NBA Playoffs: Milwaukee Bucks' loss highlights the first day of the NBA postseason

The 2021 champions dropped the first game of the series against the Miami Heat. The Warriors and Suns were the other two surprising losses.

There were several surprises on the first day of the NBA Playoffs 2023. Milwaukee Bucks lost 130-117 to Miami Heat in the first game of their series. Jimmy Butler scored 35 points and dished out 11 assists, and Bam Adebayo had 22 points and 9 rebounds of his own to lead the the Heat to victory over the heavy favorite to win the title.

It wasn't the only bad news for the Bucks. Their star player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, suffered a hard blow to his back with just over four minutes left in the first quarter. Although the “Greek Freak” was able to continue playing for a few minutes, he ended up leaving the game. For the moment, he is doubtful for the second game of the series, which will be played in two days.

Warriors and Suns lose

Another of the big surprises of this first day was the Sacramento Kings' 126-123 victory over the Golden State Warriors, thanks to the contribution from the electric duo of De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk. The players scored 70 points between them, which tipped the scales in the Kings’ favor. Shutting down Domantas Sabonis was the only positive takeaway the defending champion Warriors had from the opening game.

Also surprising was the Phoenix Suns' 115-110 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Forward Kawhi Leonard led his team with 38 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists to deny one of the Western Conference’s title favorites their first victory. All this came in the absence of Paul George, who will miss the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Kevin Durant's double-double (27 points and 11 assists) was not enough to give his team the edge. The Suns missed the scoring contribution of Chris Paul.

Celtics and Nuggets start out strong

The Denver Nuggets opened strong against Minnesota Timberwolves and won 109-80. The Western Conference’s top seed dominated thanks to the performance of Nikola Jokić, who grabbed 14 rebounds, and the scoring of their five starters, who all surpassed 10 points. Jamal Murray was a standout with 24 points, and Michael Porter Jr. scored 18 of his own.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led the Boston Celtics to a 112-99 win over the Atlanta Hawks. The former had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and the latter had a double double with 29 points and 12 rebounds. The Celtics were far superior in both offensive and defensive statistics and is a clear favorite to advance to the next round.

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies by a final score of 128-112. They relied on strong performances by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who had a double-double each. Japanese player Rui Hachimura scored 29 points, and Austin Reeves tallied 23 of his own. With six minutes remaining, Grizzlies star Ja Morant suffered a hard fall that leaves him doubtful for the next game.

A very close match in the first game of the series between Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks ended with a 97-101 victory for New York. It was a spectacular performance by point guard Jalen Brunson, who had 27 points, aided by the outstanding participation of Julius Randle and Josh Hart, who nullified Cavs’ star Donovan Mitchell's 38 points. The Knicks snapped a 24-year streak without winning a Playoff game away from home.

The 2023 NBA Playoffs began with the duel between Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, with the former winning 121-101. The Sixers’ Big Three of James Harden, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris gave their opponents no chance. Mikal Bridges' 30-point, 5-assist performance was the only highlight for the Nets.