NBA playoffs 2022: The most important takeaways starting Day 1

The 2022 NBA playoffsWe are here! After an extraordinary regular season that featured some of the closest races in recent history, Saturday marks the start of what each team hopes will be a two month march to the NBA championship.

The Western Conference Donovan MitchellThe No. The No. 5 seed Utah JazzTake on the No. 4 Dallas MavericksWho is without a franchise superstar? Luka DoncicWith a left strained calf, he was ruled out of Saturday's Game 1 game. There is significant concern as to Doncic's availabilitySources also confirmed that Game 2 would be broadcast by ESPN.

The No. The No. 7 seed Minnesota TimberwolvesLos Angeles Clippers defeated by, in the No. 7-No. 8 play in game, are in Memphis face-to-face Ja MorantAnd the No. The No. 2 seed Grizzlies finished this season with the league's second best record, 56-26. In the final game, the Nikola JokicThis is the No. The No. 6 seed Denver NuggetsAre in San Francisco to meet a No. 3 seed Golden State WarriorsThe team hopes to recapture its dynastic past.

The No. 5 seed Toronto RaptorsFace Joel Embiid, James HardenAnd the No. and the No. Philadelphia 76ersWithout a defensive star, who would be? Matisse ThybulleFor all three possible games in Toronto

Our NBA experts will be watching everything. These are the key takeaways from the four games that comprise Day One of the playoff action.

More: Everything you need to know about the 16 teams still standing

No. 5 Utah Jazz vs. No. 4 Dallas Mavericks

It should not be surprising that the Mavericks offense struggled while Luka Doncic, an injured star, watched from the bench in a hoodie.

Doncic munching popcorn during games will make it difficult for the Mavericks to reach the second round. Dallas' chances of winning the playoffs depend on Doncic, their perennial MVP candidate, putting on a show. This is unlikely to happen Monday night for Game 2. Doncic and the Mavs medical staff are trying to speed up the healing process for his left calf strain. Jason Kidd, Dallas coach, calls Doncic “day-to-day,” but the Maves would be thrilled if Doncic is ready to return when the series shifts from Dallas to Salt Lake City.

In their 99-93 Game 1 defeat, the Mavericks showed that they can play in the mud against a team known for giving up on them. Utah's offense was terrible. Dallas stopped the NBA's top-ranked offense, Utah, from getting clean 3-point looks. Rudy GobertIt's quite an achievement to not have both weapons Donovan Mitchell, All Star guard, scored 32 points on 10-of-29 shots.

Predictably, the Mavericks' problem was that their offense was even worse. For the second consecutive season, Doncic was the NBA's most used player. He's an expert at solving defenses, and a threat at scoring at all three levels. Doncic also excels at setting up teammates for dunks or 3s. His teammates are role players that excel in supporting him but don't have the ability to generate offense as much, with Gobert closing down the paint.

When a star is healthy, it's difficult enough to win the NBA playoffs. — Tim MacMahon

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