LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – First it was Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, unable to call upon what was one of the best defenses in the league.
Then came LeBron James and the Lakers, clanging 3-pointers off the rim to provide a steady sound in a mostly empty gym.
These NBA playoffs already promised to be the most challenging yet. They got a little tougher Tuesday for the league's top teams.
Milwaukee and Los Angeles lost their playoff openers, the first time both conference No. 1 seeds have been beaten by the No. 8s to start their postseasons since 2003.
So good for most of the season, the top seeds are having trouble in the bubble.
There's no home-court advantage to lose in this postseason at Walt Disney World, making it easier not to panic in what would normally be a tougher predicament.
“No frustration because the game is the game and we came in with a mindset to win. We didn’t take care of business, but we’ve got another opportunity on Thursday to even the series and that’s my only mindset,” James said.
The Lakers knew they were in against a tougher-than-usual No. 8 seed in the Portland Trail Blazers, who came back from the coronavirus-caused suspension of the season healthy and then played their way into the postseason by winning a play-in series.