The NBA had a full slate of playoff action with four games on the schedule. These Sunday first-round series matchups would determine if a team takes control with a chance to end the series early or if there’s a possible six or seven-game series.
We’ve broken down each of Sunday’s matchups below.
No. 5 Hawks 113, No. 4 Knicks 96
ATL Leads series 3-1
Trae Young’s early playoff legacy along with his infamous “I’ll see you in the A” boast continues to be one of the major storylines of the postseason as he wore the Knicks out with 27 points and 9 assists.
The story of the game was the difference in 3 point shooting. The Hawks shot 15-39 from beyond the arc while the Knicks shot a woeful 9-29.
Ever since the series went down to the dirty south, so has the fortunes of Julius Randle. Chants of “overrated” rained down on him from the fans in the State Farm Arena.
No. 2 Phoenix Suns 100, No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers 92
Series tied 2-2
If there ever was a series that illustrated the importance of avoiding injuries, this one is it. After struggling mightily for two games in back-to-back Phoenix losses because of his shoulder injury in Game 1, screams of “I’m back!” came from CP3 as he hurt the Lakers with his patented mid-range shot in Game 4.
The Los Angeles Lakers lost Anthony Davis in the first half due to a groin strain. He did not return to the game.
With Chris Paul rounding into form and the Lakers already struggling to stop Deandre Ayton while Davis is even on the floor, the reigning champs are in trouble.
No. 2 Brooklyn Nets 141, No. 7 Boston Celtics 126
Nets lead series 3-1
Game 4 was almost a carbon copy of Game 3. This series has featured the best offensive skillsets of the playoffs being spearheaded by superstars. However, there were two differences.
Jayson Tatum will probably go down as one of the most gifted scorers in Boston Celtics history. While he didn’t score 50 points, that doesn’t take away from the fact he is destroying every Brooklyn player in front of him. Despite the loss, Tatum did finish with 40 points.
The Nets were led by Kevin Durant, who scored 42 points, and Kyrie Irving, who put in work by dropping 23 of his 39 points before halftime.
Along with the efforts of James Harden, who had 23 points, the Nets’ Big Three combined for a franchise playoff-best of 104 points, per NBA.com.
Still, the story that has dominated headlines well into this morning is the NBA releasing a statement about fan conduct vowing to enforce it’s guidelines after a fan was arrested and banned from the TD Garden for life for throwing a bottle at Kyrie Irving.
Irving talked about it after last night’s game:
“It’s unfortunate that sports has come to a lot of this kind of crossroads. … Just underlying racism and just treating people like they’re in a human zoo.”— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 31, 2021
Kyrie Irving speaks out after a fan threw a water bottle at him in Boston. pic.twitter.com/IXfE8I0EE8
No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers 106, No. 5 Dallas Mavericks 81
Series tied 2-2
The Los Angeles Clippers have woken up on the defensive end. Despite Luka Doncic doing the best he can while playing with a neck strain, he’s not getting the help Kawhi Leonard is getting from Paul George and company.
Leonard finished with 29 points, while George contributed 20.
After shooting lights out from behind the 3 point line, Dallas has gone ice-cold shooting 5-30.