Celtics Decisive, Cavs and Suns Fight Back

The 2023 NBA Playoffs entered the second games of the first-round. Last night 2 of the 3 teams under duress managed to avoid falling 0-2 down. Below we give you the summary of all 3 games.

Photo: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA
Photo by Icon SportCeltics All Business in Game 1

Celtics Too Good For Timid Hawks

Celtics grabbed a decisive 2-0 lead in their series vs the Hawks with a second consecutive convincing home win. Boston were way too good both defensively and offensively on way to an easy 119-106 victory.

After leading the way in game 1 Jaylon Brown had an average second showing vs Atlanta. Tatum was his usual assertive leader though and he achieved a double-double with 29 points and 10 rebounds. However, the best player on the court in game 2 was Derrick White. He not only contributed 26 points and 7 rebounds but also had 3 blocks and generally suffocated Atlanta’s leader Young with his defence.

Trae Young had huge problems with White and Smart constantly bouncing him to each other. Young finished the game with 5 turnovers, slightly better compared to his 6 in game 1, but he kept shooting awfully and was only 9 of 22 from the field and 2 of 8 from 3.

Celtics started slow, they trailed 11-22 in the 1st quarter, but then a decisive run in the 2nd period put them in control and come halftime their lead was in double digits. Boston never looked back after that, once again proving way too good defensively for the predictable Hawks.

Garland Leads Cavaliers By Example

The Cavs reacted to losing game 1 with an assertive display in their second clash vs the Knicks. Cleveland won 107-90 to level the series at 1-1. Darius Garland had a very poor game 1 but he was the big star on the court in this second clash between the teams. Garland led all scorers with his 32 points, he hit 6 out of 10 3s and added 7 assists. Garland also played well in defence against Brunson, limiting Knicks’ leader to 20 points and 1 of 8 shooting from 3.

The Cavs led by 20 points at halfime and they were really never in doubt once asserting their dominance in the 2nd quarter when they forced the Knicks into 9 turnovers. Knicks not scoring in the opening 5:13 of the second quarter proved their doom and the New York outfit never recovered from that.

Booker Shines Bright For the Suns

The Phoenix Suns levelled their series vs the Clippers at 1-1 after being able to win their second home match 123-109. Devin Booker scored 38 points, 18 of those in the decisive 3rd quarter, dished 9 assists and had a +15 points differential.

Booker’s 3 with the buzzer for halftime tied the game. The Clippers were very solid all first half and probably should have led. Booker then took over in the 3rd quarter when he scored 18 points to give the Suns a 5-point lead entering the decisive final 12 minutes. The Suns showed maturity late on and they never lost their lead, slowly building on it right until the end. All this was achieved with KD having nothing more than an average game. Durant scored just 25 points and was 0 of 4 from 3.

The Clippers had solid contributions from their 2 big stars but the supporting cast failed them. Leonard scored 31 points, after his 38 in game 1, Westbrook added 28 on 9 of 16 shooting. Batum had no points though (0 of 4 from 3), Hyland and Powell didn’t contribute as usual off the bench and between them they shot 6 of 18. Going forward the Clippers will need more from their supporting cast.

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About the author


Iskra had a promising, at least she believed so, tennis and volleyball careers as a junior but a series of injuries ended her hopes to become a professional athlete very early.

Instead, she focused all her energy on her other passion, writing. For over a decade, Iskra had been a freelance sports writer. Football, basketball and tennis are the main fields of her expertise.