NBA Playoff Weekend

So, Indiana rolled into the playoffs with their Jekyll & Hyde persona. For being such an ambitious group with championship hopes, they weren’t able to turn it on in game one. If this happened to the Heat I would have a nonchalant take on the loss, because we have seen them bounce back to win four straight before. The Pacers haven’t done so and they aren’t the defending champs, simply perceived as the biggest threat in the East to dethrone Miami.

Atlanta put up as many threes as possible, and their best shooter rejected the opposing center twice. Kyle Korver got the best of Roy Hibbert with a pair of blocks, one of which he sent of of bounds. And that my basketball friends, has been the epitome of why I have yet to anoint Indy as title contenders. Credit the Hawks, they came out swinging and now the world expects the series to go six games in a losing effort. Call it an overreaction if you’re a Pacers’ fan, but the A-T-L poses mismatches with their pace and skill set in the post.

A couple years ago we saw the 8th seeded Grizzlies knock off the top-seeded Spurs. Granted, Memphis was obviously a better team than Atlanta appears to be, why not roll with them? The Pacers have always been more bark than bite to me: fragile mentality, lack of composure, wanna-be bullies. You have to be able to bounce back how a top seed should, flexing dominance and taking care of business in the early rounds. Adversity is something that motivates teams to overcome, however, sustaining success is the ultimate challenge. With a couple questionable additions in terms of personality, Evan Turner and Andrew Bynum, it sure doesn’t seem like a locker room that trusts each other. Perhaps Danny Granger can bring his leadership presence to Lob City for their playoff run.

The Warriors took it to their interstate rival in game one. Blake Griffin was in foul trouble throughout while Chris Paul faltered in key moments. Still, the smooth point guard elevated his scoring in the absence of Griffin and dropped 28 and 8. Mark Jackson had Golden State feeling like the puncher and that’s what they did, Doc Rivers will surely have his veterans prepared to protect home court in Game 2. The length of Klay Thompson was something to note, in how he disrupted CP3 while David Lee took advantage of a sidelined Griffin, the duo paved the way with 44 points. In the end, of this series that is, my expectation is L.A. will survive with all their depth and Griffin won’t foul out every game.

Hello Brooklyn, all the hype in Toronto won’t go away. It should be competitive throughout the series, Paul Pierce is right about the reason the Nets traded for him. He got in the groove late and was clutch as he has been throughout his career, this team was assembled for a playoff series. Their best basketball has arrive in the ladder parts of the season and in Game 1, without Brook Lopez they aren’t title contenders in my eyes but they’re capable of giving Miami a fight. The champs will outlast the rest of the East again, I mean this is the time of year that Dwyane Wade actually plays with regularity.

The Raptors will benefit from this experience, they are young and absolutely have a bright future. Although they still have a chance at beating the Nets, a first/second round exit is in store, make sure you enjoy watching them while they’re playing. Kyle Lowry has been an under-the-radar player, the guy gets near triple-double stats any given night. The backcourt means business between him and DeMarr DeRozen, who had a breakout campaign after the club moved on from Rudy Gay.

Thunder buddies for life, Kevin Durant drilled contested shots like the leading scorer does. He really is tired of finishing second, the hands-down MVP went for 33-8-7. When healthy, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook get my personal nod as the 1st and 2nd best point guards in the league. Not to slight CP3, he is a better ball-handler and passer, it’s just the total package and explosiveness they bring to the floor. Rose is the top dog, growing from ROY to All-Star and eventual MVP. Westbrook has this wrap about him that he’s a little more selfish and aloof, if you’ve been watching his erratic spurts have diminished. At least the barrage of turnovers and bricks have, he may look wild to the casual fan but rest assure he finishes with creativity authority. To me, he would be an MVP candidate on a different team, this special tandem is focused on getting out the West.

The Grizzlies roared back after a slow start against the energetic home team, and the controlled the tempo for 2.5 quarters in doing so. Unfortunately they lack the necessary scoring to get out of the first round, especially against OKC. They will scrap until they run out of gas, the bigs can’t keep up and the guards are one-dimensional. Who isn’t looking forward to the fastest tempo clash between the Thunder and Clippers in Round 2?