Notes and analysis from each opening game for the NBA playoffs:
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers
Final score: Cleveland 109 Indiana 108
LeBron James activated his playoff mode scoring 32 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and had 13 assists. Kyrie Irving struggled from the field scoring 23 points on 27 shots and Tristian Thompson was a monster on the glass with 13 rebounds (6 offensive).
The Pacers shot the ball well from deep and had a chance to win the game on the final possession. They came all the way back from a 12 point deficit to be within one on the last possession. Paul George was forced to give the ball up and C.J Miles attempt fell just short giving the Cavs the win. Paul George made interesting comments in his post game press conference when he stated he told Miles that Miles needed to give him the ball back and George needed to take the final shot.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Toronto Raptors
Final Score: Milwaukee 97 Toronto 83
Milwaukee stole game one on the road behind an excellent performance behind Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak finished with 28 points and 8 rebound. Greg Monroe was the difference off the bench with 14 points and 15 rebounds in 32 minutes of play. Brogdon and Snell combined for 7 three pointers to compliment the interior offense. The Bucks played tremendous defense holding Toronto to 5-23 from three.
Toronto fell to 0-9 in franchise history in Game 1 of the opening round. Kyle Lowry still could not overcome his playoff demons scoring 4 points on 2-11 shooting. Lowry and Derozan combined for 9-for-32 from the field as the Bucks size caused them fits throughout. Serge Ibaka carried the Raptors for the night but his efforts were not worthwhile. The Raptors as a team shot 36% from the field.
Memphis Grizzlies vs San Antonio Spurs
Final score: San Antonio 111 Memphis 82
Close game at the half with the Spurs holding a three point edge. From there it was an absolute onslaught as the Spurs made the appropriate defensive adjustments to blow past the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies need huge nights in each game from Conley and Gasol to keep up with the Spurs balance and depth. The Grizzlies are banged up with Tony Allen and Chandler Parsons out for the year.
Kawhi Leonard was efficient as it gets scoring 32 points on 11-for-14 shooting and 9-9 from the foul line. He is in serious contention for the league MVP and his 20017 playoff debut showcased why. The Spurs had 11 different players score in the game.
Los Angeles Clippers vs Utah Jazz
Final Score: Utah 97 Los Angeles 95
Joe Johnson hit the game winning shot as time expired on a running floater in the lane that just got over the outstretched arm of Deandre Jordan. Johnson finished with 21 points. The Jazz did lose all defensive player Rudy Gobert on to a sprain left knee on the first possession of the game and his status for the series is now in question. Gobert is the backbone to the Jazz defense and is the leagues best rim protector. The Jazz won with a total team effort in game 1 but it will be harder to do so now that the Clippers can game plan without Gobert playing.
The Clipper continue to be playoff losers. Anyone see Blake Griffin in the second half? Complete no show performance by him in the second half. Chris Paul tried willing the team to a victory but his efforts fell shorts. Paul banked in a shot with 10 seconds to go to tie the game before Johnson won it.
Washington Wizards vs Atlanta Hawks
Final Score: Washington 114 Atlanta 107
Sloppy first half game that was extremely physical. Paul Milsap went as far to say that the Wizards were playing MMA out there in his post game press conference. Regardless, the Wizards received an excellent performance by John Wall (32 points and 14 assists) and had six players in double figures. The offensive firepower the Wizards have may be too much for Hawks to keep up.
Portland Trailblazers vs Golden State Warriors
Golden State 121 Portland 109
This game showed the difference of talent level between the two teams. The Blazers received tremendous efforts from Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum as the back court duo combined for 75 points and they lost the game by 12. Evan Turner had a double – double in his Blazers postseason debut.
Draymond Green was the definition of a stat sheet stuffer. His stat line was 19 points, 12 rebound, 9 assists, 3 steals and 5 blocks. An excellent performance by him as he showed his true value to the team. Durant had 32 points and 10 rebounds in his Warriors playoff debut and showed no ill effects from his injury. Steph Curry scored 29 points as well.
Chicago Bulls vs Boston Celtics
Chicago 106 Boston 102
Emotions were running high in Boston as Isaiah Thomas sister was tragically killed in a single car crash in Washington a day before the game. A heartbreaking story, Thomas was sobbing uncontrollably on the sidelines before the game tipped off. His strength and perseverance allowed him to play through such a terrible loss and he finished the game with 33 points. Praying for Thomas and his family.
The Bulls played as the better team and Jimmy Butler played like a superstar with 30 points and 9 rebounds. Wade struggled through most of the night. Second year big Bobby Portis had 19 point and 9 rebounds off the bench to help Chicago to steal game one.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets:
Houston 118 Oklahoma City 87
A battle of the two top MVP candidates. Round one went to James Harden as he finished with 37 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. The Rockets out-rebounded the leagues best rebounding team by 15. The Rockets had 56 compared to the Thunder’s 41. Patrick Beverley was up for the challenge and outplayed Westrbook for most of the night. Beverley finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Westbrook received little help throughout the game. The Thunder were within 5 at the break but the offense and defense fell apart in the second half. Westbrook has 22 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists but was forced into nine turnovers. The Rockets have taken 4 of 5 from the Thunder so far this season and seem to have their number.
-All stats used from ESPN box scores