Round 2 of the 2014 NBA playoffs has been anything but the thrilling affair the opening round proved to be.
Gone are the intense, down-to-the-wire showdowns often taken to extra quarters and decided by game-winning shots destined to show up on the next batch of playoff commercials.
In their place is a humbling affair out of the gates for four teams. Indiana has fallen flat and remains erratic. The crop of veterans in Brooklyn look like old men. The team with the MVP appeared lost in the opening game. Portland's depth has been dismantled.
Can things turn around? Sure. But here are two teams that have stumbled out of the gates and must recover in a hurry before it is too late.
|2014 NBA Playoffs Schedule: Round 2|
|1||Clippers at Thunder||May 5||9:30 p.m.||TNT||Clippers 122, Thunder 105|
|2||Clippers at Thunder||May 7||9:30 p.m.||TNT||Thunder 112, Clippers 101|
|3||Thunder at Clippers||May 9||10:30 p.m.||ESPN||TBD|
|4||Thunder at Clippers||May 11||3:30 p.m.||ABC||TBD|
|5*||Clippers at Thunder||May 13||TBD||TNT||TBD|
|6*||Thunder at Clippers||May 15||TBD||ESPN||TBD|
|7*||Clippers at Thunder||May 18||TBD||TNT||TBD|
|1||Blazers at Spurs||May 6||9:30 p.m.||TNT||Spurs 116, Blazers 92|
|2||Blazers at Spurs||May 8||9:30 p.m.||ESPN2||TBD|
|3||Spurs at Blazers||May 10||10:30 p.m.||ESPN||TBD|
|4||Spurs at Blazers||May 12||10:30 p.m.||TNT||TBD|
|5*||Blazers at Spurs||May 14||TBD||TNT||TBD|
|6*||Spurs at Blazers||May 16||TBD||ESPN||TBD|
|7*||Blazers at Spurs||May 19||TBD||TNT||TBD|
|1||Wizards at Pacers||May 5||7 p.m.||TNT||Wizards 102, Pacers 96|
|2||Wizards at Pacers||May 7||7 p.m.||TNT||Pacers 86, Wizards 82|
|3||Pacers at Wizards||May 9||8 p.m.||ESPN||TBD|
|4||Pacers at Wizards||May 11||8 p.m.||TNT||TBD|
|5*||Wizards at Pacers||May 13||TBD||TNT||TBD|
|6*||Pacers at Wizards||May 15||TBD||ESPN||TBD|
|7*||Wizards at Pacers||May 18||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|1||Nets at Heat||May 6||7 p.m.||TNT||Heat 107, Nets 86|
|2||Nets at Heat||May 8||7 p.m.||ESPN2||TBD|
|3||Heat at Nets||May 10||8 p.m.||ABC||TBD|
|4||Heat at Nets||May 12||8 p.m.||TNT||TBD|
|5*||Nets at Heat||May 14||TBD||TNT||TBD|
|6*||Heat at Nets||May 16||TBD||ESPN||TBD|
|7*||Nets at Heat||May 19||TBD||ABC||TBD|
|NBA.com; *Denotes if necessary|
Like it or not, the Indiana Pacers are against the ropes.
Game 1 against Washington made it clear enough. Roy Hibbert floundered his way to no points or rebounds. John Wall is a threat the Indiana defense struggles to contain, and that goes twofold for Bradley Beal.
The Hibbert issue is most pertinent, especially in the face of a very underrated duo of Nene Hilario and Marcin Gortat beneath the rim. David West was just one Pacers player agitated after Hibbert's Game 1 performance, per Scott Agness of the team's official website:
Paul George echoed these sentiments, according to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star:
George later posted a picture on his Instagram in an effort to quell talks that there are issues in the team's locker room:
Forget the locker room, look at how the Pacers play on the court. The Pacers were bullied on the boards in Game 1, 53-36.
Game 2? A whopping 28 points from Hibbert is great, but that won't be happening again once the Wizards make defensive adjustments—as the series shifts to Washington for two games.
This is a squad that has yet to prove it can fire on all cylinders at the same time and that needed 10-of-13 shooting from the postseason's most erratic player to get by with just 86 points in a four-point win at home.
Until they can prove otherwise, the Pacers remain one of the most desperate teams around.
Portland Trail Blazers
Much of the reason the Portland Trail Blazers were able to get past the Houston Rockets in the first round can be attributed to great depth off the bench.
That advantage turns into a weakness against a team like San Antonio, a roster that produced more bench points than any other during the regular season.
Case in point, Game 1. Marco Belinelli dropped 19 points on Portland. Patty Mills and Aron Baynes added 10 each. Drop in 33 more from an actual starter in Tony Parker, and the Trail Blazers defense has some soul searching to do.
Flip to the other end of the court. The explosive Portland offense couldn't get on the board for more than four minutes to open the contest. LaMarcus Aldridge still dumped in 32 points by night's end, but 37.8 percent shooting overall while being flustered by the elite Spurs defense will make this a quick series.
Portland is one of the NBA's most dangerous teams when Damian Lillard and Co. fire on all cylinders, but that's the caveat—there is no lackluster defense from the likes of James Harden here. Desperation mode is fully engaged, as a 0-2 deficit all but ends the series.
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