Good thing that Kendall Jenner went to Coachella music festival and skipped the opening round of the playoffs because D’Angelo Russell and the Brooklyn Nets stunned the Philadelphia Sixers in Game 1.
The Brooklyn Nets (42-40), with the #6 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, upset the #3 Sixers to win 111-102. The Nets came into the game as 8-point underdogs, yet pulled off the opening-game victory.
D’Angelo Russell scored 26 points for the Nets. Caris LeVert, who only averaged 13 points per game this season, stepped up and dropped 23 points off the bench. The gritty Nets held the high-flying Sixers to only 102 points.
“We got all the right pieces to keep it going,” Russell told reporters after the game.
The Nets went 34-22 after a slow start to the season that saw them 10 games under .500 at 8-18. The Nets finished the year 6-7 and pundits began to wonder if the upstart Nets ran out of gas. However, despite a rough final two weeks of the season, the Nets came out of the gates in the playoffs completely fired up.
The Butler and Embiid Show
Joel Embiid, sore knee and all, tallied 22 points and pulled down 15 rebounds. He whiffed on all five of his three-point attempts. Embiid came into the game listed as “doubtful” on the injury report, but he still suited up.
According to current reports out of Philadelphia, the team training staff downgraded Embiid to questionable for Game 2.
Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 36 points. He went 13-for-15 from the free throw line and 11-22 from the floor. Butler added 9 rebounds and 2 steals. However, Butler had zero assists, but he had to make up for the lack of scoring from his teammates Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons.
Harris and Simmons combined for 13 points. Harris finished with only 4 points, but he contributed 7 rebounds and 6 assists in the loss. He had an off night shooting 2-for-7 and missing both of his three-point attempts.
Coming into Game 2 in Philadelphia, the Sixers are 8-point favorites, even with the news about Embiid.
Kendall Jenner’s boyfriend, Ben Simmons, had a poor Game 1 with only nine points, including 1-for-5 from the free throw line. Simmons could have really used some of KJ’s good juju. Kendall became the team’s good luck charm late in the season-half of the season. The Sixers were on a 15-3 clip whenever she attended Sixers games.
However with Coachella in full swing this weekend in Indio, California, Kendall Jenner would not be in attendance at any Sixers playoff games. After all, she was in her full element at Coachella. For Instgram models and influencers, Coachella is like the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, World Series, and March Madness all rolled into one.
Late in Game 1, television cameras caught Sixers reserve Amir Johnson glancing at his mobile phone while sitting on the bench. Johnson showed something to Embiid, who quickly returned to watching the game. Johnson claimed he had a sick child at home and wanted to check up on their progress. However, it is against NBA rules to have any mobile devices on the bench.
“It’s completely unacceptable and we will deal with it internally, very soon,” said Sixers head coach Brett Brown. “It’s not something we are and certainly don’t condone.”
The jokes and memes began flying on social media. Perhaps, Johnson wanted to check Kendall Jenner’s Instagram to find out what she wore to Coachella that day. Or maybe he wanted to know the details about Childish Gambino’s setlist?
One thing is for certain, the Sixers better put their phones away and start shooting better if they want to avoid an embarrassing first-round exit from the NBA playoffs.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Sixers fell from 15/1 odds to 40/1 odds to win the NBA championship.