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  • BOS Center #40
    Kornet had already been ruled out for Game 1 on Sunday after reportedly injuring his calf during a drill. However, with Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford healthy, Kornet will not see the floor in the playoffs much. Xavier Tillman will be the only depth center option available until Kornet returns.
  • MIA Shooting Guard #55
    After not seeing the floor in their first Play-In game, Robinson logged 12 minutes in the win over Chicago on Friday. Robinson had some success against Boston in the playoffs last year, and they may lean on him again this year with both Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier sidelined. However, he didn’t play much in the Play-In Tournament, so there is certainly a chance that he is on the bench a lot in this series.
  • DEN Point Guard #27
    Murray appeared in only 59 games, but he averaged a career-high 21.2 points and 6.5 assists this season. He finished last season’s Western Conference Finals by averaging a ridiculous 35.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 3.0 steals and 5.0 triples over the final three games of the series. Murray excelled as a scorer in the WCF, but he focused his attention on playmaking against the Lakers this season, delivering two games with double-digit assists in the regular season and kicking off the first-round series with another one. Murray and Nikola Jokic combined for 54 points, 18 rebounds and 17 assists, but Aaron Gordon (12 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists), Michael Porter Jr. (19 points, eight boards) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12 points, three steals, four triples) all did their part to deliver a victory to the Mile High City.
  • DEN Center #15
    Jokic did what he usually does and led his team in scoring and rebounds, though it was Jamal Murray (game-high 10) who led the team in assists. Jokic battled Anthony Davis all night, trading tough buckets and key defensive plays, and while Davis put up 32 points of his own, it was Jokic’s Nuggets who had the last laugh. That’s eight straight wins for Denver over Los Angeles, dating back to last season’s Western Conference Finals, a series in which the MVP favorite averaged a whopping 27.8 points, 14.5 rebounds and 11.8 assists with three triple-doubles.
  • LAL Power Forward #3
    Davis played phenomenally in last season’s Western Conference Finals against Denver, averaging 26.8 points, 14.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in the four-game series loss. He kicked off that series with a 40 burger, and he came to play this year as well. Davis tied opposing big man Nikola Jokic for game lead in the scoring department, and AD paced all players on the glass. LeBron James posted a 27/6/8 line, but was mostly quiet in the second half, and it’s clear that Davis will have to be the best player on the court if the Lakers have any chance of advancing past this horrendous first-round matchup. Game 2 tips off on Monday back in Denver.
  • LAL Small Forward #23
    To the casual observer of the final box score, James’ performance wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t what Los Angeles needed to defeat the juggernaut Nuggets. James went into halftime with 19 points and his team up three. He finished with just eight second-half points, two of which came in the final seconds with the game well out of reach. James was efficient from the field and got teammates involved, but he also committed seven turnovers and was deferential when his team needed him to take over. King James averaged 27.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 9.5 assists in the Western Conference Finals sweep to Denver last season, but his Achilles heel in that series was late-game play. He’ll need to correct that if his team hopes to steal a rare win at Ball Arena in Game 2.
  • NYK Point Guard #2
    McBride cooked in the first half, dropping 16 points and hitting 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc. He finished the game behind only Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart (22 points apiece) for team lead in the scoring department, and Deuce scored half of New York’s bench points. The Knicks’ bench bested Philly’s bench 42-7 on offense, which was crucial in such a tight game. The West Virginia product averaged a career-best 8.3 points and 1.6 triples in 19.5 minutes this season, but he’s been stellar when given additional minutes and responsibilities.
  • NYK Point Guard #11
    After building on his breakout 2022-23 campaign, Brunson finished the regular season on a ridiculous tear, scoring at least 30 points in seven straight while averaging 38.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.1 triples. He couldn’t get there offensively in this one due to poor shooting, but he still contributed meaningfully as a rebounder and facilitator. Brunson’s off-night in the scoring department wasn’t costly, as Josh Hart and Miles McBride combined for 43 points on 12-of-24 shooting, including a blistering 9-of-15 from beyond the arc.
  • PHI Point Guard #0
    Maxey had a respectable 19/3/6 in Wednesday’s Play-In victory over Miami, but he took things up a notch in this one. Maxey was efficient from the floor as he led all players in the scoring department, picking up the slack for Joel Embiid, who scored 29 points on 8-of-22 shooting. Maxey’s strong performance wasn’t surprising after a breakout season in which he averaged 25.9 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 3.0 triples - all career highs. He and Embiid combined for 62 of Philly’s 104 points, so unless someone else steps up on offense, Maxey will need to deliver another strong offensive performance in Monday’s Game 2 if he wants to keep his team competitive.
  • PHI Center #21
    Embiid had a strong first half, racking up 15 points to lead his team, but he suffered a scary fall. Embiid threw the ball off the backboard and slammed it home for a “Tracy McGrady dunk,” but he came down awkwardly clutching his knee and was on the ground for a few minutes. Fortunately, he came back after halftime, but he was noticeably bothered by the injury in the final two quarters. The superstar big man closed out the regular season with averages of 29.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.5 triples in six games after returning from a two-month absence, and Saturday’s performance was more of the same. Embiid shot just 8-of-22 from the floor, and according to StatMuse, he’s now shot below 50% in eight straight playoff games. Mitchell Robinson logged 30 tough minutes, and he gave Embiid 12 boards and four swats. Embiid’s status is of particular interest ahead of Monday’s Game 2.

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