The top two seeds in the playoffs were both in action on Tuesday, and both took care of business — but not before a little drama. Plus, for a glorious five minutes, the whole internet was talking about Boogie Cousins. What is this, 2016?
Boogie makes an impression in Clips’ Game 1 loss
Expectations were low for DeMarcus Cousins when he signed with the Clippers in April. Coming off yet another debilitating injury last year, it was generally expected that Boogie’s days as a valuable NBA player were over; and although he showed flashes of his old scoring potential with the Rockets early this season, that perception apparently didn’t budge. With the Clippers, he battled for minutes and got very little for his trouble. In L.A.’s first-round series against the Mavericks, he didn’t play a single minute in seven games.
But in Game 1 against the top-seeded Jazz last night, something must of changed. Maybe coach Ty Lue suddenly remembered he had a healthy recent All-Star on his bench. Boogie entered the game early in the second quarter with the Clips nursing a seven-point lead, and I kid you not, he did this on the first play:
BOOGIE DOING IT ALL ? pic.twitter.com/QNuubBvBc2
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 9, 2021
Cousins would go on to score six points in less than four minutes of floor time, along with three rebounds, a made three and lockdown defense on All-Star Rudy Gobert. It was a beautiful, albeit brief, window of entertainment for NBA Twitter, who jumped on the oppurtunity without hesitation:
How Boogie guarding Gobert pic.twitter.com/wYgHJbulWY
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) June 9, 2021
gobert against boogie cousins pic.twitter.com/qZ0SHWnBfV
— buckets (@buckets) June 9, 2021
Boogie Cousins when he see’s Rudy Gobert on him. pic.twitter.com/crTyALf1lg
— ADBlurrr ?? (@ADblurrr) June 9, 2021
Unfortunately, once he left the game, he would not return. After taking a 13-point lead into the break, Coach Lue opted to stick with Ivaca Zubac and 6’8″ Marcus Morris as his centers in the second half, during which Utah outscored them 65-49 to secure the win and a 1-0 series lead. Donovan Mitchell finished with 45 points in the comeback, while Gobert was held to just 10 on 2-6 shooting.
One player who did see the floor plenty in the second half was Rajon Rondo, who ran the show at point for most of the fourth quarter after Reggie Jackson fouled out. The veteran finished with five points, five rebounds and six assists in 28 minutes, his longest run of the playoffs so far. He guarded Mitchell for stretches, but didn’t have a lot of success, as you might guess from that stat line.
Game two of the series will take place in Salt Lake City tomorrow night, with the Jazz staked to an early lead. Will we see more of Boogie next time out? From a content perspective, we can only hope.
Sixers bounce back in Game 2, tie Hawks 1-1
Despite the Hawks’ dominant showing for most of Sunday’s Game 1 upset of the top-seeded 76ers, the lasting taste of Philadelphia’s comeback from being down 26 to nearly winning left many wondering who really held the momentum in the series. That question was answered soundly in Tuesday’s Game 2, as the Sixers cruised to a 118-102 victory to even the series.
After posting 39 in the first game, Joel Embiid followed it up with a playoff-career-high 40 in this one, having his way in and out of the paint all night long. But the true hero for Philly was sixth man Shake Milton, who came off the bench to score 14 second-half points and stave off a comeback attempt by the Atlanta reserves. It was a significant moment for the series, as the Hawks’ bench’s domination of the Sixers’ was a big factor in their Game 1 win.
Philadelphia also benefitted from a combined 43 points from Tobias Harris and Seth Curry, as well as locked-in defense by Ben Simmons on Trae Young, who was held to 21 points on 6-16 shooting (1-7 from deep) in the loss. Tyrese Maxey didn’t score in five minutes off the bench.
The series will shift to Atlanta on Friday all tied up at 1-1.
|DeMarcus Cousins (LAC)||109-112 L @ UTA||6||2-3 (1-2)||3||0||0||1||1||+6||4|
|Rajon Rondo (LAC)||109-112 L @ UTA||5||1-3 (1-2)||5||6||0||0||2||-3||28|
|Tyrese Maxey (PHI)||118-102 W vs. ATL||0||0-2 (0-1)||1||2||0||0||0||-4||5|
|Patrick Patterson (LAC)||109-112 L @ UTA||DNP – Coach’s decision||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
TODAY IN THE NBA
9:30 (TNT): #3 Nuggets (Murray*) @ #2 Suns (Booker) – PHX leads 1-0
* – inactive