The first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs was filled with thrillers and excitement

The first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs was filled with thrillers and excitement

Michael Scott, Staff Writer

Within the first two weeks of NBA Playoffs in the books, the games have been nothing short of spectacular.  From jaw-dropping dunks to clutch three-pointers, the first round of the NBA playoffs has set the tone for the remainder of the playoffs.

In the Eastern Conference, the top-seeded Miami Heat took on the eighth-seed Atlanta Hawks.  The Heat won the first two games at home thanks to elite coach Erik Spoelstra, flawless team defense, and the performance of All-Star Jimmy Butler.  Miami was on fire from deep, knocking down eighteen three-pointers on 47 percent three-point shooting, and locked up Atlanta star Trae Young on the defensive end.  In game three, Miami was leading, but Trae Young stepped up to hit the game-winning bucket.  This excitement for the Hawks would not last long; the Heat would go on to win the next two games and clinch their ticket to the second round, despite injuries to Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler.

“Seeing the Hawks lose brought a tear of joy to my eye because I wanted them to lose so badly after knocking the Knicks out of the playoffs last year,” said sophomore Harrison Maute.

The most anticipated first-round matchup included the second-seeded Boston Celtics and the seventh-seeded Brooklyn Nets.  Game one was a thriller, as it came down to the last second. Kyrie Irving dazzled with 39 points, but it was not enough for the nets, as Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum sealed the game with a buzzer-beating layup to win 115-114.  The second game was also neck-and-neck until the final minutes when the Celtics ended up pulling away to go up 2-0.  

While the Nets battled, game three was the same result.  The Celtics’ defense locked down KD and Kyrie, limiting the duo to a combined 10-19 from the field, and 2-9 from three.  Brooklyn guard Bruce Brown came to play.  He scored 26 points, but it was no match for Tatum and the Celtics.  The Celtics went on to sweep the Nets in game four and move on to the second round.

In game one of the Milwaukee Bucks against the Chicago Bulls, both teams were ice-cold shooting.  Chicago All-Star DeMar DeRozan shot 6-25 and his fellow teammate and All-Star, Zach LaVine, shot 6-19.  When it was all said and done, it was reigning Finals MVP, Giannis Antetokoumpo, who propelled the defending champions to victory by a score of 93-86. The Bulls bounced back in the second game to tie the series 1-1.  However, this infuriated the Bucks, who would dominate the Bulls for the next three games to win the series. 

The 76ers and Raptors series was a competitive one, but in the first two games, it looked like it was all Philly.  Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey led the way with 38 points in the first game and star center Joel Embiid dominated the second game with 31 points and 11 rebounds.  Toronto displayed resilience in the third game but the Sixers would go up 3-0 in the series after a buzzer-beating three by Joel Embiid.  The Raptors won the next two games but it did not matter as the Sixers would win the sixth game and advance into the next round where they will play the Heat.

In the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns took on the New Orleans Pelicans and the Memphis Grizzlies took on the Minnesota Timberwolves.  What seemed like a certain sweep for the Suns was made competitive after All-Star Devin Booker injured himself in the second game.  New Orleans took advantage and won game two and four.  Unfortunately for the Pelicans, Booker returned and the Suns won the series in six games. 

The Grizzlies and Timberwolves battled through the whole series.  Anthony Edwards dominated the first game with 36 points, helping Minnesota go up 1-0.  Memphis bounced back in the second game and fought back in the third game after being down 24 points to go up in the series 2-1.  Game four was a close one all the way through but the Wolves pulled out in front to tie up the series.  The next two games were all Memphis as young sensation Ja Morant led their way into the next round.

“Anthony Edwards and Karl Anthony Towns played phenomenally, but Ja Morant and Desmond Bane were too good to be beaten,” said junior Cal Gober.

The final two series featured the Golden State Warriors taking on the Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Utah Jazz.  The Warriors won the first three games with ease.  Young guard Jordan Poole shined while Curry was still injured.  MVP center Nikola Jokic from the Nuggets got no help although he got a double-double in each of the three games.  The Nuggets showed life after winning game four but the Warriors bounced back to win game five.  Although the Mavericks only won six games, they dominated Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz. All-star guard Luka Doncic paved the way for the Mavericks into the second round, where they will play the Suns.

In the East, Miami will play Philadelphia and Boston will play Milwaukee.  In the West, Phoenix will play Dallas and Memphis will play Golden State. 

“Mark your calendars, because the playoffs are just getting started,” said senior William Chu.