The Rundown: Sixers, Warriors go up 2-0; Mavs tie series vs. Jazz

Published April 19, 2022, 1:00 PMMiguel Flores

The Sixers and Warriors took a 2-0 series lead against the Raptors and Nuggets, respectively, while the Mavs bounced back behind Jalen Brunson’s 41-point performance.


76ers 112, Raptors 97 (PHI leads series, 2-0)

Mavericks 110, Jazz 104 (Series tied, 1-1)

Warriors 126, Nuggets 106 (GSW leads series, 2-0)

What went down

Sometimes, we get a little too excited about the underdog stories. Like the solid mid-major programs that make the NCAA tournament or the NU Bulldogs in the on-going UAAP, it's just fun to watch a well-coached team with a solid system.

But in basketball, talent is going to trump system more times than not. In the NBA playoffs where possessions are scarce and teams play each other repeatedly, that gets magnified.

Which brings us to the Philadelphia 76ers trampling the Toronto Raptors again in Game 2 of their series today. The Raptors are fun and exciting. So far, the Sixers’ depth and talent have overshadowed that.

A lot of credit should go to guys like Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris. They’re making their shots, which makes it much harder to contain their two stars in Joel Embiid and James Harden.

The Raptors need to find their mojo defensively as the series shifts to Toronto. The Sixers’ offense in Games 1 and 2 have ranked in the top 10 in all-time offensive rating, per John Schumann.

Out West, the Dallas Mavericks pulled off an upset to even their series in Game 2, slipping past the Utah Jazz thanks to Jalen Brunson (more on him later).

The Mavs, still without Luka Doncic, kept pounding on Utah’s main defensive weakness, which today was guarding the corner triple after a drive. Dallas made 17 open 3s this game. Utah made just 11 total 3-pointers.

Big-time baller

Jalen Brunson absolutely tore up Utah’s defense, finishing with 41 points on 15-for-25 shooting with eight rebounds and five assists.

The two-time NCAA champ with Villanova was the 33rd pick in the 2018 Draft, the same Draft where Luka Doncic was picked fifth. It was a tough road for Brunson as a second-round pick, but his hard work has paid off both on and off the court.

He will be a free agent in the offseason. He better be ready for a major bag.

What he said

Marcus Smart won the Defensive Player of the Award, pretty much off a bunch of “What he said” rants to the media.

Smart is an integral part to Boston’s league-leading defense, but stats haven’t favored him as metrics definitely value players who can protect the rim, defend the perimeter, and secure contested rebounds.

Still, Smart’s campaigning has led to him becoming the first guard to win DPOY since Gary Payton in 1996. His competition also had nothing but love for him.

Did you see that?

Steph Curry got on one of those legendary hot streaks. He came off the bench, heated up, and powered Golden State to a 2-0 series lead. It was magnetic. It also had tons of highlights.