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Duke in the NBA: The playoffs have begun

Seth Curry has the hot shooting hand for Dallas, going 9-for-15 from three-point range in the first three games of the series.
Seth Curry has the hot shooting hand for Dallas, going 9-for-15 from three-point range in the first three games of the series.

The playoffs finally started this week in the Orlando bubble.

After the elimination of six teams at the end of the regular season, the 16 top-seeded ones began the 2020 NBA playoffs. Let’s take a look at how some former Blue Devils are doing in these heated games.

The battle of the 2s: Trent and Cook

After a series of spectacular performances in the bubble with the Portland Trail Blazers, Gary Trent Jr. made another significant contribution in Game 1 as he nailed a 3-pointer ​that gave the Trail Blazers a 98-93 lead with 1:15 left to play in regulation. Portland went on to win Game 1 against the Lakers 100-93 and despite Trent not having his best performance, going just 2-of-8 from the floor and 1-of-4 from 3-point range, the former Blue Devil was ready for the strategic plays needed to secure the team's win. Trent also contributed two rebounds in addition to his five points. On the other side of the floor, the Lakers' Quinn Cook saw less playing time than Trent but added in five points and three assists in Game 2. 

Rivers steps up     

With Houston’s Russell Westbrook being sidelined after suffering a quad injury, Austin Rivers saw a more crucial role in the team as he contributed 11 points, four rebounds and three assists in a 111-98 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 2. Despite struggling in Game 1 where he only shot 20 percent from the field, Rivers improved in Game 2 as both a perimeter defender and a playmaker. One of his highlight plays came in the first half when he drove right past Chris Paul and finished with an explosive right-handed dunk, seemingly inspired by Westbrook’s offensive play.

Tatum shines with defense and leadership     

After receiving three personal fouls in the first quarter of Game 3 against the Philadelphia 76ers, Jayson Tatum sat through the entire second quarter. He returned during the third and despite being somewhat inconsistent with only making six of his 19 field goals, Tatum overcame the adversity. He flexed his defensive capability, using it to make a crucial rejection of a shot from Sixers center Joel Embiid. His leadership, combined with his maturity, led to the 102-94 win. Tatum also contributed over 30 points for the wins in both Game 1 and Game 2 to lift the Celtics over the Sixers for a 3-0 series lead.

Curry makes it rain   

After the Dallas Mavericks ruled out Luka Doncic  in Game 3 due to an ankle sprain, Seth Curry stepped up and scored 22 points in 31 minutes of action. Despite losing 122-130 to the Los Angeles Clippers, Curry shot 81.8 percent from the field and made all four of his 3-point attempts.

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