My takeaways from the first round series:
OKC beats Houston 4-2
This looked like it might be a sweep before Russell Westbrook went down. After the injury Kevin Durant was forced to shoulder much more of the scoring load. Losing their starting point guard probably quelled any aspirations of a Thunder title run, as some people have now realized that not only is Westbrook an
positive impact player, but he also might (GASP!) make players around him better.
San Antonio beats the Lakers 4-0
The Spurs late season swoon, also known as playing possum, was erased in what turned out to be a complete dismantling of an overmatched Lakers squad. Los Angeles never stood a chance as they were riddled by injuries, also known as karma, to the effect of losing the top four guards in their rotation and eventually starting Andrew Goudelock at the point in the final game of a humiliating sweep.
Golden St. beats Denver 4-2
The Warriors stunned the Nuggets in the biggest upset of the first round. Although the Nuggets came in without their second leading scorer, Danilo Gallinari, they still boasted the NBA's best home record (38-3). Stephen Curry, who's becoming a bonafide star with each passing game, stepped up big time after the Warriors appeared to be in trouble after losing David Lee early in the series.
Memphis beats the Clippers 4-2
The Grizzlies overcame a 2-0 deficit to advance with a backdoor sweep of the Clippers. Parsimonious defense, bulwarked by a team effort on offense, once again triumphed over high flying theatrics. Los Angeles also played much of games five and six without star power forward Blake Griffin after the series was knotted at two games apiece.
Miami beats Milwaukee 4-0
New York beats Boston 4-2
Murmurs of a Boston comeback from a 3-0 deficit were silenced as the Knicks closed out the series with a fourth win while scoring 90 points or less. The
offensively challenged defensively dominated series was punctuated by the statistically fascinating performances of J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony. The two combined to take 233 shots (making just 89 - .381) while distributing just 18 assists. One per 12.9 shots attempts. Just goes to show that selfish, me first basketball can win to some extent. It also proves that while there is no "I" in team, there is a "Melo" in megalomaniac.
Indiana beats Atlanta 4-2
The Pacers size and length proved too much for the Hawks, as Indiana overcame an embarrassing game three loss, 90-69 in Atlanta, by snapping a 13 game losing streak at Atlanta to close out the series. Paul George continued his ascendance to the ranks of the elite with an impressive series, including a game one triple double.
Chicago beats Brooklyn 4-3
The Bulls were barely able to suit five players, but still had the heart and mental fortitude, which Brooklyn apparently lacks, to overcome adversity and win a seventh game on the Nets home court. The litany of obstacles the Bulls faced along the way included no Derrick Rose (out), a hobbled Joakim Noah (heel injury), losing Kirk Hinrich (calf Bruise), losing Luol Deng (spinal tap) and a team flu that saw Taj Gobson playing through chills and Nate Robinson vomiting on the bench.
The biggest thing that resonated with me was the extent of the injuries that sidelined key players in first round series. Many of those will spill over into the next round (and possibly beyond). Teams with a healthy roster should have a decided advantage moving forward....
I am also proud to announce that the Suns are undefeated since the playoffs started.
finally the standings:
NashMV3 has the early lead, providing separation by finishing with the best score in the Western Conference. The Eastern Conference held much truer to form, as contestants averaged 8.8 per person compared to just 4.7 for the west. The mean score was 13.4 and the median was 14. The Solution had the dubious distinction of finishing last, by only picking one winner outside of the Heat and Thunder.