Looking at top highlights from first round

2022 NBA Playoffs: Looking at top highlights from the first round originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The highlights have been nonstop in the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

Less than one week into the postseason, there have already been a handful of iconic plays. Between game-winners, poster dunks and sideline celebrations, every night of the first round has provided a highlight that will be played back for years to come.

Lucky for basketball fans, the action is just getting started. Here’s a running list of the best highlights from each night of the 2022 NBA Playoffs so far:

Morant hit the game-winning layup to give the Grizzlies a Game 5 win over the Timberwolves, but the play that started Memphis’ comeback was his massive poster dunk in the final seconds of the third quarter. Minnesota guard Malik Beasley tried to draw the charge, but he ended up being on the wrong side of the poster.

The Timberwolves had a 13-point lead at that point, their largest of the game, but failed to hold onto it. It marked the second time in just two games that Minnesota could not finish off Memphis despite having a double-digit lead. Now Morant and the Grizzlies need one more win to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.

Down 3-0 in the series, the Nets were down to their last chance on Monday. Brooklyn entered the fourth quarter down by 12, but they made a run as Jayson Tatum fouled out in the final minutes. With 22 seconds to play and the lead down to three, Kevin Durant stepped to the line. He buried the first, but missed the second. Instead of taking it slow, the Celtics raced up the court and Al Horford sealed the game with a put-back layup with 13.7 seconds left.

The teams added a few more points in the final seconds, but Horford’s bucket essentially ended it. Boston’s 116-112 victory was the culmination of a 4-0 series sweep over former Celtic Kyrie Irving. The Celtics will get a few days of rest as the Bucks and Bulls finish their series.

April 24: Herb Jones puts on a defensive clinic vs. Suns

The Pelicans tied up the first-round series against the Suns, and a 2021 second-round rookie was behind the momentum shift. Herbert Jones put on a defensive highlight reel all throughout Game 4, especially with some ridiculous blocks from the 3-point line in the second half. This was one of Jones’ three blocks on the night as the Pelicans grabbed a dominant 118-103 win.

The series now heads back to Phoenix for Game 5, but the Suns are not expected to have star guard Devin Booker available, putting more pressure on Chris Paul and company to step up and prove why they’re the No. 1 seed. But Jones, along with undrafted rookie Jose Alvarado, are bringing the heat and intensity on every single play and aren’t going down without a fight.

All hope seemed lost for the Utah Jazz in Game 4 of their first-round series with the Dallas Mavericks. Down by four in the final minute and staring at a 3-1 series deficit, Utah’s season was essentially on the brink. Then, the Jazz closed the game on a 5-0 run to even the series at two.

First it was a Donovan Mitchell three-point play with 31.2 seconds remaining to cut the Dallas lead to one. After the Mavericks’ Dwight Powell missed two free throws, Mitchell found Rudy Gobert for an alley-oop slam with 11 seconds to go to take a 100-99 lead. The Jazz sealed the deal with one more stop, and now they are heading back to Dallas with a new lease on life.

April 22: Thanasis Antetokounmpo puts the Bulls to bed

The Milwaukee Bucks had no problem dispatching the Chicago Bulls on the road in Game 3. With a well-rounded offensive effort and stifling defense, the Bucks left United Center with an easy 111-81 victory over the Bulls.

The game was well in hand throughout the fourth quarter, and the Bucks’ bench got extended minutes to close the contest. Thanasis Antetokounmpo, older brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo, put an exclamation point on the victory with a huge poster slam in the final minutes.

April 21: Spencer Dinwiddie drops the hammer on Rudy Gobert

Spencer Dinwiddie saw an open lane to the basket with one obstacle in his way: a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. And it didn’t matter.

The Mavericks guard threw down an emphatic slam on the Jazz center in Game 3 of the Dallas-Utah series. Even without Luka Doncic, Dallas built a 2-1 series lead behind 20 points from Dinwiddie and 31 from Jalen Brunson.

April 20: Joel Embiid gets some revenge on the Raptors

Aiming at the same rim where Kawhi Leonard’s unforgettable Game 7 shot bounced and dropped in to send the Raptors past the Sixers in the 2019 playoffs, Joel Embiid needed nothing but net to deliver a game-winner of his own on Wednesday.

With the Sixers and Raptors tied at 101 with 2.6 seconds remaining in overtime and 0.9 seconds on the shot clock, the MVP finalist hit a turnaround 3-pointer to silence the Scotiabank Arena crowd. The play came after a disjointed end to regulation and an even more confounding possession in OT, one that head coach Doc Rivers was able to salvage with a timeout.

Embiid’s dagger gave him 33 points for the Game 3 victory and put Philadelphia on the brink of a first-round sweep.

April 19: Devin Booker fist bumps a baby

Some playoff moments are ones that we’ll never forget. In Game 2 between the Suns and Pelicans, a baby had one that they will probably never remember.

Devin Booker torched the Pelicans for 16 points in the first quarter and capped it off with a fadeaway, baseline jumper in the final second. From the sideline floor, Booker turned to his left and fist bumped a baby to celebrate the insane shot.

April 18: Maxi Kleber lights up the Jazz

With no Luka Doncic and the potential to go down 2-0 at home, Jalen Brunson and Maxi Kleber saved the day for the Mavericks in Game 2 against the Jazz.

Brunson scored a career-high 41 points to carry the scoring load, while Kleber was on fire from outside the arc. The German forward hit 8 3-pointers off the bench, including back-to-back triples that gave the Mavs a late lead that they would not relinquish.

April 17: Celtics win thanks to Jayson Tatum’s spin

In an afternoon filled with boos, flipped birds and plenty of buckets, Jayson Tatum provided the most iconic moment from a Game 1 instant classic between the Nets and Celtics.

Down one point in the final minute, Boston got its biggest stop of the game by stymying Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Instead of calling a timeout, the Celtics moved the ball up the floor. Jaylen Brown passed to Marcus Smart, who up-faked and found a cutting Tatum dashing towards the basket. The 24-year-old forward corralled the pass, spun around Irving and hit a layup at the buzzer to give the Celtics a 1-0 series advantage.

April 16: Karl-Anthony Towns dunks all over Jaren Jackson Jr.

Jaren Jackson Jr. will likely end up on a 2021-22 NBA All-Defensive Team, but he may also end up on some posters in the Twin Cities.

Karl-Anthony Towns detonated on Jackson in the third quarter of Game 1 between the Timberwolves and Grizzlies. As an added bonus for Towns and Minnesota, Jackson picked up a technical foul for shoving Jaden McDaniels after the play.

Minnesota pulled away in the fourth quarter, winning 130-117 and earning a 1-0 lead in the series.

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