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Higher Seeds Take Playoff Opener


PhilBoxing.com





High-seeded teams from both the East and West dominated their playoff openers, leveraging home-court advantage and deeper rosters.

The #2 Denver Nuggets defeated the #7 Los Angeles Lakers, 114-103 and the #3 Minnesota Timberwolves overwhelmed #6 Phoenix Suns, 120-95 to post a 1-0 lead in the first round in the West.

Meanwhile, #2 New York Knicks outplayed #7 Philadelphia 76ers, 111-104 and #4 Cleveland Cavaliers beat #5 Orlando Magic in a low scoring game, 97-83 to go ahead 1-0 in their best of seven series in the East.

The Lakers hold little illusion of beating the NBA defending champions Nuggets in the opener right in their homecourt after losing to Denver seven straight times, including a 4-0 sweep in the last season Western Conference Finals. This season, the Lakers have dropped all three regular season series to the Nuggets.

But the Lakers tried hard in the first half, getting the lead and maintaining it till halftime, 60-57.

But as a writer had put it, any recent Nuggets-Lakers could be likened to a predator playing with its prey until it's time to devour the prey.

That pattern played in this game as the Nuggets exploded a 32-18 third quarter to grab the lead for good, 89-78 and merely matched whatever the Lakers could manage to coast to victory.

As usual Nikola Jokic masterminded the Nuggets win with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 6 dimes supported by Jamal Murray (22), Michael Porter Jnr (19), Aaron Gordon (15) and Kentavious Caldwell Pope (14).

Anthony Davis (32 points, 14 boards and 6 assists) and Lebron James (27-6-8) tried to rally the Lakers but could only get some support from DeAndre Russell, Austin Reeves and Taurean Prince.

The Knicks-Sixers game was intriguing in that had injury not taken Joel Embiid away for a considerable part of the regular season, maybe Philadelphia could have been #2 in the East.

But New York proved their being #2 was no fluke as the Knicks showed much more to not only match but surpass what Embiid and Tyrese Maxey combined could deliver. The Knicks drew production from seven players while the Sixers could only draw at most from five.

Josh Hart and Mitchell Robinson aided Isaac Hartenstein in generating rebounds aside from points production in support of Jalen Brunson. who also got firepower from Miles McBride, Bogdan Bogdabovic and OG Anounoby.

Maxey and Embiid led the Sixers but could only get support from Kyle Lowry, Kelly Oubre and Tobias Harris.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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