NBA Playoffs 2013: Most Impressive Starts to the Postseason

Tim KeeneyContributor IApril 22, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 21:  Tyler Hansbrough #50 of the Indiana Pacers grabs a rebound against the Atlanta Hawks during Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 21, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Many fans who were likely turned off by the mostly lopsided opening action of the NBA playoffs missed several extraordinary team performances. 

That list undoubtedly must include the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, but for now, we're not concerned with the top seeds who were expected to roll in their openers.

Instead, we're going to focus on teams that impressed most with relativity to their expected outcomes.

Note: All stats come from, unless noted otherwise.



Indiana Pacers

We know the Pacers—who entered the playoffs as the most efficient defensive team in the NBA—can frustrate opponents on one side of the court, but their ability to put the ball in the peach basket at an efficient rate has remained a gargantuan question mark.

In Game 1, Frank Vogel's squad momentarily put that question to rest with a deafening offensive performance. 

They didn't shoot the ball overwhelmingly well—44.9 percent from the field with an effective field-goal percentage of 49.4—but they controlled their own glass (36.6 offensive rebounding percentage), moved the ball well (23 assists) and got to the free-throw line (30-of-34 from the stripe).

Paul George's line was essentially a microcosm of the Pacers' performance. He shot just 3-of-13 from the field, but still managed 23 points to highlight his atypical triple-double.  

In the end, every Pacer starter scored in double figures as the team finished with a sumptuous offensive rating of 116.4 against a top-10 defensive team in the Atlanta Hawks.

Should they continue to click on offense like that, the Pacers will be problematic for any opponent. 



Brooklyn Nets

When Derrick Rose is out, and both Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are limited, the Brooklyn Nets' job admittedly becomes much easier.

But that shouldn't take away from their impressive 106-89 win in Game 1, which was highlighted by a dazzling offensive performance.

Led by Deron Williams' 22 points and seven assists, Brooklyn shot a staggering 55.8 percent from the field against one of the league's best defenses. It hit six of its 14 three-point attempts, had 18 assists to just eight turnovers and scored 106 points for a dominant offensive rating of 122.6.

The defense, which held Chicago to a meager 35 points at halftime, wasn't so bad, either.



Los Angeles Clippers

Much like the first two teams on this list, the Clippers put forth an efficient offensive performance.

Unlike the other two, though, they did it against an elite defense team in Memphis, which finished second in the NBA in defensive rating and boasts the likely defensive player of the year in Marc Gasol.

Not only did the Clips shoot 55.4 percent from the field, but they pulled down a ridiculous 42.4 percent of their misses—and even more impressively, many of those offensive 'boards came via their perimeter players. 

Unsurprisingly, making most of your shots and rebounding the ones you do miss tends to result in a pretty good offensive day. The Clips finished with 112 points and an offensive rating of 129.3, which was by far the best of the postseason's early action. 

The Grizzlies are legit, and the Clippers made them look like D-Leaguers. That should worry the rest of the conference.