The NBA playoffs started this weekend, and many potential storylines fell flat. Unfortunately, this leaves fans thirsting for more, but there are still more games to be played and more stories to tell.
James Harden of the Houston Rockets playing his former team the Oklahoma City Thunder was supposed to be a good match up. The Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers played one of the most exciting playoff series last year, and it’s expected that this rematch will be just as close. The first game of this series was anything but that.
And of course the Los Angeles Lakers clinching a 6th seed on the final day might give them motivation enough to upset the San Antonio Spurs.
Just about every game was a blowout, with the favored team winning. The only close game was between the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets.
But even though the games may have seemed missing the close game intensity that most fans thirst for in the playoffs, there are still plenty of potential thrillers to follow as the NBA playoffs keep rolling.
Even though the Nuggets and Warriors appear evenly matched, the rest of the series may depend on how well Warriors point guard Stephen Curry can carry his team against a very talented Nuggets defense. Warriors forward David Lee suffered torn hip flexor early in game one, which will keep him out for the rest of the series. What it means is that the Warriors lose their second biggest offensive threat, leaving Curry to ratchet up his play if they want to win and advance.
The Clippers-Grizzlies matchup is expected to be a close one, as these two teams played down to the final minutes of their playoff matchup last year that went down to a final winner take all. Even though it’s just one game and no one is panicking yet, it appears the Grizzlies need to find some answers. Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies held the Clippers big man Blake Griffin to an even keel. But the rest of the team had no answer for the Clippers PG Chris Paul.
Griffin’s play dominated the game and allowed the Clippers to hold a comfortable lead over the Grizzlies until time expired. If the Grizzlies can figure out a way to play better defense, this series will be just as exciting as last year’s.
The most talked about series is the Spurs-Lakers matchup, if only because the usually dominant Lakers did not secure a playoff spot until the last day of the regular season, and they are without Kobe Bryant for the rest of the playoffs due to his Achilles injury. If the Lakers wanted to pull off the upset, Lakers center Dwight Howard will have to carry the team.
But in game one, even Howard’s double double (20 points, 15 rebounds) wasn’t enough as the Spurs played their typical selves and ran all over the Lakers’ injury-riddled roster. Missing their All Star PG Steve Nash as well, the Lakers simply could not keep up with the always aging but always resilient Spurs roster.
Every year the Spurs are expected to finally falter due to their old age, and every year they beat father time and advance in the playoffs. The first question as this series progresses, is how the Lakers will respond, if the players around Howard can pick up their game and help him secure a victory or two. The other question lies with a peculiar signing by the Spurs just before the playoffs, when they picked up veteran Tracy McGrady. Even though he played zero minutes in game one, it will be interesting to see if and when he plays in the series.
Maybe the teams will even themselves out and the rest of the first round of playoff games will be more exciting. But if not, there’s always next round to make up for what may turn out to be some very underwhelming first round NBA action.