NBA playoffs Game 1 winners and losers: Knicks' Miles McBride breaks out, Lakers' D'Angelo Russell goes cold

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The 2024 NBA Playoffs are officially here. With the Play-In Tournament concluded and the 16-team postseason bracket set, four first-round series started Saturday. It will be a heck of a ride from start to finish, and Saturday's contests proved just that. 

The playoffs got going with a Cavaliers' victory, as they defended their home court with a low-scoring win over the Orlando Magic. The Timberwolves, looking for their first playoff series victory since 2004, got off to a strong start as well with a lopsided win over the Suns. The Knicks, fresh off their first 50-win regular season in 11 years, got Madison Square Garden rolling with a big win over Philadelphia, while the defending champion Nuggets began their quest for back-to-back titles with an easy win over LeBron James and the Lakers.

CBS Sports writers made their picks for every first-round series with most experts picking the Knicks, Mavericks, Pacers and more to move on.

Below is a look at the results from the first set of Game 1s, along with a handful of winners and losers from Saturday's action.

NBA Playoffs scores, schedule -- April 20

  • Cavaliers 97, Magic 83 (Cavs lead 1-0) -- Box score
  • Timberwolves 120, Suns 95 (Wolves lead 1-0) -- Box score
  • Knicks 111, 76ers 104 (Knicks lead 1-0) -- Box score
  • Nuggets 114, Lakers 103 (Nuggets lead 1-0) -- Box score

And now for some winners and losers from Saturday's action.

Winner: Nikola Jokic, the scorer

Everyone knows how great of a passer Jokic is, but when his team needed him, he showed just how unstoppable he can be as a scorer. As the Nuggets launched their assault during the third quarter, Jokic went to his office in the paint, bullying the Lakers' helpless defenders.

Once he established himself inside, Jokic got back to doing what he loves most -- setting up teammates -- and the Lakers had no answers. The likely three-time NBA MVP finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists on 15-for-23 shooting. Just a masterclass in Game 1 to help demoralize a Laker team that had a double-digit first-half lead. - Colin Ward-Henninger

Loser: Playoff DLo

D'Angelo Russell had a tremendous regular season, but when the Lakers drew the Nuggets in the first round it was hard not to recall last year's Western Conference finals, when he was played off the court due to his defensive deficiencies and inconsistent shooting. Well ...

Things didn't go great for Russell in Game 1, as he shot just 6-for-20 from the field and 1-for-9 from 3-point range en route to 13 points. The inherent problem is that Russell needs to shoot a lot to be effective on the court, so when he's not making them, you can't really tell him to stop putting them up. Would Darvin Ham love to see Austin Reaves take more than nine shots? Sure. But it's not like you can just forbid Russell -- your most consistent shooter all season long -- from taking shots he knows he can make. We'll have to see how Ham handles Russell's minutes moving forward, but he was bad once again against the Nuggets on Saturday night. - Colin Ward-Henninger

Winner: The refs (for now)

The Nuggets won't likely complain after a resounding Game 1 win, but the Lakers took 19 free throws compared to Denver's six. Obviously the Lakers attacked the rim (Anthony Davis and LeBron James combined for 14 of the 19 free throw attempts), but we've heard that reasoning for years in regards to the large discrepancy and it hasn't prevented other teams from complaining one bit. If there's another lopsided total like this and the Lakers end up on the winning end, you can probably expect at least a mention from the Nuggets before this series is over. - Colin Ward-Henninger

Winner: Josh Hart, 3-point marksman

Hart shot 31% from 3-point range during the regular season. For most of Game 1, the 76ers were leaving him wide-open, daring him to put one up from long distance. And it worked. Through the first three quarters, he was 1-of-4 from behind the 3-point arc.

So what does he do? Goes 3-of-4 on longballs in the fourth quarter, including an absolute dagger to push the lead to seven with a minute left, after which he hyped up the MSG crowd.

"It's just the passion that I play with. I knew I was gonna be left open and kind of disrespected from the 3-point line, and if you base it off the numbers from the regular season, I think I shot like 30%. So, you know, smart game plan," Hart said after the win. "But for me, it's just continuing to take shots. I think I made my first one and missed, like, my next four. Normally, I would have just, kind of, been hesitant. But this one was just, continue to shoot, continue to make them respect me at the 3-point line." - Colin Ward-Henninger

Loser: Another Joel Embiid injury

Yo, can we just stop with this? Please? After one of the most impressive plays we've seen all season, Embiid went down with what appeared to be an aggravation of the left knee injury that caused him to miss almost 30 regular-season games.

