8 NBA Teams Playing with the Most Energy This Postseason
Week one of the 2014 NBA playoffs is complete and there has been no shortage of excitement from basketball's most talented teams.
While many questions linger, like whether or not top seeds like the Oklahoma City, Indiana and Houston can survive the first round, energy-filled rosters like Golden State, Memphis and Portland have surprised the basketball world by supplying some incredibly passionate entertainment for hoop fans.
Of the 16 talented NBA rosters to make the playoffs, here are the eight NBA teams playing with the most energy this postseason.
Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said it best when he referred to his team as a "band of brothers."
This year's Raptors squad took the Eastern Conference's No. 3 seed and posted a positive winning percentage for the first time since finishing the 2007-08 season at 41-41.
Advancing from the first round will be no easy task for Toronto, as the Raptors face a competitive Brooklyn team that sets up one of the most perfect matchups the playoffs have to offer. The two talented squads split the season series by winning two games each, however the most important note from the four-game regular-season series is that neither team won a game by more than four points.
NBA fans around the country can only hope this series goes seven games.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma took Game 1 with ease behind 33 points from Durant and another 23 from Westbrook. However, the Thunder have dropped the last two games to a well-rounded Memphis Grizzlies squad and currently trail the series 2-1.
Both of their losses came in overtime and were certainly not the result of poor play from Durant or Westbrook. The two have dominated the first three games of the series, with Westbrook scoring 23, 29 and 30 and Durant recording 33, 36 and 30 points, respectively.
Though they eventually lost the game, Kevin Durant sent Game 2 into overtime with one of the most exciting plays in recent postseason history. Adrenaline and energy for days.
No surprise here—the well-oiled basketball machine known as the Miami Heat continue to roll through any opponent with some of the most exciting basketball in the league.
Miami has won the Eastern Conference each of the last three years and is currently on a perfect path to repeat that feat again in 2014. While LeBron dominates any and all opponents (even those who throw an elbow to his throat), the confident bravado in his team's style of play is what is most interesting.
They are the team to beat in the NBA and they absolutely know it.
James, armed with back-to-back NBA titles and back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards in the regular season and NBA Finals, is sure to lead Miami's cruise ship back to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors have seemingly played every game of the 2013-14 season with incredible energy and excitement (save Game 2 of the series against Los Angeles, of course).
The Warriors finished the season as the West's sixth-best team and landed a first-round matchup against the rival Los Angeles Clippers.
Behind the silky smooth shooting of the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors continue to try and outshoot the Clippers in what is the most exciting series matchup in the first round of the playoffs. Although down 2-1 in the best of seven, the energy of Golden State is undeniable, especially playing in front of the raucous home crowd that fills "Roaracle."
The 2013-14 Memphis Grizzlies have the potential to shock the basketball world.
Built with a well-rounded starting lineup, Memphis stormed into the playoffs poised to upset either San Antonio or Oklahoma City in the first round.
After decidedly dropping game one in Oklahoma City, Memphis rallied behind dominant play of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley to take a 2-1 series lead over Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder.
Though both Grizzlies wins have come in overtime, Memphis is still in a very promising position to upset Oklahoma City and make a run similar to last year when it got to the Western Conference Finals.
Los Angeles Clippers
There is no doubt that the league's No. 1 scoring offense (107.9 points per game) brings incredible energy each and every night come playoff time. The Clippers are led by one of the most lethal guard-forward combos in recent NBA history, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Escaping the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs will be no easy task (despite every ESPN "expert" picking Los Angeles to advance), as the Clippers have been matched up against the hated Golden State Warriors.
The rivalry between Golden State and the Clippers has been very well documented, however the Warriors are without center Andrew Bogut for the playoffs. So there is no question that this is Los Angeles' series to lose.
Portland Trail Blazers
"Rip City" finished the 2013-14 regular season with the exact same record as their first-round playoff opponent, the Houston Rockets (54-28)—a team that is led by world-class talent such as Dwight Howard and James Harden.
The Blazers' two playoff victories are thanks to unmatched dominance from LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished Game 1 with 46 points and 18 rebounds, before adding 43 points and eight rebounds in Game 2.
The Washington Wizards are definitely the most shocking team on this list. It wasn't long ago one of ESPN's most popular radio shows had a segment titled Wizards Daily—a tongue-in-cheek jab at the Association's worst franchise.
Nevertheless, the 2013-14 Washington Wizards took the Eastern Conference's No. 5 seed and are currently outdueling the No. 4 seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round of this year's playoffs.
Led by impressive, team-oriented play triggered by guards John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards are on a promising track to advance to the next round. Not a bad accomplishment considering the squad finished last season with 29 wins.
Without superstar guard Derrick Rose, Chicago simply does not have the offense to keep up with the Wizards in this series.