Jayson Tatum’s buzzer-beating layup lifts Celtics; Kyrie Irving responds to Boston followers

The opening weekend of the NBA playoffs is all the time one of the crucial thrilling instances on the league calendar, and the 2022 postseason acquired underway Saturday in typical vogue.

The 4 collection openers started with a pair of lower-seeded groups stealing home-court benefit with Game 1 upsets, as the Jazz topped the Mavericks in Dallas and the Timberwolves surprised the Grizzlies in Memphis.

Then a pair championship hopefuls acquired breakout performances from younger guards as Tyrese Maxey scored 38 factors to steer the Sixers previous the Raptors and Jordan Poole had 30 factors to carry the Warriors over the Nuggets.

Sunday guarantees much more pleasure with 4 extra collection openers.

The league-leading Suns look to proceed their dominance in opposition to the Pelicans. The defending-champion Bucks begin their street to a repeat in opposition to the Bulls. And the Celtics and Nets tip-off in what may be probably the most attention-grabbing collection of the primary spherical.

SATURDAY RECAP: Warriors and Sixers roll, Jazz and Wolves steal home-court

TITLE KEYS: How every NBA playoff staff can win the 2022 championship

FEEL THE HEAT: Nine stars dealing with probably the most strain within the NBA playoffs

Follow together with USA TODAY Sports all through the day for reside updates and evaluation from all of Sunday’s motion:

Hawks guard Trae Young has a few words for the officials in the first half.

Hawks guard Trae Young has just a few phrases for the officers within the first half.

NBA publicizes awards finalists

No shock, however Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Denver’s Nikola Jokic are the three finalists for MVP. There was some irritation on Twitter that Golden State’s Jordan Poole wasn’t a finalist for Most Improved Player – Cleveland’s Darius Garland, Memphis’ Ja Morant and San Antonio’s Dejounte Murray acquired the nod as finalists in that class.

Milwaukee Bucks fail to ship first-half TKO to Chicago Bulls

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had 17 factors and 11 rebounds within the first half in opposition to Chicago, and whereas it seemed just like the Bucks may blow out the Bulls within the first half, the Bulls stored it shut regardless of taking pictures 31.7% from the sector.

Milwaukee owned a 51-43 halftime lead.

Three Bulls have been in double figures: 12 factors for DeMar DeRozan, 11 factors for Zach LaVine and 10 for Nik Vucevic.

Kyrie Irving seems to flip off followers in Boston

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving appeared to present Boston Celtics followers the “double bird” earlier than a soar ball in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round collection.

There is not any love misplaced between Celtics followers and Irving, who left the Celtics to affix the Nets in 2019. Irving as soon as burned sage at Boston’s enviornment to “cleanse the energy,” he informed reporters.

If the league confirms Irving’s motion, he might be fined. The going fee for delivering an obscene gesture to followers is $15,000. However, Irving was fined $25,000 earlier this season for guiding obscene language at followers throughout a recreation in Cleveland, the place Irving as soon as performed for the Cavaliers.

The Celtics gained Game 1 115-114 regardless of 39 factors from Irving.

“When people start yelling (expletive) and (expletive) and (expletive) you and all this stuff, there’s (only) so much you can take as a competitor,” Irving stated postgame. “We’re the ones expected to be docile and be humble and take a humble approach. Nah, (expletive) that, it’s the playoffs. This is what it is. I know what to expect in here and it’s the same energy I’m giving back to them.”

— Jeff Zillgitt

Quick takeaways from Boston’s victory over Brooklyn

Jayson Tatum saved the day for the Boston Celtics. His driving layup as time expired gave the Celtics a 115-114 victory. You might say the Celtics have been fortunate to get Game 1. The Celtics scrambled on their last possession – and Marcus Smart delivered a cross to Tatum simply in time.

There’s a purpose why the Brooklyn Nets are thought-about a harmful No. 7 seed. They have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Even with Durant struggling in Game 1 in opposition to Boston, the Nets virtually pulled off the upset due to Irving, who had 39 factors, six assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and a block. And he did it entrance of Boston crowd that despises him for leaving the Celtics.

Without Celtics middle Robert Williams (left knee harm), veteran massive Al Horford got here by means of with 20 factors and 15 rebounds.

How did the Celtics pull this off? Tatum (31 factors), Jaylen Brown (23 factors), Smart (20 factors) and Horford delivered sufficient offensively – a mixed 94 factors.

No matter what number of video games this collection goes, it will likely be a enjoyable one. Let’s hope it goes seven.

— Jeff Zillgitt

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum celebrates his game-winning layup against the Brooklyn Nets.

Boston Celtics ahead Jayson Tatum celebrates his game-winning layup in opposition to the Brooklyn Nets.

With Durant struggling, Nets-Celtics tied at hafltime

Brooklyn star Kevin Durant had simply seven factors on 2-for-10 taking pictures within the first half in opposition to Boston, however Kyrie Irving and Goran Dragic off the bench helped the Nets go into halftime tied with Boston at 61-all. Irving had 15 factors and Dragic 11 within the opening half. Boston star Jayson Tatum had 15 factors and 7 assists, and Al Horford contributed 14 factors. Marcus Smart had a pleasant all-around half with seven factors, three rebounds, three assists and a steal. Brooklyn ought to be ok with the first-half end result – on the street, tied and with Durant not making pictures. The Nets simply posted 61 factors in opposition to the league’s greatest protection with out a lot from Durant. There have been 17 lead modifications and eight ties within the first 24 minutes

Bruce Brown’s disparaging quote on Celtics’ inside recreation hits massive board

Bruce Brown was requested final week about the important thing to slowing down a Celtics staff that earned the No. 2 seed behind the play of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Because middle Robert Williams III, who had surgical procedure on the finish of March to restore a torn meniscus in his left knee, is more likely to miss the first-round collection, Brown stated he thought it might be greatest to give attention to neutralizing Boston’s entrance courtroom.

