The NBA Playoffs got off to a pretty good start on Saturday when Paul George and the Indiana Pacers went into Toronto and shut up the dedicated Raptor We the North faithful, many of whom were lined up outside watching on the big screen as their team gagged. Paul George put on his Superman cape and carried the 7th seed Pacers to a victory, not that it was shocking since Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are used to choking in the post-season. But it made great theater to see Paul George return to being Paul George. He is a superstar, even as most forgot that small part of his bio. His performance tricked the mind. It made you think the playoffs would have evenly matched, dramatic outcomes because the first game was so unexpectedly competitive.
The next game up, the Warriors, completed dismantled the Rockets and this was with an injured Steph Curry. Can we all agree Dwight Howard looks like he needs a retirement tour? Howard had one thing going for him for much of his career, athleticism. Now he looks like his feet are in cement. His scoring has gotten worse, which is something only Howard could pull off. James Harden as your best player will get you nowhere. Pencil Harden in for the same exact move 15 times a game and repetitive trips to the free throw line but if he’s your best player you’re going nowhere. It was an easy beat down and only because it was Howard out there was it funny. Otherwise, it was pretty pathetic that one team was so glaringly superior to the other.
The Celtics/Hawks was competitive with the C’s storming back from a first half deficit but then Avery Bradley went down with a hamstring injury ruining any shot the C’s have of winning the series. Perhaps it’s karma. The C’s ruined Kevin Love last year so now it’s their turn to see how it feels when one of their own is penciled out the playoffs because he is in pain. But the game itself was entertaining. Both teams lack a superstar so it was a lot of ball movement, 50 assits. That should continue. The Hawks and Celtics have strong coaches who preach passing and cutting and open three’s. It’s a series to look forward to, unlike most of the other duds.
OKC/Mavs is a trivia question. How many times will OKC beat Dallas by 40 points? How about four times. The Mavs are the second oldest team in the league and looked like an airplane that needs to be towed to the gate. Feel sorry for Dirk, though.
Sunday started out the way Saturday started out with a great Pistons/Cavs game and the Cavs Big 3 finally showing up. It was good to see the upstart Pistons get it going and take it to the Cavs until Reggie Jackson had his meltdown which was hysterical because he so wanted to be a star in OKC and take Westbrook’s spot and he can’t even not get a technical in a critical situation. Afterwards, he couldn’t even own up to his mistake. Look up selfish in the dictionary and you’ll find a nice pic of Jackson. This series looks like it may go six because the Pistons have a dynamite coach and a bunch of players that play hard, can shoot and compete like a mother.
The day went downhill from there. Michael Jordan’s team was awful. When Luol Deng lights you up and only misses two shots, time to put the bag over your head. Memphis is going to get creamed in every single game vs. the Spurs. Matt Barnes, Lance Stephenson and and old, old Zach Randolph can’t save anything. And the Blazers don’t have enough weapons for the Clippers.
Even with Curry questionable for game two, the West first round is predictable. The top four are so much better than everyone else. It left a bad taste in the mouth if you were looking to get excited about first round matchups. It left a lot to be desired and was one more reminder that almost a decade has passed since the Warriors upset the Dallas Mavericks as the 8th seed.
Home Team: 7-1
Games Decided By 5 Points or Less: 2
The Victors Points Per Game: 108
The Losers Points Per Game: 87.5
30 Point Scorers: Paul George (33), Kyrie Irving (31), Luol Deng (31)
15+ Rebounds: Jonas Valanciunas (19)
10+ Assists: Jeff Teague (12), Russell Westbrook (11), LeBron James (11), Chris Paul (11), Goran Dragic (10)