It’s very difficult for most athletes to be happy when they play well and their team loses anyway. That has to be even more difficult for players in the playoffs. That’s exactly what took place on Monday as the NBA Playoffs began. Both Luka Doncic and Donovan Mitchell were spectacular in defeats that left their respective teams behind 1-0 in the first round. Doncic had an incredible 42 points, the most ever for a player making his playoff debut. At just the age of 21, he was slicing up defenders, good ones, too, but it was not enough as his Dallas Mavericks fell 118-110 to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, of course, played well for the Clippers and combined for 56 points. Perhaps the turning point was the ejection of Kristaps Porzingis, the ‘number two’ on the Mavericks. After that, the Clippers outscored them by 13 to completely turn around a five-point deficit. Elsewhere, the aforementioned Mitchell had shone in the opening game of the official playoffs. He dropped a masterful 57 points, yes 57, as he his Utah Jazz lost 125-115 in overtime to the Denver Nuggets. That was the third highest points total in playoff history, and it came due to Mitchell being given the ball-handling duties after point guard Mike Conley left the ‘bubble’ to return home. Jamal Murray was imposing on the other side, especially in overtime. He would play a role in all six buckets the Nuggets had in the extra period, allowing them to take the 1-0 series lead. In the other two games on opening day of the playoffs, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Brooklyn Nets 134-110 and the Boston Celtics beat Philadelphia 109-101.