Photo credit: Washington Wizards/Twitter, Utah Jazz/Twitter
The NBA playoffs kicked off with a couple of David vs. Goliath battles. In the Western Conference, the 8th-seeded Memphis Grizzlies took on the league-leading Utah Jazz in their series opener.
The best team in the East, the Philadelphia 76ers also took on the upset-minded 8th-seeded Washington Wizards.
Fresh from their spirited overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors during the play-in, the youthful Grizzlies marched on against the team with the best record in the regular season.
READ: All bets are off! An NBA play-in tournament preview
ALSO READ: LeBron pushes Lakers to playoffs, Grizzlies survive
Most teams would be intimidated going up against such a formidable team, right? Well, the Memphis squad laughs in the face of danger. The defiant Grizzlies valiantly took home court advantage against the Jazz coming away with a 112-109 road win.
Photo credit: Memphis Grizzlies/Twitter
That’s right, the Grizzlies won against the top-ranking team. How did they pull it off?
READ: Top 6 teams from the NBA Western Conference
It turns out that Ja Morant was not the only offensive weapon during the game. The usually defensive-minded Dillon Brooks stepped up, tallying 31 points on 13-for-21 shooting from the field, along with seven boards, two assists, two steals, and two blocks in 36 minutes.
Oh yeah, he also broke Marc Gasol’s record for most points scored by a Grizzlies player during a playoff debut.
Morant gave the Utah team a run for their money, scoring 26 points in 36 minutes. The Jazz did bounce back during the fourth period led by Bojan Bogdanovic who scored all of his 29 markers during the second half. Mike Conley Jr. added 22 points for the home team, but it was clear that playing sans Donovan Mitchell put them at a disadvantage.
On the East side of things, the Philadelphia 76ers experienced quite the scare against the Washington Wizards. The duo of Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook combined for 49 of Washington’s 118 points. By the end of the game, Philly narrowly avoided sharing the same fate as the Jazz.
READ: Top 6 teams from the NBA Eastern Conference
ALSO READ: Russell Westbrook is the new triple-double king, beats Oscar Robertson’s record
Sixers’ Tobias Harris made sure of that by erupting for 37 points, while teammate Joel Embiid added 30 points of his own. Thankfully for Philly fans, the 76ers escaped with a 125-118 win.
Photo credit: Philadelphia 76ers/Twitter
Phew! That was too close for comfort! They can’t have lapses like that anymore against an explosive Wizards team capable of capitalizing on those types of mistakes.
In summary, one top-ranking team stumbled, while the other one prevailed. Do you think the Jazz and the Sixers can avoid getting ousted by the lower-seeded teams in their respective seven-game series? What do you think of the Grizzlies and the Wizards’ chances of overthrowing top teams?