For the last half-decade, Philadelphia's fueled its process with top-three picks while Brooklyn scrounged and scraped for a way out of asset purgatory.
In stunning fashion, the Nets 'assortment of underrated role players won over the Sixers' star-studded lineup in the 2019 opener playoffs, stealing Game 1 and Philadelphia's homecourt advantage in the process.
Brooklyn's most iconic train outcasts led the way: D'Angelo Russell, the once-traded No. 2 overall pick, and Caris LeVert, acquired two weeks after drafted a gamble as a series of not-yet-rehabilitated legurs significantly dropped his stock. The duo finished with 49 total points – more than any three Jimmy Butler (36 points).
The victory was symbolic of Brooklyn's season – unrelenting and full of feel-good chemistry.
Philadelphia, who suffered a nightmarish outing from everyone save No. 23. Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick combined for just 18 points. Joel Embiid's 22 cam on 5-for-15 shooting. Even with their playoff opener, they are more concerned with their teammates than they are faring.
By the end of the night, Sixers fans could be heard. Simmons did not mince words on the subject after the game.
"If you're going to boo, stay on that side," Simmons warned.
The Nets will do everything they can to keep them there. Brooklyn's effort (23 second-chance points) and accuracy (11-for-26 from 3) made for a sound recipe against this Sixers team. And unlike Philadelphia, the Nets' stars got plenty of help.
For Philadelphia, the question is already looming heading into Game 2: Can they still trust "The Process"?
The Sixers clearly thought they would hold their home. Unfortunately, those plans – and the accompanying celebration – went unfulfilled.
The Sixers' playoff balloons being hauled away in a giant trash bin feels pretty accurate to describe what we saw today. pic.twitter.com/mPGj5YxEqm
– Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 14, 2019
Ever since he was drafted No. 9 overall in 2008, DJ Augustine has been the point guard just enough to get along, but not good enough to keep. Orlando is his eighth NBA stop, the longest one since he left Charlotte in 2012. He entered this season as Magic full-time starter … because there was no one else.
But something funny happened in Orlando's opener playoff at second-seeded Toronto. Down the stretch, the Magic organically seemed to realize that Augustin (along with Raptor Terrence Ross) was one of their only players with significant postseason experience and confidence. Those peaked with 4.2 seconds left, when Augustin drilled the game-winning 3 in Orlando's shocking 104-101 Game 1 victory.
Augustin was not the only castoff point guard to prove himself on the big stage. Kerry Rookie of the Year and thrice-traded Michael Carter-Williams was solid off the bench (10 points, five rebounds, two assists), even if the outing was marred by an errant Kyle Lowry arm.
Game 1 curse?
At this point, it's too much to ignore. Kyle Lowry just is not happy when a playoff series tips off. The five-time All-Star Missed all seven of his shots in Saturday's loss, finishing with zero points.
Lowry is now averaging 9.7 points, 6.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 32.5-percent shooting and 18.6 percent from beyond the arc across 12 career Game 1s.
White takes flight
Maybe LeBron should give Derrick White a call …
White was a lot more than a four-star highlight, serving as one of the few powerful sources of offense in their Game 1 upset at second-seeded Denver. He is most recognized for his defense, and he is well known for his reputation with the game-clinching steal in the final seconds.
Pat and Kevin
It's more like a throwback than a budding playoff rivalry, but Beverley's physicality meeting is dominated by some memorable photos and a double-ejection before the night was over.