NBA Playoffs 2011: Game 1, Day 1

Let’s begin the rundown of all the games from this weekend. I’ll try and give a quick recap of what happened and see how wrong my predictions were.

Bulls beat the Pacers 104-99


This game didn’t go how I thought it would at all. This game was crazy because I was certain the Bulls would dominate the whole game. Not only did that not happen at all but it was the Pacers who had their way throughout the entire game. The number one seeded Bulls would not have a lead until the end of the game with 48 seconds left in regulation. The Bulls got by on some late game heroics by  the front runner for league MVP himself, Derrick Rose. The Pacers absolutely blew this lead. There was no reason for them to lose this game but they let up on the defensive end of the ball and it cost them. Kyle Korver was able to hit a three pointer that gave the Bulls their first lead and put the dagger into the Pacers.

Yes, this was a slow start for Chicago and no, I don’t think the Pacers are playing over their heads. We haven’t seen the last of Indiana yet. Not with Danny Granger and Tyler Hansbrough combining for 46 points.

Heat beat the 76ers 97-89


This is another game I found surprising. This game was a fun game and it was a little bit of a surprise because of how dominant the underdog started the game. Philadelphia was able to outscore Miami 31-19 in the first quarter. Their dominance wouldn’t last long as they got outscored 35-18 in the second quarter but it did make a point. If the Sixers are able to start strong and play consistently throughout an entire game then they can win some games in this series.

The 76ers and the Heat have brought something to my attention that actually became something of a theme over the course of the weekend. The Sixers had generally balanced scoring across the board, a few guys that could have probably played better, but they were balanced nonetheless. For Miami Chris Bosh, Lebron James, and Dwayne Wade scored together 63 of the teams 97 points. The theme or rather the question of the weekend was this. Is it better to have a few great guys who can carry the team or would you rather have a balanced attack within a system. The Heat may have won this one but this question will come up at least two more times this series. Philadelphia can force the issue and maybe, just maybe, get their point across.

Hawks beat Magic 103-93


So which would you rather have? I think the Atlanta Hawks are going to stick with their balanced attack. Atlanta pull off the upset over Orlando who is heavily favored to win the series based mostly on their past track record, in which Orlando embarrassed the Hawks by sweeping them last season by an average of 25 points per game. Atlanta started the road to revenge by beating Orlando on a night in which Orlando’s Dwight Howard was a monster. Howard had 46 points in the losing effort. Atlanta’s stat sheet looked like a head coaches dream. The Hawks had five guys scoring double digits. Orlando on the other hand would have a coaches nightmare. Despite Dwight Howard scoring 46 points the Magic lost because apparently the rest of the team forgot to show up. Magic guard Jameer Nelson and Dwight scored a combined 73 points out of Orlano’s 93. This means the rest of the team scored a mere 20 points. To add insult to injury Howard was roughed up and forced to work for every point that he got. Superman is going to need some help or the Magic may end up going on vacation sooner than they planned.

Mavericks beat Trailblazers 89-81


This was a close game. The difference maker was Jason Kidd. He was written off as old and incapable. Especially the way he ended the season, which frankly put was not good. Kidd was left open for three a total of ten times. He made six of them. Kidd would end his night with 24 points. I had to re-evaluate my stance on the Mavericks. I thought they would head out of this first round matchup in six games. After much thought and deliberation I still think Dallas will lose in the first round in . . . six games. I loved watching Kidd’s performance it was a brilliant playoff performance but I just have trouble believing he can replicate that. I just have trouble believing that Jason Kidd who averages 7.9 points per game is just going to start posting 24 point nights just because its the playoffs. Portland is still the more consistent team and I think they’ll still be standing when the dust settles.

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