Though he returned for the second half, it was clear that Embiid was struggling physically -- wincing and limping consistently throughout the remainder of the game. The reigning MVP went just 2-for-11 in the second half, though he was able to score 11 points by getting to the free throw line and was still a plus-10 in the box score. That shows you how impactful Embiid can be, even when he's not at full strength.

But we're sick of seeing Embiid at less than 100%, which he'll almost certainly be for at least the next couple of games in this series. Injuries never stop being the worst, and Embiid has experienced more than his fair share in the postseason. - Colin Ward-Henninger

Winner: Miles McBride

If you didn't know his nickname before the playoffs began, you certainly do now. Deuce McBride was the key to the Knicks' Game 1 win over Philadelphia, pouring in 21 points on 5-for-7 3-point shooting in 28 minutes. He finished as a ridiculous plus-37(!) in the box score – no wonder Jalen Brunson gave a two-word answer when asked how the Knicks pulled this one out.

McBride has been an essential part of Tom Thibodeau's rotation since the latter part of the regular season, when he averaged 13 points on 42% 3-point shooting in his last 20 games. That clearly carried over into his first significant playoff action, as he saved the Knicks with his hot shooting when they appeared to be dead in the water. - Colin Ward-Henninger

Loser: Sixers' supporting cast

Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and Kyle Lowry combined for 80 of the 76ers' 104 points on Saturday, meaning that the other six players who stepped foot on the court produced *checks calculator* ... 24 points. Tobias Harris performed the most mystical disappearing act, finishing with just seven points after averaging 17 during the regular season (though he was one of the rare Sixers to actually grab some rebounds) -- and he only took seven shots.

Nicolas Batum, Buddy Hield, Paul Reed and Cam Payne combined to put up just seven total bench points, compared to 42 from the Knicks. That's where Game 1 was lost, and they're going to have to step up if the Sixers are going to make this a series. - Colin Ward-Henninger

Winner: Anthony Edwards

Edwards dipped his toe into the postseason waters last season, and the results were mixed. He started slow, practically disappearing in a Play-In loss to the Lakers before exploding in a first-round defeat against the Nuggets. This time around, he plans to dive into the playoff pool completely, and he did so emphatically in Saturday's Game 1 win over the Phoenix Suns.

The third quarter belonged completely and utterly to Edwards. His 18 points were impressive enough on their own, but it was the manner in which they came that were so impressive. These weren't easy layups created by teammates. He just beat Phoenix off the dribble again and again and again and again. The quarter ended emphatically with Edwards drilling a step-back 3-pointer in Kevin Durant's face, as if to say "I'm the best player in this series." Minnesota doesn't just need All-Star Edwards to go on a deep playoff run. They need future MVP Edwards. He more than delivered on Saturday. - Sam Quinn

Loser: Frank Vogel

Remember the old adage "you can't fire the players?" Well, who's going to get blamed if the Suns lose in the first round? It won't be the players that make up their exorbitantly expensive roster. Even in his first season in Phoenix, Frank Vogel is coaching under pressure. Mat Ishbia has been so aggressive as owner of the Suns that he'd likely make changes somewhere with such an early exit, and Vogel is the easiest target.

Chris Finch out-coached him badly in Game 1. The Timberwolves came out with a game-plan that was eerily reminiscent of the approach Houston used to take against Kevin Durant when he played for the Golden State Warriors. By putting an apparent mismatch on him in Karl-Anthony Towns, the Timberwolves successfully baited Durant into taking a ton of mid-range shots. He made them, but their best perimeter defenders (Jaden McDaniels, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Anthony Edwards) could then stifle Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, taking away easy points from deep and near the basket. The Suns were outscored significantly from the paint and on 3-pointers during the competitive portion of the game.

The series is young. Vogel has time to make adjustments that will get Booker and Beal going and diversify the offense a bit. But Chris Finch threw the first punch, and now the Suns are three losses away from elimination. -  Sam Quinn

Winner: Klay Thompson

The Orlando Magic shot 8-of-37 from 3-point range in Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. I promise, it looked worse than the numbers suggest. Orlando didn't make a single 3-pointer in the second quarter. Paolo Banchero committed nine turnovers because he had no space to drive. The Magic are a great defensive team. They badly need another shooter.

