The top-seeded teams in both the Eastern and Western conferences lost the opening games of their respective playoff series. The Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, the favorites to meet each other in the NBA Finals, find themselves in a 0-1 to start the postseason after dropping Game 1 to the #8 seeds (Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers).
It’s not exactly the time to panic. However, neither team wants to crawl out of a 0-2 hole.
The Orlando Magic pulled off the third-largest upset in NBA playoff history in Game 1 in the Eastern Conference. The Magic were +13 underdogs, and defeated the Greek Freak and the Bucks 122-110.
In the west, the Lakers knew they had a tough draw with Damian Lillard and the #8 Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers’ offensive woes continued, while the Blazers secured a victory in Game 1, 100-93.
NBA Betting Lines 8/20/20
Miami -4 Indiana (o/u 215.5)
Houston -2 Oklahoma City (o/u 225.5)
Milwaukee -12.5 Orlando (o/u 227)
LA Lakers -6.5 Portland (o/u 228.5)
In the Eastern Conference’s coin-flip series (4 vs. 5), the #5 Miami Heat edged out the #4 Indiana Pacers with a 12-point victory to take a 1-0 series lead.
Out in the west’s coin-flip series, the #4 Houston Rockets took out the #5 Oklahoma City Thunder 123-108. The Rockets were the only better seed to win their opening game on Tuesday.
Game 2: Miami 1, Indiana 0
The Indiana Pacers kept Game 1 close until the Miami Heat pulled away in the first quarter.
Victor Oladipo played only nine minutes in Game 1 for the Pacers due to a scratched eye. He missed all of his shots and scored four points on free throws before he left the game in the first half. TJ Warren led the Pacers with 22 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort.
Butler led all Heat scorers with 28 points, including a pair of devastating three-pointers that sealed the victory. Butler doesn’t shoot many treys, which is important to note.
“I yell at him all the time to shoot the ball,” joked Bam Adebayo. “Tonight it just clicked where he listened to me and he make some big threes.”
Doran Gragic added 24 points, and Adebayo posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Tyler Herro came off the bench for Miami to add 16 points, even though he went only 1-for-5 from 3-point range.
Game 2: Houston 1, Oklahoma City 0
Everyone anticipated the Oklahoma City Thunder would take the opening game of the series because the Houston Rockets didn’t have Russell Westbrook (quad injury). Even without RWB, the Rockets prevailed due to their perimeter shooting. The Rockets launched 52 3-pointers in Game 1, knocking down 20 of them.
James Harden dropped 37 points and hauled down 10 rebounds in the victory. Jeff Green added 22 points off the bench on clutch 8-for-12 shooting.
“Our ball movement tonight was excellent,” said Harden. “We were playing off the catch, guys were very confident in their shots when they’re open. When they’re not open, they’re getting off the ball and making a quick decision.”
Chris Paul missed a triple-double in Game 1 with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in the loss for the Thunder. Danilo Gallinari led the Thunder with a career playoff-high 29 points.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder had bad games. Combined, they average 19 points each. But in Game 1, they scored only 15 points between the two.
Schroder, the Thunder’s sixth man, only scored six points off the bench. Schroder missed nine shots, and shot blanks with a 0-for-5 clip from downtown.
Westbrook will be a game-time decision for Game 2.
“Nobody knows yet,” said Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni. “The thigh will tell him that. He is progressing. It feels a lot better.”
Game 2: Orlando 1, Milwaukee 0
Perhaps this is the wake-up call that the Milwaukee Bucks need. The #1 seed in the east had their eyes set on a berth in the NBA Finals, but the Bucks stumbled out of the gate with a 12-point loss against a team that was a 13-point underdog, according to bookies around the globe.
The Magic’s big man, Nikola Vucevic, scored a playoff career-high 35 points and hauled down 14 rebounds in the inspiring victory. The banged-up Magic didn’t have their starting backcourt with Michael Carter-Williams and Aaron Gordon both out nursing injuries.
“We don’t care what other people have to say,” said Vucevic. “We focus on ourselves and we came out and played a great game on both ends of the floor.”
The Magic jumped out early to a double-digit lead thanks to a 15-2 run. The Bucks played from behind all game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo countered with 31 points and 17 rebounds for the Bucks. The Greek Freak played a solid game, but the rest of his team looked sluggish at times in Game 1. The Bucks shot 14-for-42, good for just 33% from 3-point range. They also missed 10 free throws.
“There’s no magic wand to point and things are going to change,” said Antetokounmpo. “You’ve got to come out, play hard, play even harder, play together, and have fun.”
Oddsmakers didn’t blink when they posted a similar opening line to Game 1. The Bucks come into Game 2 as a -13 favorite once again.
Game 2: Portland 1, LA Lakers 0
The top-seeded LA Lakers didn’t look good in the restart — especially their sputtering offense. Fans hoped that the team would turn their offensive woes around when the playoffs began. However, the Lakers struggled to score 93 points, including a paltry 18-point effort in the fourth quarter of Game 1.
The Portland Trail Blazers might be the most talented #8 seed in a very long time. They jumped out to a double-digit lead early in the game. The Lakers countered in the second quarter, trimming the halftime deficit to just one point. But the Blazers outplayed them in the second half and Damian Lillard finished the game with 34 points in the victory.
“Every game since we’ve been here has been a playoff game,” said Lillard. “So that prepared us for a game like this.”
LeBron James posted a triple-double and lost. He scored 23 points and added 17 assists and 16 rebounds. Anthony Davis Added 28 points and 11 rebounds. The rest of the Lakers’ supporting cast struggled to score.
Kyle Kuzma added 15 points off the bench, but he shot only 1-for-5 from 3-point range. At least he drained one trey. The Lakers shot a cringe-worthy 5-for-32 from beyond the arc for only 15%.
Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were a combined 4-for-21 from the floor, including 2-for-13 from downtown. Lakers’ fans skewered KCP on social media after he scored just one point in Game 1 and shot blanks with a 0-for-9 effort (plus 0-for-5 from downtown).
The Lakers come into Game 2 as the favorite and on a mission to even the series at 1-1. The Blazers are a +6.5 dog once again.