The first weekend of the NBA playoffs is over and every series is excactly one game old, so what did we learn? Well lets break it down series by series shall we.
1 Lakers VS. 8 Oklahoma City Thunder
For all of you who thought that the Thunder could potentially beat the Lakers in this series or even win game 1 now is the perfect time for you to be quiet. The Lakers woke up yesterday and said to each other thank god the playoffs are finally here. The Lakers looked incredibly bored down the stretch of the regular season, which is why they ended up with only 57 wins.
However, yesterday in game 1 this team just looked like the big boys on the block and the Thunder looked incredibly overmatched. That tends to happen when you have a power forward(Gasol) and a center(Bynum) both over 7 Feet tall. Not to mention a 6'10 6'11 six man coming of the bench who can play the 3. The Lakers won by 8, 87-79 despite poor shooting from Kobe. They won because of good defense especially by Artest on Durant and dominating on the inside. So seriously it's cute to want the Thunder to win But, Lakers in 5.
4 Denver Nuggets VS. 5 Utah Jazz
Okay here goes plain and simple the Nuggets are to good to be a number 4 seed and they showed it against a beat up Jazz team who didn't have Andrei Kirilenko before the game and now have lost Okur for the rest of the playoffs. Carmelo continues to show why he deserves more appreciation and recognition around the league dominating with 42 points with an efficient 18-25 shooting performance. Chauncey Billups ran the team and did his part (15 pts 8 ast) and having Kenyon Martin there on the boards really helped them(12 rebs).
But the man besides Anthony who contributed the most was J.R. Smith with 20 points and 6 rebounds of the bench. This guy right here salitifies that Nuggets bench and makes them the championship contender that they are even with that number 4 seed attached to their name. Shame on them but at least Lakers Nuggets series will happen a round earlier. They will dominate the injury plaugued Jazz and move on to Los Angeles next week. Nuggets in 6.
2 Dallas Mavericks VS. 7 San Antonio Spurs
So Mark Cuban is happy today and he will have until Wednsday night to enjoy his Dallas Maverick's 100-94 victory over their division rival Spurs. The key to this game was that freak of nature Dirk Nowitzki who had 36 points and 7 rebounds. If you wanted the Mavs to lose, it just became irritating how even when good defense was played against Dirk he would just rise over the top of the defender and shoot the 18ft jumper.
The spurs finally had the big three as healthy as they have been the whole year and they all did their part combining for 71 of the spurs 94 points. However when you as a team allow Dirk to go for 36 and Butler to go for 22, there in lies the reason why you lost game 1. Now the NBA playoffs are about game to game adjustments and matchups so the first thing the spurs need to do is put Duncan on Dirk and stop having Bonner and Bogans on him(as shown in picture) because that is simply ridiculous. The only thing missing for the Mavs is a better performance from Jason Terry than the 2-9 5pt performance in game 1. Besides that they're good. Mavs in 6.
3 Phoenix Suns VS. 6 Portland Trail Blazers
Someone please explain to me what it is about the Portland Trail Blazers that brings out the worst in the Suns. The Suns played Denver and the jazz to finish out the season and demolished them both to claim the number 3 seed in the west. But then they play Portland and lose game 1 at home. Portland was the only lower seed to win this weekend and for that shame on the suns. The Blazers played the Suns very well in the regular season and carried it into last night's game.
The Suns did not lose because of lack of effort but really it was for lack of mental toughness. Not having the ability to punch Portland in the mouth and ending the game before it even got started sort off speak. The funny thing is that the Suns should've won not just because they are better. But because in the last minute thirty the Blazers did absolutely nothing right. They missed free throws, had an offensive foul called against them, and Camby missed a break away dunk. On top of all of that with a three point lead they let Steve Nash attempt the game tying 3 with time running out, luckily for the Blazers he missed. The Suns continue to show that run and gun wins you 50 regular season games and a playoff series or two but never a NBA title. Suns in 7.
1 Cleveland Cavaliers VS. 8 Chicago Bulls
Cavs win. Is anybody surprised? Hope not, 1 seeds don't lose opening 1st round playoff games... well most of the time. Now I know, I know Lakers fans or anyone that is sick of hearing of Lebron James AKA LBJ, the protegy, the Akron Hammer (Michelle Beadle made famous), all want to see the young Bulls shock the world or just scare the Cavs like they did the Celtics last season.
That sadly will not happen but like with the Thunder it is cute that we want it to happen. Sorry, I mean though we are all sick of hearing of Lebron and Kobe their recognition and hype is well deserved. We all like the underdog story so we generally if not a Cav or Laker fan like to favor Carmelo and Wade over Lebron and Kobe because they get less hype. Now as for the game itself, the Cavs like the Lakers did not play their A game but still won by double digits even with Derek Rose's 28 pts 10 ast. what does that tell me, simple Cavs in 4.
4 Boston Celtics Vs 5 Miami Heat
The Celtics looked really old even more so than the Spurs usually do. They were trailing by 14 at home 69-55 and managed to win 85-76 behind Paul Pierce's 16 points. At first Miami was playing really well and then out of no where it just looked like they didn't know how to handle a little crowd noise. It was actually kind of pathetic and actually just flat out embarrassing. However, the biggest story of the game was the effect that it will have on game 2 tuesday night. Paul Pierce fell in front of the Heat bench and according to Kevin Garnett Miami G Quentin Richardson didn't give him enough space to get up and so he elbowed him and for that the league suspended Garnett for game 2.
Frankly it does not matter that the game will be in Boston because if you were winning by 14 with Garnett in the lineup Game 2 should defitnately go to Miami. If Miami doesn't win that is simply a wasted oppurtunity. To win game 2 Wade has to be more patient especially in the second half because in Game 1 as Boston closed the gap and eventually took the lead, Wade started jacking up shots left and right. I think Wade will be more patient so look for Miami to take game 2. However Celtics win in 7.
2 Orlando Magic VS. 7 Charlotte Bobcats
Quite Frankly the most boring series in the first round. The Magic basicallly toyed with the Bobcats. At first winning by over 20 points and then they let the Bobcats back in the game but then at the end the Magic won the Game 98-89 behind their big defensive presence Howard who had 9 blocks, and Jameer Nelson who after missing every round except the finals last season scored 32 points. Gerald wallace was the big reason why the Bobcats came back from over 20 down. He had 25 points and 17 rebounds but seriously with all due respect who cares. We all know who is going to win and Larry Brown will leave the team after the series after the series is over. Don't worry Larry you only have 3 games left to go. Magic in 4.
3 Atlanta Hawks VS. 6 Milwaukee Bucks
This game was the first playoff game for Brandon Jennings who in the game had 34 points and played an incredible game. Unfortunately it just was not enough to beat the young athletic Hawks. The Hawks the whole season were up and down but Saturday they were defitnately up and they did what they were supposed to do. With all the attention on how Jennings would do in his first playoff game the Hawks won the game.
Jennings got the media attention and the Hawks got the W. They wouldn't have it any other way. The Hawks are on a collision course to face the Magic in the second round. so congrats to Jennings for making the playoffs in his first year and potentially winnig rookie of the year, but without contrabution from Andrew Bogut, Hawks in 5.
All in all what did we learn? Well that in the NBA the best team always wins, except of course for a few examples in history. So Lakers, Cavs, Magic, Nuggets, and Hawks congrats You are locks for the second round. The Mavs VS. Spurs, Celtics VS. Heat and Suns VS Blazers are the only series worth watching because at least they will be competitive.