That's good news for Klay Thompson, their reported target in free agency this summer, who is coming off of a game that likely hurt his value a bit. Thompson was held scoreless as the Sacramento Kings eliminated the Warriors in the Play-In round. The Warriors reportedly offered him only $48 million over two years before the season, a major pay cut from his current max contract. But if Orlando keeps shooting like this? They'll have no choice but to back up the Brinks Truck for Golden State's aging sharpshooter. - Sam Quinn

Loser: The basketball gods

Remember when the Cavaliers were playing the Hornets on the final day of the regular season and decided to make some... interesting lineup choices? Well, they wanted to avoid the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, where they would meet either the Philadelphia 76ers or Miami Heat. So they put in all of their end-of-bench players against Charlotte hoping to lose so they could fall to No. 4 and face the Magic at No. 5. This was met with the typical round of "oh, the basketball gods won't like that" reprimands.

But after one game... it doesn't seem like the basketball gods mind all that much. Orlando has a very promising future. It seems hard to believe that the Magic will be able to score enough to win a playoff series in 2024. Strategically, the Cavaliers made the decision that gave them the best chance of winning their first-round series. The Game 1 result suggests they made a good call. Thus far, they have not been punished by the basketball gods for intentionally losing a game. Of course, if you're a Cavs fan, you might want to go knock on some wood just to be safe. - Sam Quinn

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FINAL: Cavaliers 97, Magic 83

Cleveland takes Game 1 with a dominating defensive performance. Donovan Mitchell leads the way with 30, but Paolo Banchero's 24-point, five-assist outing for Orlando was impressive. This is going to be a gritty, defensive series, and this matchup more than lived up to the bill. 

April 20, 2024, 7:47 PM
Apr. 20, 2024, 3:47 pm EDT
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FINAL: Timberwolves 120, Suns 95

And that'll do it for us here in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves open the postseason with an emphatic victory over the Suns, 120-95. It was Minnesota's first win of the season over Phoenix after losing all three regular-season matchups between the two teams. Kevin Durant's 31 points led the way for the Suns, but the night belonged to Anthony Edwards. Minnesota's third-year superstar led all scorers with 33 points, but he did the bulk of his work in an 18-point third-quarter explosion. The Timberwolves had the NBA's best defense all season. If Edwards can be this kind of scorer in the postseason, look out. Minnesota is now three games away from the second round, and the Timberwolves have made a statement that the rest of the Western Conference won't be able to ignore.

April 20, 2024, 10:25 PM
Apr. 20, 2024, 6:25 pm EDT
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Final: Knicks 111, 76ers 104

The Knicks have established a 1-0 series lead after taking Game 1 over the 76ers at MSG. Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson led the way with 22 points each, while Miles McBride added 21 off the bench. New York firmly won the rebound game, tallying 55 total boards compared to Philly's 33. Joel Embiid finished with 29 points over 37 minutes on 8-of-22 shooting. His health moving forward will be something to watch. 

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Final - Nuggets 114, Lakers 103

  • Nikola Jokic: 32 pts, 12 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl, 15-23 FG
  • Jamal Murray: 22 pts, 10 ast, 6 reb
  • Michael Porter Jr.: 19 pts, 8 reb, 3-7 3P
  • Anthony Davis: 32 pts, 14 reb, 5 ast
  • LeBron James: 27 pts, 8 ast, 6 reb, 10-16 FG
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Gordon delivers dagger

With all the two-man game between Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, plus all the floor-spacing from Michael Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, you forget that Aaron Gordon is one of the strongest, most athletic forwards in the league. The Nuggets decided to let him go to work in a post-up situation, and he ends up tipping in his own miss to pretty much seal Game 1.

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Anthony Davis bringing Lakers back

AD has been going right at Nikola Jokic (or whoever's in his way) to power this Lakers comeback. It seems like any Lakers offense down the stretch is going to have to start with him.

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Not looking good for Lakers

With LeBron James on the bench, the Nuggets have pushed their lead to 14 points. You'd have to imagine that he'll come back in soon or else this could get out of hand. Darvin Ham also has to think in terms of a series, though, so LeBron's minutes will be something to monitor -- though Ham probably won't have much choice if James decides he wants to go back in.

