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Around the NBA: Game 1′s

 

There is plenty of dissection of the Celtics-Knicks thrilling Game 1 from the TD Garden right here on CelticsHub.com.  But what about all the other (for lack of a better word) thrilling Game 1’s across the NBA?  I watched as much as I could over the weekend, and this is what I came up with.

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

#1 Bulls vs. #8 Pacers (104-99 Chicago, 1-0)

Shocking.  Well as shocking as it can be without the #1 overall seed actually losing.  Indiana was leading from start to almost the very end.  Tyler Hansborough?  Where did that come from?  Looked like he was playing a Tuesday night game against Clemson for a few minutes. 

I thought Danny Granger summed it up best by comparing Derrick Rose to a stalker ex-girlfriend, every time you turn around she’s there, at your door wherever.  I think this game will wake up the Bulls and they will win in 4 or 5.

#2 Heat vs. #7 76ers (97-89, Miami 1-0)

Give credit to Chris Bosh, ok you don’t have too, but he played well and helped the Heat avoid a loss.  For the Celtics sake let’s hope Philly can win a game, or two at home, so LeBron and company have to work rather than coast into the 2nd round.  I have faith the 6ers can make them fight after watching on Saturday.  Game 2 is tonight.

#4 Magic vs. #5 Hawks (103-93, Atlanta 1-0)

The Hawks don’t seem to like playing with each other and they certainly don’t enjoy coaching in general, but they stole home court from Orlando.  Dwight Howard 46 points 19 rebounds… in a loss.  Let the big man get his and take everyone else out.  It worked once, will it work again?  I’m going to stick with my pick of the Magic winning this series, the Hawks self hate will overcome.

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

#1 Spurs vs. #8 Grizzlies (101-98, Memphis 1-0)

How about this one?  Tony Allen starting for a contender?  Ok contender is a bit aggressive, but they do present some tough match ups even without Rudy Gay.  Memphis get its first playoff win in franchise history (0-12 coming in), and they follow that up by giving Zach Randolph a 4-year contract extension.  And you know what?  I like it.  Sure he seems like the obvious, pay for play guy, 1-year, incentive deals, but go for it Memphis! 

It’s the same team Chris Wallace led front office that dealt Pau Gasol for nothing (although Marc Gasol has turned out pretty nice) and drafted Hasheem Thabeet #2 overall, only to pair him with another 1st rounder to get Shane Battier… back.

Manu’s elbow could be the key to this series, however I still think San Antonio advances, but they sure seem ripe for the picking.

#2 Lakers vs. #7 Hornets (109-100, New Orleans 1-0)

I thought New Orleans was the worst Western Conference Playoff team, and the only one not capable of winning a series.  Winning a game I figured would be a stretch, let alone at the Staples Center.  Hats off to Chris Paul.  Maybe he hasn’t been as explosive as we’ve seen earlier in his career, but can we ease up on Derrick Rose is waaaaaay better than CP3, and so is Deron Williams, maybe even Russell Westbrook.  Chris Paul is still here folks. 

#3 Mavericks vs. #6 Trail Blazers (89-81, Dallas 1-0)

This could be a classic case of everyone picks the “underdog,” making them not the underdog any longer, and they end up losing to the original favorite.  Teams 5-8 in the West were hoping to get Dallas.  Well Portland did, what can they do with them?  As Bill Simmons pointed out in his recent podcast, the Mavs have the best player in this series (Dirk) but Portland might have the next 4 (Aldridge, Wallace, Miller, Camby?) It’s debatable.

Wes Mathews is a good player who had a poor Game 1.  Brandon Roy is a total wild card.  His injuries knocked him down from a potential Top 10 player, to the team’s 7th man. 

As poor as Dirk’s supporting cast is, I believe in this series, he can win 3 games while his supporting cast can take 1.  Hey J. Kidd had 24 points in Game 1.  Jason Terry is capable of 30 one night, and I’m probably the only person in the country that thinks Shawn Marion could slap up a 20-12 in one of these games.

#4 Thunder vs. #5 Nuggets (107-103, OKC 1-0)

This is the series (outside of Boston-New York obviously) that I am the most interested in watching, and will find ways to be in front of the TV for every minute. 

Funny how the 4 playoff teams that really changed at the deadline are involved in 2 series.  The Nuggets made a franchise altering deal with the Knicks, and the Celtics shocked their own fans… and players, by trading with the Thunder.  A couple months later and you get Celtics-Knicks and Thunder-Nuggets. 

I like watching Perkins play.  I never, ever, thought I would say that.  I yelled at every moving offensive screen, every time he put it on the floor near the basket and did his infuriating “gather move.”  But now that he’s gone, I’m like, “Wow look at that screen!  Did you see that board?  There’s the scowl!”  The question remains with OKC, how far can Durant-Westbrook carry them as their only offensive options?

As for Denver, it’s amazing how they don’t have a single star player but can still go a legit 11 deep with each guy bringing their own flavor.  George Karl has them meshing well, but you got to wonder if it’s just a fun regular season team that surprised, only to bow out in the playoffs.