“We can’t let Tatum get 50,” Brown stated. “We got to be physical with them. Now they don’t have Robert Williams, so they have less of a presence in the paint, and we could attack Al Horford and (Daniel) Theis. So them not having Robert Williams is huge.”

When informed of his teammate’s feedback simply minutes earlier, Kevin Durant was noticeably irked by them.

“We respect our opponents,” Durant said. “We don’t need to talk about what we’re going to do to them. I just don’t like that, but that’s how Bruce is. He comes in and keeps the same energy throughout the whole season. But we don’t need to say (expletive) like that. Let’s just go out there and hoop.”

The Celtics scoreboard operator did their half to stoke the Celtics’ ire, placing Brown’s message on the Jumbotron.

Quick takeaways in Heat’s win over Hawks

When Duncan Robinson goes 8-for-9 on 3s and P.J. Tucker makes 4-for-4, the Miami Heat are robust to beat. And that was the case in Miami’s 115-91 win in opposition to the Atlanta Hawks.

The 3-ball is a crucial as ever. Miami made 18-for-38 (47.4%), and Atlanta was simply 10-for-36 (27.8%) – a 24-point distinction simply on 3s.

Good information for the Hawks: Trae Young most likely gained’t battle like that once more from the sector. He was 1-for-12, together with 0-for-7 on 3s. The final time he made only one discipline objective in a recreation was Jan. 15, 2021 in opposition to Utah.

Miami’s protection, ranked No. 4 within the common season, pressured 18 turnovers, had 12 steals and restricted the Hawks to 38.7% taking pictures from the sector.

In his first recreation since March 11, John Collins (foot and finger accidents) confirmed he can contribute. He had 10 factors and 4 rebounds in 21 minutes.

The Heat are deep: Off the bench, Robinson led all scorers with 27 factors, and 9 Heat gamers scored no less than six factors. Jimmy Butler had 21 factors, six rebounds and 4 assists, and Kyle Lowry had 10 factors, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and two steals.

Kyrie Irving receives an unfriendly Boston Garden crowd

When Kyrie Irving is launched earlier than the Nets face the Celtics in Boston, his chilly reception wasn’t a lot of a thriller.

Irving, who left Boston in free company after saying he wished to re-sign, has not been a fan favourite there. In a return to Boston final yr, Irving stepped on the Celtics’ brand mid-court. And his most up-to-date feedback hasn’t smoothed issues over.

Irving hopes everybody has moved on from that, asking followers to recollect the nice instances they’d.

“I hope we might transfer previous my Boston period and replicate on a number of the highlights I left at TD Garden that they will replay,” he told reporters this weekend. “Move ahead. Just a brand new paradigm, child.”

Injuries/illnesses piling up for Raptors

Coming off a 131-111 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, Toronto coach Nick Nurse said on Sunday that rookie of the year candidate Scottie Barnes (sprained left ankle), Thaddeus Young (sprained left thumb) and Gary Trent Jr. (non-COVID illness) are likely doubtful for Game 2 on Monday. “It doesn’t look good for any of those guys,” Nurse told reporters.

Hawks’ John Collins expected to give it a go

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins, who hasn’t played since March 11 with foot and finger injuries, is expected to play in against Miami Sunday in Game 1 of their first-round Eastern Conference series. Hawks coach Nate McMillan called Collins a game-time decision. Atlanta center Clint Capela, who injured his knee in a play-in game, is out indefinitely but could return later in the series.

Who strikes first in Celtics vs. Nets?

The Brooklyn Nets have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, two of the most gifted offensive players in the league. So it’s understandable one would think the Nets have a chance against the Boston Celtics in their Eastern Conference first-round series. But if you’ve been paying attention, you know the Celtics have been the best team in the East for the past three-plus months and the best defensive team in the NBA for the entire season. The Celtics are too good on both sides of the ball with All-NBA players (Jayson Tatum), All-Defensive players (Marcus Smart) and one of the game’s most underappreciated players (Jaylen Brown). The Celtics are just a better all-around team. Pick: Celtics 113, Nets 103.

— Jeff Zillgitt

Coach Willie Green’s speech fires up Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans are easily the most feel-good team in the NBA playoffs. They got out to a horrendous 1-12 start for first-year coach Willie Green. And would-be franchise savior Zion Williamson hasn’t played a game this season because of a foot injury. Their second-best player, Brandon Ingram, was limited to 55 games because of injuries.

But the Pelicans grabbed the final playoff spot in the Western Conference when they beat the L.A. Clippers 105-101 in the play-in game on Friday. Their reward: a meeting with the Suns, the team with the league’s best record.

For a long while, it looked like Friday would be the end of the road for the Pelicans. They were down 84-74 to start the fourth quarter. But Ingram led them back with some big baskets in the final quarter following an inspirational speech by Green, who told them they had been through too much to let something like a 10-point deficit get in their way.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NBA playoffs 2022 live updates: Jayson Tatum’s layup stuns Nets

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