The NBA playoffs are finally around the corner and some of the league’s biggest stars showed up on Matchday 1. The fans had a Saturday full of highlights and big appearances as the best show in four series openings.
The day started with a buzzer beater to send the game into overtime and a last-second game winner the extension.
Here’s the breakdown of the best NBA playoff games on Saturday, looking at four more games 1 on Sunday:
Blazer 123, nuggets 109
The first game in the series brought Dame Time’s first appearance in the playoffs with Damian Lillard scored 20 of his 34 points in the second half when the blazers gained their home advantage with victory. Lillard added 13 assists and Portland shot 19 out of 40 (47.5%) from 3-point range. Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, the MVP front runner, matched Lillard at 34 and added 16 rebounds. Michael Porter Jr. had 25 points, but he only shot 1:10 from 3-point range as Denver was 11:36 (30.6%) from the outside. Jamal Murray, who is out of season with a knee injury, was on the sidelines to offer encouragement, but the nuggets missed his rating and style of play.
State of the series: Blazers lead 1-0. Game 2 is Monday in Denver (10pm ET, TNT).
Nets 104, Celtics 93
Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden The concerns about lack of playing time have been addressed together. Brooklyn’s Big 3 will be fine. Durant scored 32 points, Irving had 29 and Harden added 21 as they shook off a slow start to deal with Boston. In only their ninth game together, the trio shot 0-11 from 3-point range in the first half. In the third quarter, they scored 28 of the networks’s 31 points when Brooklyn took control. Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 22 points but only shot 6 out of 20 out of the field. Without the injured Jaylen Brown, the second top scorer, the Celtics struggled to score a reliable goal around Tatum.
State of the series: Nets lead 1-0. Game 2 is Tuesday in Brooklyn (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT).
Mavericks 113, Clippers 103
Luka Doncic took on his third career playoff triple-double In its seventh game, Dallas went to the Staples Center and took game 1 from Los Angeles. Doncic finished with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Mavs received large contributions from Tim Hardaway Jr. (21 points), Dorian Finney-Smith (18) and Jalen Brunson (15). The The clippers’ disagreements reappeared when they missed eight of their last nine shots and closed the Mavs with a 13-3 run. Los Angeles gave up the home advantage and has now lost four playoff games in a row, due to the 3-1 lead last season against the Denver Nuggets.
State of the series: Mavericks lead 1-0. Game 2 is Tuesday in Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. ET, NBATV).
Dollar 109, Heat 108 (OT)
Milwaukee has a free throw problem. While luck is certainly necessary in the playoffs, the bucks are were lucky enough to overcome 60.6% of the shooting off the foul line in their game 1 win against Miami, including 6-of-13 by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. In the last four minutes of regulation and overtime, he only shot 3-8. In the end, it didn’t cost the money. But the way the Heat plays – slow down, play physically, mess up a bit – is going to give the dollars plenty of chances on the foul line, and they have to be better on the line. The Heat that the East won last season (beating the Bucks 4-1 in the conference semifinals) is not your typical sixth seed, and They’ll make it hard for the dollars in this series. – Jeff Zillgitt
State of the series: Dollars lead 1-0. Game 2 is Monday in Milwaukee (7:30 PM ET, TNT).
The first weekend of the 2021 NBA playoffs ends with the last four first-round openings, including the top two seeds.
Wizard at Sixers (1 p.m. ET, TNT): The top seed Philadelphia wants to take the next step in “The Process” and reach the NBA finals. Washington ended the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the league.
Lakers at Suns (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC): Defending champion Lakers is finally sane as he opens up to the suns, making him a unsurprising – albeit unprecedented – seventh seed favored for winning the series.
Hawks at Knicks (7 p.m. ET, TNT): Playoff basketball returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time in eight years as the Knicks host the Hawks at the start of what is possibly the most competitive series of the first round.
Grizzlies at Jazz (9:30 p.m. ET, TNT): Donovan Mitchell is expected to return from a sprained right ankle for Utah with top seeds against a brave Memphis team that won two games in the play-in tournament to pick up the eighth seed.
Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.