The Pacers continue to look like an 8th seed instead of an #1 seed. Earlier in the season, everyone was so high on the Pacers because of their 40-12 start at All-Star Break, but since then they have went 16-14 and seem to have locker room issues. Who I am most disappointed with is Roy Hibbert, who has been pathetic this past month. Roy could only give 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 0 blocks. His counterpart, Pero Antic, who is basically unknown to average NBA fans, had the same stat line, which really makes Roy look bad, who is supposed to be one of the best centers in the league. The Hawks got a big game from their premier players Jeff Teague and Paul Milsap, both combined for 53 points. The Hawks have picked the right time to play their best basketball, now 9-3 in the month April(6-9 in the month of March). The Pacers are not going to come out of the East because they are the furthest thing away from being a team right now and it don't seem like they can get back to where they were at the All-Star Break. Hawks could easily go back to ATL with 2-0 lead.
It's crazy that just before the playoffs started, Skip Bayless said that Chris Paul wasn't a superstar and in the first game of the playoffs he misses two free throws with 11 seconds left in the game. Now if you want to crown CP3 for having a great stat line, be my guest, but the truth still stands that he choked at the line. A player of his caliber should not miss 2 free throws in the clutch portion of the game. This was a great win for the Warriors though, sneaking one out of LA. I don't like the Warriors chances just because they are without their big man, Andrew Bogut, and the Clippers depth I think is too much for the Warriors. I don't want to say they were lucky this game, but how many more games can they keep Blake Griffin, who only had 16 points and 3 rebounds, a non factor? If we're going to throw shade at CP3 then Blake deserves some too because he has to grab more than 3 rebounds against a smaller frontcourt. Game 2 will be interesting.
It's not fair for any team that has to deal with Kevin Durant. It's really hard to stop this kid and when the rest of the team is on fire, the Thunder look unbeatable. Russell had a double-double and Ibaka came through with 4 big blocks. But the player I think that really puts the Thunder over the hump is Caron Butler. Caron only scored 9 points in 31 minutes but he presence on the court provided a +18. Caron was the perfect pick up for the Thunder because he can score, play defense, and provides added veteran leadership to a young but talented team. When you look at the structure of the Thunder, it looks similar to what Chicago had during the Jordan era. Yea I said it.
Spurs are the perfect example of "Age aint nothing but a number". Tim Duncan continues to neglects his age and go for numbers, dropping 27 points in Game 1. The Mavericks actually had a 10 point lead with 7:45 left in the game, but exactly 3 minutes later it was tied at 81. The Spurs went on a 19-5 run in the final 7:45 of the game, which I'm sure killed the Mavs spirit. I said before the Mavs will need to play perfect in order to beat the Spurs but they do matchup with them well. Even though none of their starters scored more than 15 points, they were still in the game. Anytime Dirk and Monta both go 4-14 and you only lose by 5 points, you should like your chances for the rest of the series. Devin Harris was the leading scorer for the Mavs, scoring 19 points off the bench, which is wonderful, but in order to beat the Spurs, they are going to need Monta and Dirk to put up more buckets.
Paul Pierce is another one that neglects his old age. Nets took Game 1, in what some may say is an upset but I beg the differ, behind The Truth's 9 points in the final 3 minutes of the game. Pierce only had 6 points up to that point, scoreless in the 1st half, but just turned it on like how most great veterans do. The reason why I don't see this as an upset is because the Nets are much more experienced than the Raptors and more talented, even though the records might say other wise. While Pierce and Garnett was struggling, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams kept the Nets in it, combining for 48 points. When you look at this Nets roster, it's hard no to think they will make it out of the East, but it all depends on how Joe Johnson and Deron Williams will play. Yes KG and Pierce may seem to be the leaders of the team, but they are not there to carry the team but more so complement the team. It's up to JJ and D.Will to be franchise player and carry this team.
*sidenote: Shoutout to the Toronto fanbase for providing a great atmosphere for this game, definitely the best crowd of the postseason so far.
This game actually turned out better than what I thought it was. For majority of the game, the Bobcats were running with the Heat, and at some points was going bucket for bucket with them. Of course the Heat would turn it up in the 4th quarter, just too much firepower for the Bobcats who lack the offensive scoring to really compete with the Heat. Dwayne Wade played 32 minutes, dropping 23 points and shot 62% from field. Bronny shot well from behind the arc, going 4-8, and Chris Bosh provided some big buckets down the straight to seal the game. I wasn't too impress with the Heat this game, just because the Bobcats lack the firepower to match Bronny, Wade, and Bosh. Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson provided the scoring the Bobcats needed, also Gary Neal with 17 off the bench, but they still need one more offensive wing player that can create their own shot. At times during the game, players on the Bobcats stood around, waiting for Kemba to down something. And as much as I think the Heat will not be able to stop Kemba, he won't be enough to beat them but it will be fun watching him. Al Jefferson suffered a foot injury during the game, leaving the arena with a boot. I'm sure he won't sit out but luckily for his the series is spread out, next game on Wednesday then Saturday.
The Bulls are the 5th home team so far to lose game 1 this postseason, really showing how wide open these playoffs are. The Wizards used a dominant defensive 4th quarter to beat the Bulls, forcing a lot of bad shots and contesting everything. Usually the Bulls are the ones doing the smothering but today the Wizards beat them at their own game. Andre Miller provided some big minutes in the beginning of the 4th quarter, scoring 8 points in 6 minutes, and strapping down the Bulls leading scorer, D.J. Augustine. The matchup we will have to play close attention to is the battle in the paint. Nene and Marcin Gortat combined for 39 points and 21 rebounds, while Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Taj Gibson combined for 32 points and 25 boards. Two players out dueling three is always a plus, especially when it's your post players. I'm not counting the Bulls out but it will be hard for them to win this series if the Wizards continue to play stingy defense. The Wizards can score better and seem to be much more athletic and the Bulls was supposed to win the defensive battle but the Wiz proved to be better in that area too. Wall and Beal didn't have great shooting nights but how many times will that happen this series?
I said this would be the best series of the 1st round and Game 1 didn't disappoint, as it was the best game of the Weekend. First I would like to comment on how horrible the officiating was. Even though the Blazers won, they had to fight threw some bail outs that were granted to the Rockets in the 4th quarter, both Robin Lopez and Lamarcus Aldridge fouled out terrible calls, but I digress. The Blazers were down double digits for majority of the 4th quarter, as much as 13, until they went on a 22-12 run in the final 4 minutes of the game. The Blazers started to foul D.Howard but he was making his free throws so the "Hack-a-Howard" turned out to be a bad idea. What got the Blazers back in the game was Lamarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard who combined for 30 of the Blazers 33 4th quarter points. LA went complete bonkers, putting on a great performance in that final quarter, dominating whoever was guarding him in the post, something we should see Dwight doing, but once again, I digress. The Rockets two best players, Howard and Harden, had the numbers on paper but didn't past the eye test for me. I still don't see how Howard, who struggled to score against Robin Lopez, is the best center in the league and Harden still doesn't look like a franchise player to me. Last postseason, he folded in the clutch and he did it once again tonight. Combined they went 18-49 from the field, which may not have looked so bad if they won.