State Warriors move on to the second round after defeating the Denver Nuggets in 5 games. Jordan Poole played extremely well in the first 3 games of the series with Steph Curry on a minutes restriction due to injury. Poole scored 30 points in game one, followed by 29 and 27 point games. Of course Steph Curry played well as he averaged 28 points and 5 assists throughout the 5 game series, including 30 points in game 5 to close out the series. MVP candidate for the Nuggets, Nikola Jokic did all he could for the Nuggets averaging 31 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. The Nuggets kept the games pretty close, but the Warriors will move on to round 2. 

The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in an up and down series, in 6 games. After the first two games, the series was 1-1 with what seemed like commanding victories for the teams. But the next 4 games were extremely close at the end with game 4 and 5 ending with a T-Wolves 1 point win and Grizzlies 2 point win. Game 3 was wild as the T-Wolves led by as much as 26 points in the second quarter, but a 37-12 4th quarter won by Memphis would give them the win. Grizzlies guard Ja Morant averaged 21.5 points, 10.5 assists, and 8.7 rebounds to lead his team to victory.

The Golden State Warriors will face the Memphis Grizzlies in round 2 of the NBA Playoffs. 

The Phoenix Suns defeated the New Orleans Pelicans in 6 games. The Pelicans put up a much better fight than people expected, winning 2 games and keeping the others somewhat close. The Suns dealt with injury with star Devin Booker missing 3 of the 6 games, which also helped keep the games close. It was star point guard Chris Paul who led the way for Phoenix with an all-time great game 6. Paul had 33 points on a perfect 14/14 shooting, as well as 8 assists. 

The Dallas Mavericks eliminated the Utah Jazz in 6 games, even with young star Luka Doncic missing 3 of the games. Guard Jalen Brunson for Dallas, stepped up in place of Doncic averaging 27.8 points per game, including a 41 point game 2. For the Jazz, guard Donovan Mitchell led the way averaging 25.5 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.3 rebounds. That wasn’t enough, though, to take down the Mavericks as they move on to round 2. 

The Dallas Mavericks will face the Phoenix Suns in round 2 of the NBA playoffs.