All teams have played their first game in the playoffs and now is a perfect time to run the rule over the first set of games. I saw 3 of the 8 games and some things were common across all three games.
Number 1 – The lane is closed for business during the playoffs. No easy baskets whatsoever. Giannis had his way early in the game and after that, the lane was shut for business. Same thing with John Wall. He carved the Hawks open early but after that, he kept getting shut down.
That brings me to my second thing. The good players will always find a way. After John Wall realised the lane was closed, he forced it a few times then he adjusted. He’d drive really hard to the basket then kick it out or he’d pull up for 3. That’s something the hawks did not anticipate. Likewise for Giannis. They put PJ tucker on him. PJ baited him into taking a three one time, the next time, he faked PJ out of the earth then calmly walked into his jumper.
Portland need more players to step up. Through the first half of the game with the Warriors, Dame Lillard and CJ McCollum had 48 of the 56 Trailblazers points. Some other players stepped up in the second half but they need other people to step up much earlier. Their bench scored 9 points! COMMON GUYS!To be fair to the Trail blazers, they went toe to toe with the Warriors for 3 quarters before Draymond Green turned the energy up, got a few blocks and Golden State turned the screw in.
In other news, KD is back. He looked like he walked in to his 32 points. Also, can Steph Curry miss an open shot? They use screens effectively to free him up and he knocks it down every time. In my preview to the playoffs, I had Damian Lillard lighting up Golden State for 50. I should have included McCollum in that because that guy can flat out ball. He scored 42 points and Dame had 34. I still think they can steal one maybe two games in this series.
On to the games I didn’t watch now. I had (and I still have) the Clippers shading it against the Jazz but they went and threw away their home court advantage on saturday. They’re so inconsistent. It must be very frustrating to support them. Having said that though, Gobert got hurt and will miss a few games. If the Clippers don’t run through these guys then their team is getting blown up. They might get blown up anyway but they annoy the hell out of me!
I didn’t see the Bulls beating the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas lost his sister in a car crash on Saturday and it must have been emotional for him to play but he was the Celtics best player and I can’t help but think that the emotions of the situation got to the whole team. I still have the Celtics winning this one but fair play to the Bulls for pulling this one out.
Cleveland is still sliding down a slippery slope. They scrapped through against Indiana. Indiana had a chance but CJ Watson missed a good shot at the buzzer. They blew a double digit lead in the fourth quarter again. Not sure if they realise there is no on/off switch for this thing. Anyway, I’m sleeping on them until they give me a reason not to.
My prediction was spot on for the Thunder and Rockets. Westbrook only made 6 of 23 shots. Like I said, he will shoot them in or out of the playoffs. He’s shooting them out at the moment. Oladipo has to step up though. Sir, you cannot have 1 field goal in a playoff game. Maybe the pressure got to him because it was his first playoff game. That is not an excuse Taj Gibson can use. Sit, you cannot have 1 rebound in a playoff game. Get it together guys. You lost by 31!
The Grizzlies lost by 20 odd points to the Spurs. I’m least interested in that series.
Anyway, the fun thing about playoff basketball is that we get to see how teams adjust to their shortcomings in the opening game. The sucky thing is that I won’t be able to watch as much basketball during the week. It’s all good though!