Miami made a statement in their first playoff game as they will attempt to defend their title.
All eight opening-round series of this year's NBA playoffs began this past weekend, and already there have been several takeaways from each matchup. The first weekend featured a buzzer-beater, a couple of close games and a handful of blowouts.
Every home team (higher seed) won Game 1 over the weekend, but will any Game 2 be different?
Here's a rundown of what this past weekend's play has taught us so far about this postseason.
Carmelo Anthony finished the regular season red hot, as he surpassed Kevin Durant on his way to his first NBA scoring title. He picked up right where he left off to start the playoffs, scoring 36 points in a win against the Boston Celtics.
'Melo has proven he can score, but is it enough to carry the Knicks? Anthony and this year's Sixth Man of the Year Award winner (via nytimes.com), J.R. Smith, had to provide most of the scoring, and the Boston Celtics defense began to figure them out. Anthony did not have an assist through the first three quarters.
There is a lot of pressure on Anthony to perform well and take this Knicks team to new heights this postseason, and he stepped up to the challenge in a big way in Game 1.
Expect 'Melo to continue his scoring tear throughout the postseason.
The Celtics have been less than spectacular this season, but they are in the postseason now and that's all that matters. They came up short in Game 1 versus New York, but they gave the Knicks all they could handle.
Doc Rivers' crew has plenty of playoff experience and is primed to pull off an upset. If Jeff Green can continue to play exceedingly well (he scored 26 points in Game 1), then the Knicks should be wary of this veteran Boston squad.
Amidst the Boston Marathon catastrophe, the energy in the TD Garden in Boston will be even more hectic than usual, which is a bad omen for the Knicks. The Knicks cannot afford to slip at home, or 'Melo and Co. could be heading home early.
The Nuggets have not been as explosive as they would have been had they had a healthy Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. But that doesn't mean they won't compete. Even without some of these stars, the depth of the Nuggets squad has proven that it can carry the team.
Veteran guard Andre Miller was the hero in Game 1, with 28 points and the go-ahead basket with under two seconds remaining. It was a nailbiter in the Mile High City, but the Nuggets came away with a huge Game 1 victory.
In Game 1, it was Andre Miller, but for the rest of the series, it might be any one of a handful of players who will step up in the clutch and keep the Nuggets' postseason aspirations alive.
The Warriors lost a heartbreaker in Denver after Andre Miller hit the game-winning layup to end Game 1. The Warriors kept pace with the highest-scoring team in the league until the very bitter end.
The Game 1 loss may not even be the worst news for the Warriors. All-Star David Lee will miss the rest of the playoffs with a torn hip flexor, according to ESPN.com.
The Warriors hung tough with the Nuggets despite an unusually poor shooting performance for Stephen Curry, and this series looked like it could have been a thriller. However, with Lee's injury, it is unlikely that the Warriors will be able to challenge Denver as well as they did in Game 1.
In their first playoff game since moving to Brooklyn, the Nets showed up big with a convincing win, 106-89.
With stellar games from their two main stars, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, the Nets ran the injury-plagued Bulls right out of the Barclays Center.
In what appeared to be an evenly matched series, the Nets showed no mercy against Chicago in Game 1. Brooklyn set the tone in the first quarter, and the Bulls never gathered enough momentum to make a comeback.
It seems the Nets took advantage of the Bulls' injuries. Despite the decisive win, the Nets are still not considered an Eastern Conference powerhouse, or even a dark horse, but they are off to a fantastic start.
Let's face it, Chicago's injuries are going to hold this team back. If the Bulls trotted out fully healthy roster, they could compete with any team in the NBA, but that is not the case.
With Rose still out from that ACL tear, and Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich still banged up, the Bulls do not have a good chance at upsetting Brooklyn. There are just not enough talented players on the roster to step up and fill those roles.
The Bulls always play good defense, but it will not be enough to advance far in the playoffs.
The future for the Bulls is bright if they can get healthy in the offseason, but for now, there postseason outlook is gloomy.
The Clippers and Grizzlies squared off in an intense four- vs. five-seed matchup Saturday. The game was fairly close until the Clippers pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Chris Paul led the charge with 23 points, seven assists and a couple of steals. Los Angeles had seven different players in double figures, dropping 112 points on the league's stingiest defense and delivering the first blow of the series with a 21-point Game 1 victory.
Still, this series is far from over, and the Clips should by no means take this Memphis team lightly heading into Game 2.
The Grizzlies could not keep up with the Clippers in Game 1. Los Angeles rang up the scoreboard, which is a rare feat against this Memphis defense.
