The Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers get almost stress-free home wins. In Memphis and Dallas, teams are under pressure. The Mavericks expect a quick return.
San Francisco – home wins to Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors, home losses to Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies – NBA playoffs kicked off Saturday (local time). In best-of-seven mode, the teams that have four wins first advance to the next round. An overview of games on day one.
Dallas Mavericks – Utah Jazz 93:99 (Jazz lead 1:0)
Without their injured star Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks lost the first game of the NBA season’s playoffs to the Utah Jazz. The team led by national basketball player Maxi Kleber conceded a 93:99 in front of their own fans. Kleber’s recovery after his break due to ankle problems has been good defensively and offensively expandable. Doncic could be back for the second game on Monday. The Mavericks can’t afford a second loss at home if they want to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since winning the championship with Dirk Nowitzki in 2011.
Golden State Warriors – Denver Nuggets 123:107 (Warriors lead 1:0)
Won the opening and a comeback without much pressure for Steph Curry: The start of the series against the Denver Nuggets was almost perfect for the Golden State Warriors. The star returned to action for the first time since March 16 at 123:107 after recovering from a foot injury. As an off-bench player, he recorded 16 points, three rebounds and four assists in just over 21 minutes on the field. The Warriors had the game under control in the second half and benefited from the strong performance of Jordan Poole, who added 30 points. The nuggets around Nikola Jokic had no answer to the hosts’ many attacking options.
Memphis Grizzlies v Minnesota Timberwolves 117:130 (Timberwolves leads 1:0)
Like the Jazz, the Timberwolves won an important away win to start their streak against the Grizzlies. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Edwards in particular had strong performances – Towns had 29 points and 13 rebounds, Edwards was the game’s top scorer with 36 points. Aside from two short periods in the second quarter, the guests were not far behind and put the Grizzlies under pressure ahead of the second game on Tuesday. The Memphis team around its star Ja Morant is theoretically the clear favorite against the Timberwolves, who only secured a playoff ticket in the play-in against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Philadelphia 76ers – Toronto Raptors 131:111 (76ers lead 1:0)
0-4, 4-5 – these were the only two scores the 76ers were trailing against the Toronto Raptors early in the series. After that, the team around two stars Joel Embiid and Kyrie Irving took over. Embiid had a good 19 points and 15 rebounds at center, but the man of the game was Tyrese Maxey with 38 points for the 76ers. Harden had 22 points, Tobias Harris had 26 points. The Raptors didn’t defend themselves from the many attack options. Isaac Bonga also played for Toronto for the first time in over two months but couldn’t do much in under three minutes, making just two free throws.