Playoffs Day 1 Recap:
Boston Celtics (0) vs. New York Knicks (0)
“If this game is indicative of the rest of the series, it is going to be the most entertaining 2 vs 7 series in recent memory. The Knicks won 85-78, and despite the low total score, the game started off as a high-scoring affair. Carmelo Anthony, the newly-crowned scoring champion, started the game off hot with 10 quick points and finished the half scoring 19. To combat this, Jeff Green carried the Celtics with 18 in the first half.
The second half opened up with the Knicks down 53-49 and with both offenses struggling mightily. The teams headed into the 4th quarter after only scoring 35 combined points in the 3rd. As the game neared its conclusion, the Celtics made key turnovers and the Knicks capitalized. Despite struggling for the entire game, J.R. Smith finally attacked the basket and snapped a 1 for 6 Knicks shooting slide. Then Carmelo Anthony (13 of 29 from the field) made consecutive baskets to end the game.
Surprisingly, the Knicks won the game with the turnover battle (20-13), with the Knicks having 15 steals. Looking ahead, it will be interesting to set how the Knicks’ injured players return to health. Pablo Prigioni, who started 16 of their last 17 games (in which the team which the team went 15-2), is resting a sprained ankle and could make a limited impact in Game 2. Tyson Chandler, who missed the last 20 games for the Knicks because of a bulging disc, said he felt fine, although rusty.” – AJ
Chicago Bulls (0) vs. Brooklyn Nets (0)
“Anyone that watched this game knows that it was never a close one. The Nets annihilated the Bulls last night 106-89. The Bulls could not handle the Nets’ inside game. As you can see from the shooting chart below, the Nets shot 20-24 from in the paint.
Brook Lopez was too dominant for the Bulls and their lack of size. Joakim Noah might have been able to help with the interior defense, but he did not play significant minutes due to an ankle injury he is nursing. Brook Lopez added 19 points in the first half (finished with 21). The key to the Nets’ victory was Deron Williams. He kept making plays, whether it be with a pass or shot, it did not matter. Deron ended up with 22 points and 7 assists. Even though Williams and Lopez did most of the dirty work in the first half (combined 34 points with Bulls only scoring 35 as a team), the rest of the starters and a couple of reserves stepped up in the second half. The Nets had 6 players that scored 12 or more points. Overall, the game was a disappointing one for the Bulls, but very promising for the Nets. One of the few things that Chicago should be happy about is the performance of Carlos Boozer (25 points, 8 rebounds). He never gave up and was very consistent on the court. If this game is any indication for the rest of the series, the Nets should have no problem with the Bulls.” – Tim
Denver Nuggets (0) vs. Golden State Warriors (0)
“The Nuggets were able to squeak by the Warriors in Game 1 in Denver 97-95. After a Lawson lay-up that made the game a 3 point contest, 95-92, the Warriors turned to Steph Curry. After breaking the record for most three pointers made in a season, 272, it came as no surprise that he drained a three over Lawson, who was all over him.
At this point, Denver faced a dilemma. Although they have arguably the deepest team in the playoffs, they lack a closer, a superstar scorer like Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, or Kevin Durant to give the ball to in the game’s final moments. Instead, Denver turned to the hot hand. Enter 37-year old veteran Andre Miller. Despite never having made a game-winning-shot in his high-school, college, or NBA career, Miller drove and made the lay-up, leaving 1.3 seconds on the clock.
Steph Curry’s Hail Mary shot was not close, and the Nuggets, who only lost 3 games at home this entire season, go up 1-0 on the series. Looking ahead, David Lee injured his hip, which could determine to be a big issue for the Warriors if he misses any amount of time. The matchup of Curry and Lawson will remain the most interesting one of the series and in all likelihood, determine the outcome of it.” – AJ
Memphis Grizzlies (0) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (0)
“The Clippers showed on Saturday that they do not want this series to turn into the hard-hitting seven game slugfest that they experienced against the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012. In the first half, the Clippers shot 67% from three and the Grizzlies’ lack of a dominant scorer limited their ability to keep up. Taking a pounding down low, Marc Gasol was able to keep Memphis in the game for a while. At the end of the first half, the Clippers led 57-51.
Throughout the game, Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph got very physical with one another, eventually leading to a point where they were both called for their fifth foul at the same time. This marks the fourth time this season where the two were called for a double foul. Randolph tried to get in the youngster’s head with physical play, but Griffin fought right back and was able to limit Randolph to 13 points and 4 rebounds. Griffin scored 10 and grabbed 5 boards.
In the fourth quarter, the Clippers were able to pull away, outscoring the Grizzlies 37-22. At one point, Keyon Dooling knocked down a 3 for the Grizzlies with about ten minutes to go in the fourth, but Eric Bledsoe then drove, scored, and sparked a run of 7 unanswered points which allowed the Clippers to keep a stranglehold on the game. Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups were able to finish off Memphis late in the game, allowing the Clippers to cruise to victory despite “Lob City” not having a dunk until DeAndre Jordan’s slam in the fourth quarter.
Chris Paul led the Clippers with 23 points and 7 assists. Eric Bledsoe provided a nice spark off the bench, contributing 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Memphis’s “Big 3” of Randolph, Gasol, and Conley all performed slightly below their averages, while Jerryd Bayless led the way for the Grizzlies with 19 points.” – Tom