By The Associated Press
Sorry, Philadelphia. The NBA was due for a blowout.
It hasn’t had many of them in these playoffs.
Boston’s 121-87 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday night was the 50th game of this year’s playoffs — and only the fourth to be decided by more than 20 points.
The others: the Los Angeles Lakers’ 125-85 win on April 28 to clinch their series with Memphis in Round 1, Denver’s 109-80 win over Minnesota on April 16 and Miami’s 121-99 win over Milwaukee on April 22.
That speaks to the competitiveness of this year’s tournament. Only 8% of this season’s playoff games, so far, have been decided by more than 20.
That’s down considerably from 20% last year, 15% in 2021, 13% in the bubble playoffs of 2020, and 21% in 2019.
Golden State will aim to avoid falling into a 2-0 hole for the second consecutive series — this time, at home — when it plays host to the Lakers in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal matchup on Thursday night.
Friday’s slate will see Denver seeking a 3-0 lead when it visits Phoenix, plus Game 3 of the now-knotted-up 76ers-Celtics series as it shifts to Philadelphia. New York and Miami don’t play again until Saturday, their Game 3 that day preceding Game 3 of Lakers-Warriors that night.
HOW TO WATCH
— Thursday’s Lakers-Warriors game is on ESPN.
— The Boston-Philadelphia and Denver-Phoenix games on Friday are on ESPN.
— Saturday’s doubleheader — New York-Miami and Warriors-Lakers — will air on ABC.
— Team broadcasters will no longer air games. Everything after the first round is exclusive to national windows and not available for local telecasts.
— The NBA Finals on ABC begin June 1.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
It’s now been 10 years — the longest streak in NBA history — without a No. 1 draft pick winning the league’s MVP award. LeBron James was the most recent No. 1 pick to win it, his fourth MVP trophy coming in 2013.
The last time James won MVP, he was 32nd on the NBA’s career scoring list, 46th in assists, 68th in 3-pointers made and 182nd in rebounds.
He’s now 1st in scoring, 4th in assists, 9th in 3’s made and 32nd in rebounds.
A day after Joel Embiid was announced as this season’s MVP, the NBA revealed that Sacramento’s Monte McNair was selected as the league’s executive of the year.
McNair got 16 of the 30 first-place votes from a panel composed of team basketball executives across the NBA. Cleveland’s Koby Altman was second, while Utah’s Justin Zanik and Denver’s Calvin Booth tied for third.
The other award-winners this season:
— April 17: Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. won Defensive Player of the Year.
— April 18: De’Aaron Fox of Sacramento won the inaugural Clutch Player award.
— April 19: Sacramento’s Mike Brown became the first unanimous Coach of the Year.
— April 20: Boston’s Malcolm Brogdon won Sixth Man of the Year.
— April 24: Utah’s Lauri Markkanen was the easy winner of Most Improved Player.
— April 25: Orlando’s Paolo Banchero was a near-unanimous Rookie of the Year.
“Nobody wants to ask about all the adjustments we made from Game 1 to Game 2?” — Boston coach Joe Mazzulla, at the end of his news conference following the Celtics’ series-tying win over the 76ers.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports