- Even though the postseason is being played without LeBron James, Week 1 hasn't disappointed. From the Clippers comeback to the Westbrook-Lillard rivalry, we recount the best moments from the postseason thus far.
The 2019 NBA playoffs have been riveting. Some might have muttered in disappointment and disbelief at such a notion before the postseason started, considering this scenario leaves us without LeBron James for the first time in over a decade. However, the 16 teams vying for the Larry O’Brien Trophy this year have offered a satisfactory amount of entertainment—and then some.
Below, we take a look back at some of the top moments from throughout the playoffs thus far.
DJ Augustin hits game-winning three
The Magic ended a six-year playoff drought this postseason. It was a long time coming for Orlando and veteran point guard D.J. Augustin. Augustin went off for 25 points and knocked down a contest-sealing three to end Game 1, outdueling Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, who was held scoreless. It was just the type of thrilling postseason start fans were hoping for.
Clippers comeback vs. Warriors
The Warriors are the two-time defending champions. When the Clippers fell behind by 31 points against Golden State with 7:31 remaining in the third quarter of Game 2, most assumed that it was over. But, miraculously, Los Angeles managed to pull off a comeback that ESPN gave just a 0.01% probability of happening. The Clippers’ comeback was the largest in NBA playoff history, recovering with a 72–37 run to close out the contest.
Jamal Murray’s fourth-quarter recovery
The experience of Gregg Popovich and his veteran Spurs has proven formidable against Mike Malone’s young Nuggets squad. But Denver showed some resolve during its Game 2 matchup, particularly behind the play of guard Jamal Murray. Murray dropped 21 points in the fourth quarter, going 8-for-9 from the field during the final period after missing each of his first eight attempts. The Spurs scored only 23 points over the final 12 minutes, allowing Murray’s heroics to rescue Denver’s season by evening the series at one game apiece before eventually falling in Game 3.
Celtics comeback vs. Pacers in Game 2
Last year, the Celtics came within a game of reaching the NBA Finals. The 2018-19 season was tumultuous for Boston, but the group displayed the mental fortitude necessary for it to accomplish its goals for the year. During Game 2, the Pacers took an 11-point lead going into the fourth quarter. Then Kyrie Irving helped finish an emphatic comeback. The point guard dropped 37 points, including eight straight to cap a 16–0 run that gave the Celtics the lead. Boston went on to take a 3-0 series lead.
Trail Blazers-Thunder rivalry
We knew we were in for a treat when, after the chaotic end to the regular season, the Thunder drew a first-round matchup with the Trail Blazers. The matchup has been the most entertaining series if not for being perhaps the most evenly matched, then for featuring Russell Westbrook against Dame Lillard. Lillard and Portland held the upper hand through the first two games, ending the franchise’s playoff drought by notching a pair of wins. But Westbrook, Paul George & Co. responded mightily when the series was sent to Oklahoma City for Game 3. Epic could prove to be an understatement for what the series has in store.