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.
#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.
#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.