NBA Playoffs: Booker injury derails Suns, Heat and Grizzlies come out on top

Phoenix, Arizona - The Phoenix Suns lost Devin Booker to a hamstring injury as they were stunned 125-114 by the New Orleans Pelicans, who squared up their first-round NBA Playoffs series on Tuesday.

The Pelicans' Brandon Ingram led the line with 37 points.
The Pelicans' Brandon Ingram led the line with 37 points.  © Collage: USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Ingram scored 37 points, including 26 in the second half, with 11 rebounds and nine assists, while CJ McCollum added 23 points, including six three-pointers.

But the hamstring injury to Suns All-Star guard Booker was the major talking point, leaving the Western Conference's top seed severely weakened if he is out for an extended period.

The Suns were leading 61-56 at half-time with Booker having scored 31 first-half points, including shooting seven-of-11 from three-point range, before he left the game in the third quarter and did not return.

NBA legend Matt Barnes admits Ime Udoka ordeal is "100 times uglier than any of us thought"
NBA NBA legend Matt Barnes admits Ime Udoka ordeal is "100 times uglier than any of us thought"

Chris Paul could not lift the Suns in Booker's absence, finishing with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Mikal Bridges added 19 points.

The series heads to New Orleans for Game 3 on Friday.

Heat stay cool to increase lead

Jimmy Butler (r.) scored a mammoth 45 points against the Hawks.
Jimmy Butler (r.) scored a mammoth 45 points against the Hawks.  © USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler scored 45 points with 15-of-25 shooting from the field as the Miami Heat claimed a 2-0 lead in their series against the Atlanta Hawks with a 115-105 win.

The Heat went on an 11-0 run IN the third quarter to open up the game-winning lead led by Butler while Tyler Herro and Max Strus contributed well, grabbing 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Trae Young, coming off a playoff career-low display, managed 25 points for the Hawks with Bogdan Bogdanović landing five triples in his 29-point haul.

Ben Simmons is back in action after Brooklyn Nets preseason debut
NBA Ben Simmons is back in action after Brooklyn Nets preseason debut

Atlanta will host Game 3 as the Hawks hope to turn the tide on Friday.

Grizzlies bite back against Timberwolves

Ja Morant (r.) had to go off at one point during the Grizzlies' win over the Wolves, but he returned to finish the job.
Ja Morant (r.) had to go off at one point during the Grizzlies' win over the Wolves, but he returned to finish the job.  © USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies overcame a Ja Morant injury scare as they levelled their series against the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 124-96 victory.

Morant left the court in the third quarter after copping a knee to his left leg but returned, finishing with 23 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists. That was Morant's third career playoffs double-double.

The victory was the Grizzlies' largest in their franchise playoff history, despite Anthony Edwards' best efforts with 20 points and six rebounds for the Timberwolves.

Just to add in an extra bit of spice to the series, the fathers of Morant and Karl-Anthony Towers hilariously sparred throughout the evening.

Game 3 is on Thursday from Minneapolis.

Cover photo: Collage: USA TODAY Sports

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