Three matchups in the first round of the NBA Playoffs will be held tonight. The home teams won two out of three Saturday games and are looking to improve their record by winning 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.
Philadelphia Raptors Seek To Rebound
After being defeated in Game One, the Raptors are hoping to level their series against the Sixers. Toronto's defense was not up to the task, as they allowed the Sixers over 50% shooting from three-point range. Although they were able to hold MVP candidate Joel Embiid to 19 points, Tyrese Maxey scored 38 for Philadelphia in this victory.
After taking three out of four games from the Sixers during the regular season, the Raptors were completely out of their rhythm in Game One. As Maxey was able to drive to the basket against the defense and score easy points on Saturday, they will likely have to prioritize Maxey over James Harden. Pascal Siakam needs to improve his boards production, as he had only three rebounds in Saturday's game.
Toronto should be more aggressive in defense, but that won't stop the Sixers from scoring on their home court. They will go up 2-0 in the series.
Nuggets: A Look to Even Up Series
The Warriors won Game One of the Denver Nuggets-Golden State Warriors series. It was not as close as people expected. Nikola Jokic, who has led this team to the playoffs despite missing Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. for much of the season, is the man behind the scenes.
The problem with the Nuggets' playoff schedule is that it differs from regular season play. They are unlikely to contend for an NBA title without their injured stars.
Jokic was clearly exhausted from carrying a team all season. Jokic can only play so many against the Warriors' defensive line, which is among the best in the league. Steph Curry was not able to get on the offensive side of things Saturday, and is due for another big game.
Golden State will continue its dominance and easily win another home victory.
Jazz Hoping to Return Home with 2-0 Lead
The Utah Jazz won the first game against Dallas. They must now win at least one on the road when the series moves to Utah. Donovan Mitchell scored two points in the second half, but the Jazz had 32 points by the time the buzzer sounded. Bojan Bogdanovic shot 55% and scored 26 points. Rudy Gobert also had 17 rebounds and three blocked shots in the 99-93 victory.
This series' biggest story is the departure of Luka Doncic from the Mavericks. He was injured in a calf strain, and he will miss tonight's game. The Mavericks split their season series with Jazz, with Doncic playing in all four games. If they don't figure out how to adapt without him, the Mavericks are looking at a quick exit from the Playoffs.
Dallas will continue to play their stellar defense at home, and they will win game two by a narrow margin.