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Almost But Not Quite for Lakers, Sixers as Nuggets, Knicks Escape With Close Wins


PhilBoxing.com




The Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers, both seventh seeds, came within a minute of upsetting their respective favored playoff opponents, Denver and New York, but ultimately dropped the close games.

The loss was particularly painful for the Sixers, who had a 100-96 lead going into the last minute only to see that advantage evaporate in a maze of errors and bad plays. These mistakes allowed the Knicks not only to regain the lead but extend it to three at the buzzer, 104-101.

Tyrese Maxey, along with Joel Embiid, was responsible for staking that last lead for the Sixers. However, it was Maxey who precipitated Philadelphia's collapse by losing the ball on his own fault during his drive to the basket.

Maxey and Embiid were also non-factors in the scramble for loose balls in and around the New York paint area. The Knicks' determined hustling resulted in them securing all the loose balls, which translated into baskets that wiped out the Sixers' four-point lead and shoved the Knicks ahead by three.

By the time the ball revolved back to Embiid, it was too late, and he missed a desperation three-point shot as time expired.

Maxey and Embiid accounted for three-fourths of the Sixers' score with 35 points and 34 points, respectively. However, just like Dallas, which relies on two superstar scorers, the strategy did not work for Philadelphia in the playoffs. New York employed a well-balanced attack anchored on Jaylen Brunson and the hustling of Donte DiVincenzo.

Brunson had 24 points, Josh Hart scored 20, followed by DiVincenzo with 19. Center Isaac Hartenstein, despite being thoroughly outplayed by Embiid, contributed 14 points. OG Anunoby chalked up 10 points, and Miles McBride and Bogdan Bogdanović chipped in 9 and 6 points, respectively. Even reserve center Mitchell Robinson helped in bothering Embiid. All eight Knicks who played contributed to the win.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets proved they could beat the Lakers even in a close, nip-and-tuck contest, coming from behind to win 101-99.

It was almost, but not quite, for the Lakers, who led for most of the game on superlative performances from Anthony Davis (32 points, 14 rebounds) and LeBron James (26 points, 8 rebounds, and 12 assists). Support from D'Andre Russell (23 points) almost spoiled another triple-double by Nikola Jokic (27 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists).

However, Jokic had more support from his cast: Michael Porter Jr. (22 points), Jamal Murray (20 points), Aaron Gordon (14 points), and Chris Braun (10 points).

Los Angeles has now dropped all nine meetings against the Nuggets since last season's Western Conference Finals.

Maybe next time, Lakers.

In the other scheduled playoff game, the Cleveland Cavaliers repeated their victory over the Orlando Magic in another low-scoring game, 96-86, to move to 2-0.

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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