The Grizzlies gave up an average of only 89 points per game, best in the league, yet they let the Clippers run all over them, allowing 112 points. The Grizzlies must settle down and defend against this upbeat Clippers team.
The Grizzlies suffered the first blow, but they are far from defeated in this series. If Memphis can figure out a way to slow down the game and contain Chris Paul, they can answer back in Game 2.
The Pacers displayed the best of both worlds in their Game 1 win over the Hawks. Indiana played well, as usual, on the defensive end, but they also were firing on all cylinders offensively.
Six different Pacers scored in double figures, but Paul George led the way. His 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists were good for a triple-double, plus he added on a steal and a block.
As long as George plays like this, the Pacers should do just fine without Danny Granger. Hawks beware, the Pacers are poised for a deep postseason run.
The Atlanta Hawks find themselves with a tough matchup against the Indiana Pacers, and it showed in Game 1. The Hawks could not hang with the Pacers in a 107-90 loss.
More bad news for Atlanta, Josh Smith is questionable for Game 2 with a sprained ankle. Depending on the severity of the sprain, Smith may have played his last game as a Hawk.
If the Pacers continue to dominate on both ends of the floor, the Hawks may be heading home early. Atlanta needs some big performances from their role players if they want to stay alive in the playoffs much longer.
Even though the Spurs coughed up the No. 1 seed to OKC, they are still a powerhouse. The Spurs' Big Three (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili) are still around and as good as ever.
The Spurs won Game 1 easily over the Lakers, 90-79. Despite a nagging hamstring injury, Ginobili poured in 18 points in just 19 minutes. Duncan finished the game with a double-double (17 points and 10 rebounds) and Parker added in 18 points and eight assists.
Every year, people try to count out San Antonio because they are too old. Yet year in and year out the Spurs prove that they are a top team in the NBA. If the team's core group continues to execute Coach Pop's system, the Spurs should hang around deep into the postseason.
Kobe's tweets just weren't enough, as the Lakers fell feebly to the mighty San Antonio Spurs in Game 1.
Dwight Howard played a good game, racking up 20 points and 15 boards, but he didn't have much help. Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Steve Blake shot poorly from the field (a combined 18-of-44), and no one else scored in double figures.
The Lakers only scored 79 points in Game 1, well short of their regular season average just over 102 points per game. L.A. must find other ways to score throughout this series because Bryant isn't walking through that door.
Not to mention, they give up a woeful 101 points per game (stats from ESPN.com).
The defending champs are back at it again. LeBron James and Co. cruised past the eighth seeded Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1, proving that last year was certainly not a fluke (in case anyone thought it was).
The King put up 27 points, along with 10 boards and eight assists. Ray Allen came off the bench and added 20 points of his own.
Granted, the Bucks are not exactly the best competition (they are the only team under .500 to make the playoffs). However, the Heat seemed to be clicking both offensively and defensively and appear poised to make another title run.
Even though the Bucks played admirably in the first half of Game 1 against Miami, it is clear that they are the weakest link in this year's playoffs. Residing in the weaker Eastern Conference, Milwaukee squeaked into the postseason despite finishing the regular season below .500.
The dynamic backcourt duo of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings played very well, scoring 26 points and 22 points, respectively. However, no one else wearing green and red scored more than six points.
If Milwaukee wants to win this series—or even a game—they will need much better scoring outputs from someone else on the roster besides Ellis or Jennings. Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, or J.J. Redick must have better performances for Milwaukee to even have a prayer.
In James Harden's big postseason return to Oklahoma City, the Thunder steamrolled the Rockets in a Game 1 blowout, 120-91. The 29-point victory tied the franchise's largest margin of victory in a postseason game.
The Thunder's Big Three of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka stole the show. The Rockets hung around for a little while, but the Thunder closed the first half on a huge run and never looked back.
OKC is ready to reclaim the Western Conference crown. They may not have James Harden anymore, but they still have the tremendous depth and athleticism that will take them back to the NBA Finals.
TNT Analyst Charles Barkley didn't seem to think the Rockets were all that young, but the first five minutes of Game 1 surely changed his mind. The Rockets had that deer-in-the-headlights look at the start of the game and found themselves down early.
They battled back in the second quarter, but after a huge OKC run to end the first half, Houston never clawed its way back. Harden scored 20 points, but got little help from anyone else.
According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, only four of the Rockets' regular rotation players had ever played in a postseason game before this series. The inexperience of Houston's roster was very evident, and the Rockets may not have a chance to settle down before OKC wins the series.