The 2014 NBA playoffs are going to redefine our expectations for the postseason moving forward, if it hasn't already. It appeared as though we were on a collision course between the top two teams in each conference to determine who plays for a championship, but that's all gone now.
Of course, anyone who watched the first round could tell that Indiana was in trouble. Roy Hibbert's great disappearing act in these playoffs has continued while John Wall and Trevor Ariza have been on fire from downtown, giving Washington an early series lead.
As a final tuneup before today's games tip off, we have a look at where things stand and who the oddsmakers are favoring. Since this is postseason basketball, where every night is an overreaction, a lot of these storylines are going to change many times.
ROAD TO THE FINALS: Breaking down the NBA playoff bracket. Round 2 starts tonight! pic.twitter.com/F5mO9iZglM— America's Pregame (@AmericasPregame) May 5, 2014
NBA Playoff Standings
|Eastern Conference: Washington Wizards vs. Indiana Pacers||Wizards lead 1-0||Game 2: May 7 at 7 p.m.ET|
|Western Conference: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder||Clippers lead 1-0||Game 2: May 7 at 9:30 p.m. ET|
|Eastern Conference: Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat||Heat lead 1-0||Game 2: May 8 at 7 p.m. ET|
|Western Conference: Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs||Spurs lead 1-0||Game 2: May 8 at 9:30 p.m. ET|
Wednesday's Playoff Schedule and Odds
|Wizards at Pacers||Pacers (-4.5)|
|Clippers at Thunder||Thunder (-5.5)|
Which team trailing needs to win the most?
It's customary to give the home team an edge in any game because most clubs play better in front of their own fans. Indiana, for example, was 35-6 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse compared to 21-20 on the road in the regular season.
Yet logic would seem to suggest that home-court advantage is starting to mean less in the NBA playoffs. Through Monday's playoff games, which featured wins by both road teams (Washington and Los Angeles), the home team was 26-26.
The Pacers also have to contend with history if they are going to win an NBA championship after losing Game 1 against Atlanta and Washington.
No team has won NBA title under current playoff format (since '84) after lost Gm 1 of 1st 2 playoff series at home (@eliassports). Pacers?— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 6, 2014
Nothing about Indiana's performance right now suggests a team that should be favored to win anything, whether it's a game or a series. Roy Hibbert doesn't have a pulse, let alone the ability to score or grab a rebound.
In the other conference, Oklahoma City has to contend with a bad matchup in Los Angeles. The Clippers actually ranked second in the West, behind San Antonio, in average point differential (7.0), well ahead of the Thunder's 6.3 mark.
Trying to stop Chris Paul isn't going to be easy for any Oklahoma City defender, as we found out in Game 1.
Chris Paul scored 28 of his 32 pts on pull-up jump shots last night. He made at least 1 pull-up jumper vs 8 different Thunder defenders— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 6, 2014
Doc Rivers' team doesn't get a lot of credit for playing defense, though it doesn't have to as much as most teams because Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford can shoot the lights out.
This is going to be a long, fast-paced series, so expect Oklahoma City to get back on track before going to the City of Angels.
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