NBA Playoffs Update: Phoenix and Miami Remind Everyone Why They're No. 1 Seeds

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NBA Playoffs Update: Phoenix and Miami Remind Everyone Why They’re No. 1 Seeds

Chicago Bulls

A pair of top seeds made easy work of their opponents, as Phoenix and Miami took commanding 1-0 leads in their respective conference semi-finals matchups.

Heat 106, 76ers 92

Series: MIA leads 1-0

We knew that Philly was in trouble with Joel Embiid out of the lineup for a pair of road games in Miami, and last night lived up to it. The Sixers hung around in the first half on Monday night, but Miami’s 30-21 third quarter was the deciding factor in Game one of the Miami-Philadelphia series.

By the midway point of the fourth quarter, Miami was up by 20, and that was all she wrote as the Heat cruised to victory to take a 1-0 advantage over the Sixers.

Philadelphia needed James Harden to step up and play like the guy they traded a massive haul for at the trade deadline, but Harden only mustered up 16 points on 5-13 shooting, including 2-7 from three-point range. Harden was bad shooting from range, only got to the free-throw line four times, and turned the ball over a team-high five times in the losing effort. Philadelphia will have moved all that capital for a second-round exit if Harden can’t be drastically better.

Tobias Harris paced the Sixers with 27 points on 11-18 shooting, and Tyrese Maxey added 19 points.

Tyler Herro led a balanced attack for the Miami Heat, racking up a team-high 25 points while shooting 4-6 from three-point range. Miami big man Bam Adebayo scored 24 points and snagged 12 rebounds, and Jimmy Butler had a relatively quiet game with 15 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals.

This one was never in question, and Miami takes an early lead over Philadelphia, with Embiid expected to miss Wednesday night’s Game 2 in Miami.

Suns 121, Mavericks 114

Series: PHX leads 1-0

Never in doubt. With Devin Booker back in the fold, the Phoenix Suns looked like the machine that won 61 games this season and came up just shy of a Larry O’Brien Trophy last summer. The Suns outscored the Mavericks in every quarter but the fourth in a dominating Game 1 victory.

Devin Booker came up just short of a triple-double in his return to action Monday night, scoring 23 points and logging nine rebounds and eight assists. Booker looked a bit rusty from outside, shooting just 1-5 from three-point range, but he got to the line eight times and was perfect from the charity stripe. Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 25 points and added eight rebounds while shooting 12-20 from the floor.

The Dallas loss wasn’t for lack of effort for Luka Dončić, who came into the series riding a three-game 30-plus point streak since making his return in Game 4 of the Utah series. Dončić led all scorers with 45 points. Dončić pulled down 12 rebounds and added eight assists but turned the ball over five times. Jalen Brunson was missing in action for the Mavs finishing with just 13 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

If Luka is going to give you 45 and it’s still a non-contest, the Mavs don’t stand a chance against the Suns in this series. This is the machine that we expected the Suns to look like, and it’s quickly becoming a scary scene for the Mavericks.



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.