LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – First it was Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, unable to call on one of the best defenses in the league.
Then came LeBron James and the Lakers, sounding 3 pointers on the rim to provide a steady sound in a nearly empty gym.
These NBA playoffs were already promising to be the toughest yet. They were a little tougher on Tuesday for the top teams in the league.
Milwaukee and Los Angeles lost their playoff opener, the first time the two conference No.1 seeds have been beaten by the No.8s to start their playoffs since 2003.
So good for most of the season, the best seeds struggle in the bubble.
There’s no field advantage to be lost in the playoffs at Walt Disney World, which makes it easier to panic in what would normally be a more difficult situation.
“No frustration because the game is the game and we came with the will to win. We didn’t mind the business, but we have another opportunity on Thursday to tie the series and that’s my only state of mind, ”said James.
The Lakers knew they were up against a tougher-than-usual No.8 seed in the Portland Trail Blazers, who came back from the season suspension caused by a healthy coronavirus, then played their way in playoffs by winning a play-in playoffs.
Los Angeles didn’t help themselves try and slow down a hot opponent by shooting just 15.6% (5 for 32) from 3 points and ended up losing 100-93.
The Milwaukee problem was on the other end. The Bucks surrendered three quarters of 30 points – and 29 in their best period – to shorthanded Orlando Magic in a 122-110 loss. It was a particularly poor performance from a team that led the league in a number of defensive categories and kept opponents at a league-low 41.4 shooting percentage. Orlando made 49.4%.
“They played well. You have to give that to Orlando and we just have to keep doing what we’re doing and hopefully things in Game 2 can change, ”said Antetokounmpo. “But keep playing hard, keep playing together. That’s all you can do.
Neither team can blame their MVP candidate. Antetokounmpo had 31 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists. James had 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists, the first 20-15-15 game in NBA playoff history.
But neither team looked particularly sharp in Florida. They had arrived at the restart long before their No.1 seeded competition and were more focused on maintaining health than winning in the eight ranking games leading up to the playoffs.
They couldn’t change things when the going was serious and by the time the day was over it was the first time the No.1 two had lost since Orlando knocked out Detroit in the East and Phoenix beat San. Antonio in the West in 2003.
The Spurs recovered to win that NBA title, just like the Toronto Raptors did last year after falling to the Magic in their first game. The Lakers’ Danny Green was on that team, so he didn’t care what either of the seeded teams were up against now.
“It’s the same kind of scenario,” Green said. “Down 0-1, they lose 0-1. They are the seed team for a reason, we are the seed team for a reason. We just have to dig and find it, find it out. I believe we will.
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