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End of 3rd quarter - Nuggets 89, Lakers 78

  • Nikola Jokic: 23 pts, 10 reb, 6 ast, 11-16 FG
  • Michael Porter Jr.: 16 pts, 7 reb
  • LeBron James: 23 pts, 7 ast, 4 reb
  • Anthony Davis: 22 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast
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Joker takeover

Sometimes Michael Malone has to nudge Nikola Jokic a little bit to remind him to look for his own shot, since his default setting is to facilitate. Jokic clearly came out on a mission in the third quarter, getting into the paint and hitting a series of tough shots to collapse the defense. That's led to wide-open 3-pointers and backdoor cuts from his supporting cast to give the Nuggets a 10-point lead.

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Halftime - Lakers 60, Nuggets 57

  • LeBron James: 19 points, 5 ast, 7-10 FG
  • Anthony Davis: 18 pts, 7 reb, 4 ast
  • Nikola Jokic: 15 pts, 6 reb, 7-10 FG
  • Michael Porter Jr.: 11 pts, 5 reb
  • Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon, Peyton Watson: 8 pts each
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Oops, I blinked

One of the fastest 8-0 runs you'll ever see has the Nuggets right back in the game, thanks to a couple of solid defensive plays and clutch shots. Denver trailed 49-37 with six minutes left, and it's now 49-45 with just under five minutes left. Man, they sure do turn it on quick.

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LeBron, AD carrying Lakers

Surprise, surprise -- the Lakers' two best players are starring early, combining for 26 points and seven assists with six minutes left in the second quarter. D'Angelo Russell and Taurean Prince have been the key role players thus far, with Austin Reaves off to a 1-for-3 start. We'll see what adjustments Denver makes to try to limit James and Davis, and who can step up for the Lakers when that happens.

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End of 1st Quarter - Lakers 33, Nuggets 25

  • LeBron James: 12 pts, 5 ast, 3 reb, 4-6 FG
  • Anthony Davis: 6 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast
  • Nikola Jokic: 11 pts, 3 reb, 5-8 FG
  • Peyton Watson: 8 pts, 2-3 3P
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Battle of the boards

The Knicks have 24 second-chance points tonight, which is essentially what's keeping them in the game. We knew coming in that New York was the best offensive rebounding team in the league and the 76ers were one of the worst on the defensive glass, so this isn't really a surprise. Mitchell Robinson has seven offensive rebounds by himself, while Isaiah Hartenstein, Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson have combined for 12 more.

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End of 3rd Quarter - 76ers 82, Knicks 79

  • Tyrese Maxey: 24 pts, 4 ast, 2 blk
  • Joel Embiid: 23 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast
  • Kyle Lowry: 15 pts, 3-6 3P
  • Jalen Brunson: 20 pts, 4 ast, 4 reb, 7-21 FG
  • Miles McBride: 16 pts, 4-5 3P
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Embiid looks good, but not 100%

Joel Embiid is now a plus-19 for the game, but it's pretty clear that he's still a bit hobbled out there on the floor. After a 3/4 court dime to Kelly Oubre for a dunk, Embiid was wincing while walking back down the court. Even so, he's found a way to be effective as the 76ers came all the way back to take the lead.

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Knicks on their heels

Kyle Lowry started it, and Tyrese Maxey has continued it, putting pressure on the Knicks defense with shooting and penetration. Maxey is up to 18 points, getting into the paint with some incredible burst and athletic finishes. Philly has cut a 12-point halftime deficit to three halfway through the third quarter.

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Kyle Lowry to the rescue?

With two 3-pointers and an and-one layup, Lowry has scored nine of his 12 points early in the third quarter. Embiid looks like he's moving well, but either way the 76ers are going to need someone besides him and Maxey to step up. Lowry is taking the initiative to help bring Philly back, and they're going to need more from the likes of Tobias Harris and Kelly Oubre Jr. if they're going to have a chance at completing the comeback.

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Embiid on the floor for 3rd quarter

Despite suffering a scary injury before halftime that sent him to the locker room, Joel Embiid has returned for the 76ers to start the third quarter. He had 18 points in the first half.

