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NBA Playoffs 2024: Round 1 Awkward Moments

Tyronn Lue, NBA
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It must be weird facing your former team. It is, without a doubt, an awkward feeling when past teammates become your enemies. How would a player or coach deal with it? Does it add any more pressure? We can only guess, but we know that they will do anything to eliminate the team they used to play for.

On that note, here were some of the awkward scenes from the first round of this year’s NBA Playoffs.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers

At least three players and one coach faced their former teams in this series. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and DeAndre Jordan helped eliminate the Lakers, a squad they used to play for. The others would be L.A.’s Jarred Vanderbilt and now former coach Darvin Ham, who made stops in Denver during their playing careers. The feeling must be satisfying for Caldwell-Pope and Jordan since they already beat the Lakers two postseasons in a row.

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Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Phoenix Suns

The Suns had Josh Okogie and Thaddeus Young in their rotation this season. These two once played for the Timberwolves while TJ Warren, a former Sun, is now with Minnesota. People, however, didn’t pay as much attention to them because there were bigger names to watch out for in the series, namely Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal going against Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Rudy Gobert.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Kenrich Williams started his career as a Pelican before joining the Thunder. Now the shooting guard, and sometimes small forward, is a key contributor to a quickly rising Oklahoma team. Unfortunately, he may mostly be known now for something he didn’t accomplish. Look at replays of the shot LeBron James hit to overtake Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time scoring list. Williams was guarding James in that historic moment.

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Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat

Josh Richardson was a Celtic for half a season before being traded away multiple times. He had stops in San Antonio and New Orleans before ultimately finding his way to Miami. Season-ending surgery on his shoulder kept him away from action, and without Jimmy Butler, the Heat had no chance at all and are now out of the playoffs.

New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Shake Milton and Alec Burks were members of the Sixers a few years ago. Now, they are part of a Knicks team that had to face Philadelphia in the first round. It took six games, but the Knicks finally put the Sixers away in a back-and-forth, tough series. All the big plays, controversial errors from the referees, and how the New York crowd occupied Philadelphia’s home arena will be the everlasting highlights from this one.

Coaching Carousel

At least four coaches had to face their former employers. Jamahl Mosley of the Orlando Magic was once an assistant for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Clippers Head Coach Tyronn Lue and Assistant Coach Jared Dudley were locked in on that Clippers-Mavericks series since Lue used to play for Dallas, while Dudley is a former Clipper. Indiana Pacers Assistant Coach Jim Boylen just had his squad beat the Milwaukee Bucks. Boylen was Milwaukee’s assistant at one point in time.


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