My Takeaways From the Opening Night of the 2019 NBA Playoffs: Cell Phone Addiction & Benjamin Button (4/14/19)

The Brooklyn Nets vs. The Philadelphia 76ers Game 1:

111-102 Nets win

It’s official: Not only are many teenagers addicted to their cell phones, but so are Joel Embiid and Amir Johnson. Picture this. The 76ers are down in crunch time, only by a small margin, and instead of analyzing the game, Joel was checking out his friend Amir’s phone. I mean at that point, even I was paying more attention to the game than him! It obviously was a text message, but what text message could be THAT important? Well, apparently Johnson had a really sick daughter and was checking in on her at the time. That helped me make sense of the situation. Additionally, he was inactive on the bench and might have not had to dial-in on the game so closely. That was not the problem. The problem was Embiid was very much active and apparently distracted. Was this what contributed to the 76ers letting the game fall through their fingers? I guess we will never fully know. Regardless, Johnson got fined by the 76ers for his actions.

I guess the only other thing that you should know is that D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert (on the Nets) had a combined 49 points in their win, Russell with 26 and LeVert with 23.

The Orlando Magic vs. The Toronto Raptors Game 1:

104-101 Magic win

This game was really close until the last 3.5 seconds. Really close. The score was 101-101. Toronto tried to get a 3 off in the last 26 seconds and it didn’t fall. Then the Magic got the defensive rebound and took the ball to their side of the court. After some passes they ran the clock down to about 5 seconds. At that moment D.J. Augustin (coming off a screen) shot the ball and DRAINED it! The Scotiabank Arena was frozen in shock. At least, most of the arena suddenly got quiet. But not the Magic’s Bench! They all jumped up in excitement and cheered on their teammate for just winning the game for them.

Something else to think about, if you just started watching the NBA last year you might have heard little about Kawhi Leonard. In the 2017-2018 NBA Season he was injured and went through a lot of drama with the spurs, so he asked to leave the team. Once he was healthy, he started playing with the Raptors and may I say: he is extremely athletic. He made his one hand jam (dunk) tonight look like it was nothing!

Both Kawhi and D.J. had 25 points (separately) in the game and were the scoring leaders for each of their teams.

The L.A. Clippers vs. The Golden State Warriors Game 1:

121-104 Warriors win

Ok, I know I said in the last article that if the Clippers wanted to beat the Warriors that they would have to work on their defense…I was sort of right in that statement but slightly wrong as well. They not only need to work on their defense, but they also need to work on their shooting. In the game, the Clippers made 36.7% of their 3 pointers, in contrast to the Warriors’ 46.7% 3 pointers made. 10 percent on paper might not seem like much, but it is A LOT bigger of a difference in an NBA basketball game! The overall Field Goals Made was 40.4% for L.A. and 49.5% for Golden State. I’ll bet that Doc Rivers (the Clippers’ coach) will be having his team go to at least double the shoot-arounds that they were originally doing before the next game.

The next thing that I noticed is that Steph Curry is a Benjamin Button in basketball! It seems that the older he gets, the better he gets. In tonight’s game Curry scored 38 points, eight of which were threes, and in the process claimed the NBA Playoffs record for the number of threes made by a single player. Here’s my piece of advice to every NBA defender, I’ll let you guys in on a little inside secret: Do NOT let Steph get open, upon any circumstances, in any place on the offensive half of the court. He will make it, without any hesitation, if you do decide to leave him alone.

Towards the end, Patrick Beverley and Kevin Durant started to heat up at each other and both got ejected. Sadly, this is not a very unusual act for KD, so it might have been easier for the refs to eject him so quickly. Later on in the locker room, both Beverley and Durant said that what they did was not anything personal, they were just having a little too much fun, and they do not think that the refs caught on to that. I have a conspiracy: I wonder if KD did that so that Steph could have his time to shine. Ever since Durant has joined the Warriors he has taken most of the spotlight away from Curry in the playoffs. And since the two players that got in the altercation were not particularly infuriated with each other, it could be easy to assume that Kevin Durant had another reason for being ejected. Once again, this is a conspiracy theory, but we cannot count it out completely.

The Denver Nuggets vs. The San Antonio Spurs Game 1:

101-96 Spurs win

First off, to those who didn’t see that MONSTER poster dunk, you should check it out (I put a url to the Youtube video below)! Seriously, if this dunk does not end up on a poster in some Spurs fan’s room, I would be very surprised. Derrick White drove the ball through the lane and had enough momentum to push Paul Milsap out of the way to get to the rim and slam it! It was beautiful.

Second off, if you guys were wondering who Mike Malone is, he was the guy last seen giving Jamal Murray the Heimlich. Ok, not exactly. Jamal had just a few seconds to put the game away and went up with a regular mid-range jumper and could not get it fall (By the way, Mike Malone is their coach). My worry for the Nuggets for this series was their notorious choking at high-stakes games. There were multiple times in the regular season where they could have won certain games to get the best NBA record in the Western Conference, but choked. I think that this is because most of the talent on the team is placed on younger players that don’t have as much clutch experience in crunch-time situations. I figured that if the Nuggets were not going to win that this would be the reason.

Overall, this sums up a few surprises and random things from tonight, but all in all, it was a fun day to watch basketball for sure. I look forward to a full day tomorrow as well. Stay tuned for another article talking about the second day of the 2019 NBA Playoffs.

Poster Dunk: