Knicks Win On the Road, Sixers, Celtics and Kings Rule at Home

The wait is finally over and the 2023 NBA Playoffs officially started on Saturday with 4 thrilling games. Here are the most important takes from those matches that saw the Kings ending a 17-year wait for a playoff victory with a triumph over the defending champions.

The Knicks Survived Mitchell’s 4th Quarter Push

The Knicks became the only team to achieve a road win on opening night. They edged Cleveland 101-97 thanks to Brunson’s solid second-half display and Randall’s crucial rebounding. Brunson scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half. Randall returned from injury and dominated the glass, while also adding 19 points.

The Cavs could have stolen the win as Donovan Mitchell scored 14 of his 38 points in the 4th quarter. In the end, he received too little in terms of support from his teammates and that proved costly. Garland had only 1 assist and 5 turnovers. LeVert scored just 3 points on 1 of 7 shooting. Cleveland need to be much better and already feel they can’t afford to lose another home match in game 2.

Celtics All Business in Game 1

Led by Jaylon Brown Celtics secured a 112-99 win at the start of their playoff run. Both Brown and Tatum had double doubles, but Brown led all scorers with 29 and bagged 2 crucial buckets in the 4th quarter to crush the Hawks early.

Atlanta expectedly had problems against the very solid Celtics’ defence. Trae Young scored only 16 points on 5 of 18 shooting and once more he proved that he doesn’t have enough weapons to beat regularly dogged defenders like White and Smart that kept suffocating him every time he stepped into the halfcourt. The Hawks already look short on answers in this series. Maybe, game 2 will bring them some better luck but others than Young will have to deliver it as he will be closely guarded again.

Harden’s Double Double Leads the Sixers to An Easy Win

Philly’s quest towards the NBA Finals began with a 121-101 home win vs the Nets. James Harden was the star of this match with 7 of 13 shooting from distance and 13 assists to add to that. The NBA MVP front-runner Joel Embiid didn’t have to be at his best even and he finished the game with a modest 26 points and 5 rebounds, despite playing 33 minutes. Embiid was double-teamed all match and several times he lost his cool. The big fellow needs to expect more of the same going forward though so he better get used to it.

Bridges kept the Nets in touch at least in the first half. He finished with 30 points but ultimately the starless roster of Brooklyn simply got tired late on and got swept. It seems the Nets will try to unsettle Embiid with some aggressive defending going forward. However, in focusing on that they leave Harden to do as he likes and Mr Beard seems to be back to his vintage best.

The Kings Conquered the Defending Champions, The Amazing Mr Fox Showed the Way

De'Aaron Fox
Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA
By Icon Sport

The 17-year wait for a Sacramento playoff win finally ended when the Kings opened their first playoff run in 17 years with a 126-123 home win vs the defending champs from Golden State. De’Aaron Fox was simply unplayable in this match and with 38 points, 29 of them in the second half, he led Sacramento to a narrow win.

The game wasn’t decided until the buzzer with Wiggins and Curry missing 3s for the Warriors right at the end. The Kings showed an unexpected maturity and rallied in the final 4 minutes to erase a 112-114 deficit with 7 unanswered points. Fox had an amazing playoff debut, while as everyone expected Sabonis dominated the glass and he finished with 16 rebounds, including 3 key offensive rebounds in the 4th quarter.

It seems the Warriors are up for a tough series and if their old stars don’t offer more, especially on the road, the Kings could be in for a memorable playoff return. Game 2 promises to be another close-fought battle.

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!

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.