NBA first round roundup and predictions

Braden Elton, Sports Writer

(8) Miami Heat lead (1) Milwaukee Bucks 1-0

RECAP: The Miami Heat capitalized on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s early first quarter injury with a defining 130-117 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Jimmy Butler led the way for the Heat with 35 points and 11 assists. Antetokounmpo exited the game due to a lower back bruise after sustaining a scary fall early in the game. Miami’s Tyler Herro also exited the game with a broken right hand. Antetokounmpo’s status is in question for the next game and Herro will be out for the foreseeable future as the two teams face off again Wednesday night at 8 p.m. CT.

PREDICTION: Despite Antetokounmpo’s injury, Bucks in 6

(2) Boston Celtics lead (7) Atlanta Hawks 2-0

RECAP: The Boston Celtics cruised to a home win over the Atlanta Hawks, 112-99. Boston was largely led by their two stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum finished the game with 25 points and 11 rebounds while Brown added 29 points and 12 rebounds. Atlanta’s Trae Young and Dejounte Murray struggled from the field, combining to shoot 15-for-48 and 1-for-11 from three point range. Boston also picked up a victory in game two, 119-106, to pull ahead to a commanding 2-0 lead.

PREDICTION: Boston continues their dominance, Celtics in 4

(3) Philadelphia 76ers lead (6) Brooklyn Nets 2-0

RECAP: The Philadelphia 76ers held off the Brooklyn Nets to win game one at home, 121-101. Philadelphia was carried to victory by the duo of MVP hopeful Joel Embiid and James Harden. Embiid led the team in scoring with 26 points while shooting a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line. Harden added 23 points and 13 assists while shooting an efficient 7-for-13 from three point range. The Nets kept it close for most of the game behind Mikal Bridges’ 30 points. The 76ers managed to make it a 2-0 series lead on Tuesday night, taking down the Nets 96-84.

PREDICTION: Brooklyn steals one game at home, 76ers in 5

(4) Cleveland Cavaliers and (5) New York Knicks tied 1-1

RECAP: The New York Knicks won game one on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-97. In Julius Randles’ first game back from injury he provided a much needed boost as he dropped in 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jalen Brunson led the team in scoring with 27 points. Donovan Mitchell did all he could for the Cavs by scoring 38 points, but ultimately fell short. Despite the game one loss, the Cavaliers managed to bounce back in game two, winning 107-90 behind 32 points from Darius Garland, evening the series 1-1.

PREDICTION: Despite Randles return, Cavaliers in 6

(1) Denver Nuggets lead (8) Minnesota Timberwolves 1-0

RECAP: The Denver Nuggets took care of business against the Minnesota Timberwolves as they secured a 109-80 victory. Jamal Murray led the Nuggets in scoring with 24 points while Anthony Edwards chipped in 18 points for the Timberwolves. The Nuggets will look to take a 2-0 lead on Wednesday night, with tip off scheduled for 9 p.m. CT.

PREDICTION: Minnesota takes one at home, Nuggets in 5

(7) Los Angeles Lakers lead (2) Memphis Grizzlies 1-0

RECAP: The Los Angeles Lakers had a late push against the Memphis Grizzlies to ensure the win, 128-112. The Lakers had four players exceed 20 points including Rui Hachimura (29), Austin Reaves (23), Anthony Davis (22) and LeBron James (21). Grizzlies star Ja Morant left the game with a right wrist injury and his availability for Wednesday night’s game is in doubt. Tip off is set for 6:30 p.m. CT

PREDICTION: With Morant in question, Lakers in 5

(3) Sacramento Kings lead (6) Golden State Warriors 2-0

RECAP: The Sacramento Kings narrowly defeated the Golden State Warriors in a tight game, 126-123. The Kings were led by former Kentucky teammates De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk. Fox provided 38 points, marking the second most points scored in a playoff debut in NBA history. Monk added 32 points as the duo combined for 70 of the teams 126 points. Steph Curry led the Warriors with 30 points but came up short in the end. In game two, the Kings managed to protect their home floor once again, coming away with a 114-106 victory.

PREDICTION: Warriors road woes prove costly, Kings in 7

(4) Phoenix Suns and (5) Los Angeles Clippers tied 1-1

RECAP: The Los Angeles Clippers will most likely be without Paul George for their round one matchup with the Phoenix Suns, but that did not slow them down in game one, as they defeated the Suns, 115-110. Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Clippers as he scored 38 points. Kevin Durant added 27 points for the Suns. The Suns managed to tie the series at one game apiece, defeating the Clippers on Tuesday, 123-109. Phoenix was led by Devin Booker’s 38 points, while Durant pitched in 25.

PREDICTION: Without Paul George, Suns in 6