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Halftime - Knicks 58, 76ers 46

  • Joel Embiid: 18 pts, 5 reb, 6-11 FG
  • Tyrese Maxey: 12 pts, 5-14 FG
  • Jalen Brunson: 11 pts, 3 ast, 3-12 FG
  • Miles McBride: 16 pts, 4-5 3P
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Embiid goes to locker room

After one of the most spectacular plays we've seen this season, Joel Embiid went to the floor grabbing his left knee, the same one that he had meniscus surgery on in Feburary. The big man went to the locker room to get it checked out during the timeout.

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Knicks seize momentum

MSG is rocking as the Knicks have come all the way back to take the lead after trailing by as many as 13 points. The ball is popping much more on the offensive end, resulting in some great looks. They're also pounding the glass, turning 10 offensive rebounds into 16 second-chance points. Defensively, they seem to have slowed down Embiid and the 76ers offense -- which has had a few decent looks that haven't gone down. This seems like it's going to be a back-and-forth affair, not just for this game but for the entire series.

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Knicks bench making a difference

Bojan Bogdanovic and Deuce McBride have been electric off the bench, combining for 16 points on perfect 4-for-5 3-point shooting. They've brought the Knicks back with Brunson on the bench, which is a huge win for them. On the other side, the 76ers immediately gave up the lead with Embiid on the bench, a troubling concern they hope doesn't become a trend in the series.

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End of 1st Quarter - 76ers 34, Knicks 25

  • Joel Embiid: 15 pts, 3 reb, 5-9 FG
  • Tyrese Maxey: 7 pts, 2 ast, 3-5 FG
  • Jalen Brunson: 7 pts, 2 ast, 2-8 FG
  • Josh Hart: 4 pts, 4 reb
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Randle's absence felt already

The Sixers are making life very difficult for Jalen Brunson, as the All-Star point guard is just 2 for 8 from the field to start the game with no assists and a turnover. Philadelphia is selling out to make sure Brunson isn't going to beat them, which shows how valuable it would be to have Julius Randle on the floor. Without him, there simply aren't any other Knicks adept at creating their own offense and setting up teammates. The responsibility falls on the shoulders of Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart and OG Anunoby to pick up the slack -- if they don't, it's going to a long, tiring series for Brunson.

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Knicks hitting the boards

The Knicks are already crashing the offensive glass consistently, like they've done all season, generating second shots that just haven't fallen as of yet. New York has five offensive boards, and they've gotten off five pretty clean 3-point looks. On the other side, Tobias Harris seems to have taken on the task of cleaning up the defensive glass, collecting four rebounds in the first five minutes. Given how efficient Philly has been so far offensively, the Knicks may need those second chances to keep pace as the game goes on.

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Embiid lively early

Joel Embiid knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key and then made two acrobatic and-ones to start the game. He looks fresh early, but we'll see whether he fatigues as the game goes on, especially if he's responsible for all of the Sixers offense and defensive rebounding.

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76ers at Knicks next up

Here's the info as arguably the most anticipated series of the first round tips off.

  • Date: Saturday, April 20 | Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • Location: Madison Square Garden -- New York
  • TV channel: ESPN | Live stream: ESPN app
  • Odds: Knicks -3.5; O/U 209.5
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The Suns look cooked

Everything is going Minnesota's way right now. Lucky bounces on free throws. Naz Reid circus finishes. The Timberwolves lead by 19 with under 10 minutes to go. The Suns are explosive enough to overcome a deficit like that, but with the way Minnesota is playing, that doesn't seem especially likely.

April 20, 2024, 9:57 PM
Apr. 20, 2024, 5:57 pm EDT
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Anthony Edwards with his best playoff quarter has Minnesota up 20

It was a quiet first half for Anthony Edwards because of foul trouble, but boy, did he make up for it in the third quarter. He just put up 18 in the frame, including a devastating stepback 3-pointer right in Kevin Durant's face, and behind his excellent quarter, the Timberwolves lead 92-72 in the third quarter. It looks like Minnesota is headed for a 1-0 series lead.

April 20, 2024, 9:49 PM
Apr. 20, 2024, 5:49 pm EDT
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Grayson Allen questionable to return

Suns sharpshooter Grayson Allen is questionable to return due to a sprained ankle. Considering how much trouble Phoenix is having offensively at the moment, that's a potentially big loss. The Suns are only 5-of-18 from deep so far.

April 20, 2024, 9:45 PM
Apr. 20, 2024, 5:45 pm EDT
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