Top seeds in the West (Phoenix Suns) and in the East (Miami Heat) will loom to improve from their opening wins in the series in Wednesday night’s Game 2 match-ups before hitting the road to Dallas and Philly.
76ers @ Heat: 7:30 (ET) start
Miami Heat will have to play once again without star point guard Kyle Lowry, who is still out with a hamstring injury with the Sixers, too set to be without star Cameroonian Joel Embiid, who is absent indefinitely with an orbital fracture suffered in the final game of their 4-2 first-round series win over the Toronto Raptors.
In Game 1, Jimmy Butler added 15 points for Miami in a game which also saw 10 apiece from Gabe Vincent and forward P.J. Tucker.
Without Embiid, Tobias Harris scored 27 points, and was seconded by Tyrese Maxey with 19 and James Harden with 16 boards, nine catches and five assists but in the end the home side were too strong for Philly, winning on the night by 98-77.
“Just kick in on it,” claimed Miami’s Tyler Herro ahead of Game 2. “We won the first series as we should have. Now we keep moving on and taking care of business.”
Mavericks @ Suns: 10:00 pm (ET) start
Thanks to Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker, the Suns defeated Luka Doncic’s Dallas Mavericks 121-114 in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Both Ayton and Booker were rampant with 25 points and eight rebounds and 23 points, nine catches and eight assists, respectively, overshadowing an excellent performance by Slovenian star Doncic.
Doncic, who totaled an impressive 45 points, 12 turnovers and eight assists, will look to improve his fortunes again tonight before the series heads back to Texas.
The Suns boosted by the return of Booker, looked confident and never trailed during the contest, jumping out to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes and rarely stepping off the gas. They hit 50.5% from the field, won the rebounding advantage also by 51-36 and beat the Mavericks for the 10th straight time, counting regular-season games.
It is the first time Dallas has advanced to the second round of the postseason in Doncic’s four-year NBA career.
Speaking about Doncic post game, Suns coach Monty Williams stated:“ Anytime a guy has 45, you look at that number and you don’t like it, but I look at their assist numbers,” Williams said. “They only had 16. So, (Maxi) Kleber hit some 3s, but for the most part, nobody else got going the way that they’re capable of.”