The first round of the NBA playoffs are wrapping up this week. Despite early shocks to some of the major contenders, the first round has gone as expected. The Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics completed their 4–0 sweeps in the first round and will now prepare to meet in the second. The Houston Rockets should have closed out the Utah Jazz in similar fashion, but lost game four after going 0-for-11 from three in the fourth quarter. And the Golden State Warriors look like their old selves after Kevin Durant decided to play a little harder.
Let’s take a look at some Texas alumni who find themselves heading home at the conclusion of the first round.
After doing the impossible and beating the two-seed Toronto Raptors at home on opening day of the NBA playoffs, the Orlando Magic showed their true colors in the subsequent games of the series. The Magic lost the next four games in a row and were eliminated from the playoffs. They lost these games by an average of nearly 19 points, and were outscored by 75 points over the same span.
Former Longhorn D.J. Augustin, the driving force behind Orlando’s fantastic game one, returned to form. Augustin’s averages over his 11-year NBA career are 9.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists on 41.3% from the field and 38.1% from three. Augustin’s averages against the Raptors in games two through five were 9.8 points, 1.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists on 38.5% from the field and 27.1% from three. Sound familiar?
Augustin still has one year left on the four-year deal he signed with the Orlando back in 2016. The Magic will hope to play Markelle Fultz next season after trading for him back in February, and Augustin could return to a more comfortable role of backup pointguard next year when Fultz returns after a shoulder injury. In any case, the Magic should be congratulated for making the playoffs for the first time since Dwight Howard left, and hopefully they can carry that success forward next season.
Texas alum Jarrett Allen celebrated his birthday on Sunday. The Philadelphia 76ers decided the best gift they could give the young big man was an early vacation, and they successfully delivered that gift on Tuesday evening.
The Brooklyn Nets, much like the Magic, shocked the basketball world after beating their higher-seeded rival in game one of their respective series. Also like the Magic, the Nets would go on to lose the next four games by an average of 16 points and were outscored by 64 in the same span.
Allen averaged 13.3 points and 7.3 rebounds on 67.2% shooting from the field. But Allen’s biggest contribution came on the defensive end, where he guarded superstar center Joel Embiid. Embiid dominated Allen, though, despite playing through injuries, and there wasn’t much Allen could do about it. Allen also got fouled pretty hard on a couple plays, including a swinging elbow to the side of his face that many thought should have gotten Embiid ejected.
Allen still has a long career ahead of him, so it’ll be interesting to see how he and the Nets come back next season.