The NBA Playoffs’ kicked off and was pretty much as expected with favourite teams going on to stamp their authority. The second day? Yeah, not so much.
Both No. 1 seeded teams from the Western and Eastern conferences lost surprisingly to their opponents in Game 1 of the playoffs. Milwaukee Bucks started the day by losing to the Orlando Magic, and the No. 1 seeded, Los Angeles Lakers, ended the day by losing to the No. 8 seeded, Portland Trail Blazers.
It is a record that’s been in place since 2003 in which both No. 1 seeds lost their openers, and in the Lakers’ case, it came down to a lack of depth.
LeBron James always fulfils his end of the bargain and scored 23 points, pulled in 17 rebounds and dished out 15 assists while Anthony Davis poured in 28 points of his own, but the Lakers role players shot 4-of-22 from 3-point range. They simply couldn’t score enough to win when that happens.
Portland’s role players weren’t all that either, but Damian Lillard puts in his offensive best on the night to earn 34 points which proved enough to lead them to a victory.
All the Blazers need to do now is only win three games out of the remaining six to stun the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed.
The Lakers, however, will have to go back to the drawing board if they want to avoid such humiliation as what transpired on Tuesday was completely and utterly unacceptable.
- Kawhi Leonard and the LA Clippers beat the Dallas Mavericks to take Game 1 of the playoffs,
- Utah Jazz loses in overtime to Denver Nuggets despite Donovan Mitchell’s 57 points performance
It’s hard to argue with 23 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists. Those numbers don’t even tell the entire story.
LeBron was great on defense as well. Nearly every decision he made, in a vacuum, was the right one.
Watch how LeBron James made NBA and Lakers history below
But the Lakers were very poor on the night and only managed 93 points against a defense that has allowed an average of 123 points over its past six outings.
And, poor shooting was the primary reason for that. But while role players have bad shooting nights, superstars are supposed to pick up the scoring burden themselves. The Lakers will probably hit more than five of their 32 long balls in Game 2.
For all of the astonishing things King James did in Game 1, he didn’t do what we’ve seen him do in the playoffs time and time again: score.
Despite drawing incredible matchups in Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr., James simply played team basketball.
We’ve seen James scored 24 points en route to a triple-double in Game 1 of the postseason run against the Indiana Pacers, but the Cavaliers lost. Then came out and scored 46 in Game 2, secured a win, and wound up averaging 34.6 points per game through the rest of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
LeBron is going to have to do something similar to that for the Lakers to win the title if no other Laker is going to create shots. It’s cliche, but he has to be more like Michael Jordan and less like Magic Johnson.
Tuesday night’s NBA playoff scores
- Trail Blazers 100-93 Lakers – Portland lead 1-0
- Thunder 108-123 Rockets – Houston lead 1-0
- Heat 113-101 Pacers – Miami lead 1-0
- Magic 122-110 Bucks – Orlando lead 1-0