If the first weekend is any indication of how the rest of the 2011 post season is going to be, we are in store for one of the all time greatest.  I’ll be back throughout the playoffs with scattered thoughts.

  • Batman

    The Thunder game was ridiculous. Perkins clearly interfered, and the NBA just said they know. Feel bad for the Nuggets

  • DRJ1

    My prediction: IND has the taste of near-victory now, and they will give the Bulls a very hard time going forward. Also, Rose's style is very dangerous to his health, so at any moment he could go down. Bulls would be down and out without him. Anything can happen in that series, including a Bulls loss.

    • NHBluesMan

      they seem to be living up to that as of now *knock on wood* lets hope they keep it up!

  • Guest

    Yeah, Rose is a huge risk taker. If the Magic make it to the second round, Dwight needs to hard foul the hell out of him and make him not want to drive into the paint again.

  • WTF

    well, wishful thinking that Sixers will give the Heat any trouble. Philly completely falls apart in game 2 and it's hard to imagine they will have any fighting spirit left in them after this beat down. So, Cs better take care of Knicks in 4 or 5 games.

    • someguyinsac

      Maybe they'll break out some home cooking when they get back to Philly and take 1 or miraculously 2 games?

      • WTF

        yeah right, keep dreaming. If they cannot even stop Bosh, they are doomed.

  • WTF

    So it's really Cs own fault to pick a harder path in the playoffs.

  • DRJ1

    Easier path is BAD, harder path is GOOD. Remember 08.

  • WTF

    at the mean time, the Pacers give the Bulls fits. Holy crap, TJ Ford!!!

  • Mike

    These nba refs are a joke… 3 straight bs calls against the pacers to ice the game…. you can't even sneeze on rose its a foul yet they bust up collison and no foul called. I mean why even play games if they are going to hand every game to them… for shame…

    • Dan

      Some of the bad calls this weekend (i.e. the Perkins tip-in in the Nuggets game) are probably just honest mistakes. But even as someone who kind of likes the Bulls, it makes me sick to see how Rose is officiated. The accumulation of all these "soft" fouls against Rose is more than making the difference in these games.

      • Dan

        Also, how is Rose not T'd up for his reaction to that blatant foul on the 3 point shot? The camera even followed him to the bench, where he continued to curse at the side official.

        Apparently, if you're a "star", this is totally acceptable as long as you don't use any homophobic/racist etc comments. If you're Raymond Felton on the other hand…

      • Mike

        Even CWebb was like ''what foul?'' on Hibbert's ''offensive foul''. Sure some of them are just honest mistakes, but given the amount of ''mistakes'' made in favor of the bulls (2 games), heat in the first game, the blazers were just robbed. It gives me a hard time watching a game like this one knowing that exSTERNal influences might affect the outcome of the said game.

        • Dropstep

          Before the game was won my friend who is a Bulls fan was saying that the Bulls were getting jobbed by the refs and many are saying the Celtics benefited from the same favoritism by refs in game 1 (check the Knickerblogger blog or comments under articles in truehoop/espnboston blog for Knicks fans).Refs make mistakes. That's the way it is. If in this one game, here on Celticshub you believe that the Pacers were getting robbed and my friend believes the Bulls were getting robbed, who was right? I think the refs just made calls they saw. Did they miss some? Probably. They aren't perfect.

          The Pacers' biggest problems tonight were that they got outrebounded 57-33 (kind of hard to win if you give up 20 o-boards) and just like in game 1, they do not execute well down the stretch. I can agree that the offensive foul call on Hibbert was rubbish but it's not the only reason they lost (see: leaving Korver wide open again for a 3). I was really rooting for them to pull the game out. I hope they can win the next one on their homecourt.

          • Dan

            There is a bit of a difference. How could the Bulls "get robbed" if they won both games? Seems like everything worked out just fine for them.

          • Dropstep

            Note I said before the game had ended. Down the stretch when the Pacers got to the line, my friend said that the refs were calling "dumb fouls". Now that they've won, he has no problem with the officiating. Isn't that how it works?

  • kricky

    Good call! CP3 is still great. Let's just hope he stays out West to give the Lakers a hard time (instead of doing it to us).

  • Mike

    My thoughts exactly.

  • Celtics Freak

    It'll be a funny day when Rose gets badly hurt and they end up being the '97 Spurs

  • Guest

    Really hope the Magic meet them in the next round. D12 needs to steamroll Rose and throw all of his lame floaters out of there. I bet though if and when they actually do meet they'll call cheap techs on Dwight so they can get him suspended easily.

  • Zee

    All I know is that if Rose was playing in the 80's he would've stopped driving to the lane like that after the second attempt. Because Barkley, Malone, McHale or somebody would've laid him flat on his back!

  • Batman

    The Magic are an even bigger one man show
    ROSE VS HOWARD WHILE EVERYONE ELSE WATCHES

  • http://www.velvetdeer.net IGF-1 Mike

    Everybody called the Bulls overrated, but they made it pretty damn far! Next year, it's all the way!

  • http://www.rhodesblogs.com Michael Smith

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