NBA Playoffs: Observations From The First Day

The NBA Playoffs started yesterday with some thrilling games, leaving some indelible impressions on those who watched. There were no upsets in either of the four games that were on the schedule. That said, there were a few things to pay attention to going forward.

Going into the NBA Playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Atlanta Hawks were the favorites to win the championship. Only Golden State was displayed yesterday. The Cavs, Hawks, and Spurs play today.

The Warriors had the best regular season record, and as a reward, they play the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round in the West.

Since the rules do not have realignment in the NBA Playoffs, the Warriors drew a Pelicans’ team that is more capable than fans outside of New Orleans realize.

Anthony Davis is a basketball stud. He was on display throughout the game despite having foul trouble. He and the Pelicans were down 25 and did not panic. What was originally thought to be a laugher turned out to be a tense game in the end. The eighth seed showed some heart in the fourth quarter, eventually losing 106-99.

MVP frontrunner Stephen Curry acknowledged the tension in his postgame interview (via ESPN).

“In those situations, you want to get the crowd back into it. There’s a weird kind of tension, especially in the second half when they made a couple runs. But in the playoffs, you have to expect anything. And whenever you’re on the floor, just try to make an impact.”

New Orleans is a bigger team, and they are athletic in just about every position. This best-of-seven series could go the distance if Golden State is not careful.

The NBA Playoffs began with a good game between Team Drake (Toronto Raptors) hosting Team Wale (Washington Wizards). Washington Wizard fans were holding on to the edge of their seats while watching their team blow a 15-point lead in the final quarter versus the Toronto Raptors. The Wizards won in overtime, taking a 1-0 series, but most importantly, they took over home court advantage.

Washington is one of the dark horses in the NBA Playoffs. Yesterday showed everyone why.

Expect more fight from Team Drake — I mean the Raptors in Game 2.

The close proximity of the Houston Rockets / Dallas Mavericks series made last night an interesting watch. These two teams hate each other. A lot of pushing and shoving, a flagrant foul here or there, and you will have the most intense first round matchup.

Both teams proved true to form in the Rockets 118-108 win. The first game had a lot of fireworks, expect that, along with a couple of ejections to happen.

Perhaps the odds-makers did not do it purposely but they forgot about the Chicago Bulls. The guard rotation of Aaron Brooks (13 points), Jimmy Butler (25 points), and Derrick Rose (23 points) were all over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Everyone expects the Bulls to dominate Milwaukee with their superior size, but if the guard play continues execute proficiently, the series will not be a sweep. Every contender was put on notice last night that the MVP version of Derrick Rose may have returned after rehabbing from meniscus surgery.

Rose looked pain-free and motivated. He played with a boulder on his shoulder, not a chip. And if that attitude carries over to the rest of the team the Bulls are not going to be denied in the NBA Playoffs.

[Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images Sport]