De’Aaron Fox scored 38 points and Malik Monk added 32 to lead the Sacramento Kings to a home victory over the Golden State Warriors (126-123), their first in the NBA playoffs in 17 years.
The Kings, who hadn’t made the playoffs since 2006, edged out the defending champions in the first Western Conference best-of-seven first-round meeting, which continues in Sacramento on Monday.
In the first Eastern Conference play-off games, the New York Knicks beat Cleveland (101-97) away from home, Boston won at home ahead of Atlanta (112-99) and Philadelphia won at home. home against Brooklyn (121-101).
In his playoff debut, Fox shot 13 of 27, including 4 of 8 from 3-pointers, and 8 of 12 free throws.
After the victory, he had the privilege of pressing the button that triggers outside their enclosure, the Golden 1 Center, the light of the laser symbol of a victory for the Kings.
Monk had two free throws in the final moments to seal the final gap as Stephen Curry, author of 30 points, then missed a final 3-point shot for the Warriors, which would have taken the two teams into overtime.
– Brunson leads the Knicks –
His teammate Klay Thompson only scored 21 points.
On the Sacramento side, winger Trey Lyles, who came off the bench like Monk, contributed 16 points, while NBA rebound leader Domantas Sabonis gleaned 12 points and 16 rebounds. “The substitutes did a great job tonight, especially Malik and Trey. They got us on fire,” Fox said.
“We knew we had to be physical, try not to foul because they’re probably the best team in the league in terms of free throws, and do the right things defensively, and we succeeded in important counterattacks”, welcomed the 25-year-old leader.
In Cleveland, Jalen Brunson scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half to lead New York to victory, as the Cavaliers were carried by 38 points from Donovan Mitchell.
A late Brunson miss was picked up by Julius Randle, who scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, allowing Quentin Grimes to make two game-winning free throws for the Knicks.
“We kept our cool. We played until the end, we made some decisive counterattacks,” explained Brunson. “We kept fighting, sticking together and staying calm.”
– Sixers records –
Regular-season leading scorer Joel Embiid had 26 points, and season-leading teammate James Harden added 23 points and 13 assists in the Sixers’ win over the Nets.
Philadelphia, which already held first place in three-point shooting this year, broke the franchise record in the playoffs in this area, with 21 of 43 successful attempts.
Mikal Bridges scored 30 points for Brooklyn, but only seven in the second half.
Harden, a former Nets player, hailed “a great victory” and warned that the N.2 game would be “the hardest in the series for us”.
Finally, the Celtics beat Atlanta, thanks in large part to Jaylen Brown’s 29 points and 12 rebounds and Jayson Tatum’s 25 points and 11 rebounds.
Brown played with a bandage on his fingers and a protective mask he’s been wearing for two months due to a fractured face.
“I have to be ready to play,” said the 26-year-old full-back. “My team depends on me. My city depends on me. I don’t look for excuses. I go out and I play”.