No. 7 Boston Celtics vs. No. 2 Brooklyn Nets — 7:30 pm ET (TNT, TNTOT)
First up, the Celtics have their second matchup in Brooklyn. The Nets haven’t had their three stars together on the court very often this season, but they’ve looked like an absolute force whenever they do. Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving were all available in Game 1, and led the Nets to a 104-93 win. After a slow start in the first quarter, their incredible offensive firepower was too much for the Celtics and an off performance from Jayson Tatum (6-of-20 shooting) to keep up with. The Nets’ big three alone finished with 82 points.
Will Game 2 be more competitive?
No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No. 2 Phoenix Suns — 10:00 pm ET (TNT, TNTOT)
The first game of this series (like most games in this year’s playoffs so far) was a brilliant watch. The Suns overcame the Lakers and a struggling Anthony Davis to win, 99-90, with their defense and stellar performances from Devin Booker (34 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists) and Deandre Ayton (21 points on 10-of-11 shooting with 16 rebounds, including 8 offensive) leading the way. Chris Paul injured his shoulder before returning later in the game, and isn’t listed on the injury report ahead of Game 2 today.
The Suns have been highly impressive this season, improving largely thanks to the play of Booker, the impact of Paul, having the NBA’s 6th-ranked defense, and excellent depth. This series is going to be a good one, and the Suns have a real shot to win.
No. 5 Dallas Mavericks vs. No. 4 LA Clippers — 10:30 pm ET (NBA TV)
Behind a 31-point triple-double from Luka Doncic, the Mavs managed to defeat the Clippers, 113-103, in Game 1. Dallas were in control for most of the game and their defense fully locked in late, holding the Clippers to just 5 points over the final 6 minutes. The Mavs also had big contributions from some of their quality role players, including Dorian Finney-Smith (18 points on 7-of-9 shooting), Tim Hardaway Jr. (21 points on 8-of-13 shooting) and Jalen Brunson (15 points on 4-of-7 shooting with 7 free throws). Combine that with L.A. shooting an uncharacteristically cold 11-of-40 from three, and they just couldn’t close the deficit.
Besides hoping for more typical shooting, it will be interesting to see how the Clippers adjust in Game 2. For instance, whether they opt to go small more often after Doncic frequently hunted switches onto Ivica Zubac to attack.