The second day of the first round of the NBA Playoffs 2023 gave a few teams a chance to solidify their spot in the second round, such as the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers. Other series, such as the Los Angeles Lakers-Memphis Grizzlies or Cleveland Cavaliers-New York Knicks matchups, are more evenly matched.
Warriors edge closer to elimination
The Golden State Warriors are still not playing their best basketball. The defending champions lost again against the Sacramento Kings (114-106), complicating their path to the second round. The battle of Californian rivals stands at 2-0 in favor of the Kings. Point guard De'Aaron Fox led the Kings to victory, scoring 24 points and dishing out 9 assists. Domantas Sabonis, who had an outstanding performance in the paint, grabbed 9 rebounds to go along with his 24 points.
FINAL: Kings take Game 2 vs. Warriors, 114-106 🔦🟣
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) April 18, 2023
The lasting image of the game featured Sabonis and Warriors forward Draymond Green. After a Kings offensive play, Sabonis fell to the floor and grabbed Green by the foot. The latter, without hesitation, reacted by stomping on Sabonis' chest. Green ended up ejected, and the Sabonis received a technical foul. The NBA decided to suspend Green, who will not be able to play the third game of the first round.
Jayson Tatum's performance against the Atlanta Hawks was excellent. The Celtics forward scored 30 points, dished out 6 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds in his team's 119-106 victory. The Celtics have proven to be the far superior team and should not have much trouble advancing through to the second round in the Eastern Conference.
Joel Embiid colossal against the Nets
No Brooklyn Nets player could stop Joel Embiid at the rim. The Philadelphia 76ers center was spectacular in the paint, grabbing 19 rebounds and scoring 20 points, the same number as forward Tobias Harris, in his team's 96-84 victory. The leading scorer was point guard Tyrese Maxey, with 33 points. The Sixers won the first two games against the Nets and are on track to qualify for the semifinals.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 18, 2023
The Cleveland Cavaliers evened their series by defeating the New York Knicks (107-90) on their home court. Evan Mobley (13 rebounds and 13 points) and Donovan Mitchell (17 points and 13 assists) recorded a double-double. Point guard Darius Garland scored 32 points, which facilitated the victory for the Cavs in the second game of the series.
Suns win and tie their series
The Phoenix Suns woke up. Despite a poor first quarter, the Suns defeated the Los Angeles Clippers (123-109) to even the series. The Clippers had no answer for Devin Booker, who finished the game with 38 points and 9 assists. DeAndre Ayton recorded a double-double (13 rebounds and 14 points), and Kevin Durant scored 25 points and grabbed 6 rebounds to bolster Booker's effort.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 19, 2023
Another team that tied their series was the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizz beat the Los Angeles Lakers (103-93) thanks to the contribution of Xavier Tillman, who finished the game with a double-double (22 points and 13 rebounds). The Lakers will have to improve their performance in the next game. Only LeBron James stood out for the Lakers, with 28 points and 12 rebounds.
Bucks win without Giannis
The Milwaukee Bucks did not need Giannis Antetokounmpo to earn a resounding victory over the Miami Heat (138-122) and tie their series. Seven Bucks players scored in double figures, highlighted by Brook Lopez's 25 points, Jrue Holiday's 24 and Pat Connaughton's 22. On the defensive end, Bobby Portis grabbed 15 rebounds. The Bucks continue to maintain their status as favorites.
The second round of games ended with a Denver Nuggets victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves (122-113). A third of the Nuggets' points were scored by point guard Jamal Murray (40 points), who was firing with ease from the three-point line. The Nuggets benefited from the great contribution of Nikola Jokić, who recorded 27 points, 9 assists and 9 rebounds, an impressive performance by the Serbian center. The series stands at 2-0 in favor of the Nuggets.
AFTER TONIGHT'S GAMES 🍿
— NBA (@NBA) April 20, 2023