The NBA 2014 Playoffs: Day 1 - Home-Court Advantage?

Paul Pierce (The Truth) proved to be clutch in the Nets' Game 1 win
(Image from: CBS Sports)

#TheTruthHurts #CantHandleTheTruth #dinosaurs #HelloBrooklyn
The Brooklyn Nets had a ton of playoff experience headed by Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett while the Toronto Raptors were mostly newbies to the postseason. The Nets' exhibited their cool under pressure headed by The Truth who dismantled the Raps with 9 straight points during a crucial 2-minute stretch that put the Raptors away. Even Kevin Garnett made his first shot from an assist that came from Pierce. The "dinosaurs" got the better of the Raptors in Game 1. Meanwhile, DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross had horrible playoff debuts that can be attributed to their nervousness and the Nets' great defense. However, Jonas Valanciunas had a spectacular 1st playoff game as he finished with a double-double (17 points, 18 rebounds) but he missed a handful of easy shots near the rim. Brooklyn led most of the game that started when they went on an early 12-0 run to give themselves a double digit lead in the 1st quarter. The Raptors knew that they were the overwhelming pick to be upset in the first round so Game 2 is already a must-win scenario for the young team. The Nets dominated the turnover category: 8 to 17.

#BadBlood #FoulTrouble #Rivalry 
This series was billed as a physical, grueling and full of fouls match-up. Both teams combined for 51 personal fouls and 60 free throws but only 2 technical fouls. One from an illegal defense infraction and the other one for taunting after a dunk by O'Neal. No scuffles or "fighting" happened in Game 1 which is a significant downgrade from the regular season. Blake Griffin struggled with foul trouble and played less than 20 minutes. He finished with just 16 points and 3 boards (fouled out too!) while David Lee posted a double-double (playoff career-high 20 points). Jermaine O'Neal also played solid while starting for the injured Andrew Bogut. Heck, even Harrison Barnes played fantastic (14 points and 8 rebounds) after a forgetful sophomore season. On the other hand, reserves for the Clippers had so-so performances. No bench player scored in double digits but it was encouraging that JJ Redick had 22 points after missing a big chunk of the season. Overall, it was a great win for the Dubs who weren't given a big chance to upset the Clips especially without Bogut. Now, do the Clippers need to panic? Not yet, as long as they win Game 2 and I'm sure they will.

#Upset #LongBall #JeffTeague
Atlanta has defeated Indiana 3x this season including twice in the last month plus a stunning Game 1 upset of the #1 seed in the East. The Hawks built a double digit lead in the 2nd half that had the Pacers scrambling and looking for answers that were never found. The Pacers have lost 7 games at home this season and two of those came from the Hawks. Atlanta launched a 30 threes and made 11. Pero Antic forced Roy Hibbert or David West to guard him outside the paint and that worked in the Hawks' favor. Jeff Teague was able to slice and dice into the lane almost at will as he dissected the Pacers with a playoff career-high 28 points. Paul Millsap (25 and 8), DeMarre Carroll (double-double) and Kyle Korver also produced for them. Meanwhile, the Pacers got subpar performances from David West and Roy Hibbert who combined for 16 points and 11 rebounds. Hibbert even got blocked twice by the "athletic" Kyle Korver. Indiana is definitely slumping and struggling at the wrong time but this series is far from over. Indy just needs to regroup in Game 2.

#BlockParty #KD4MVP #NoComeback
Memphis is the bigger and stronger team compared to OKC yet the Thunder dominated rebounds and blocks. The Grizzlies were among the worst at shooting and making threes in the regular season and Game 1 was no different. They went 2-11 from downtown led by Mike Conley's 0-6 from deep. The suspension of their backup PG, Nick Calathes also hurt them. Their biggest problem though was Kevin Durant. KD erupted with 13 points in the 4th quarter to assure that the Thunder won the game going away. Russell Westbrook also had a spectacular all-around game with 25 points, 10 boards and 5 assists. Remember that Westbrook did not play last year when OKC lost to Memphis in 5 games. OKC made sure that at least one home team won tonight. Zach Randolph (21 & 11) and Marc Gasol (16 & 6) got their points but they took a lot of shots and were very inefficient. Extra credit goes to Serge Ibaka who battled and hustled his way to 17 points, 9 rebounds and 4 excellent blocks. Memphis got down early by 25 but they continued to play and eventually got themselves closer. If they make a few more outside shots, maybe they can keep pace with the Thunder. If not, then this will be a short series.

#Stats #News
  • Road teams went 3-1 during Game 1
  • Visiting teams that go 1-0 in a series win about 56% of the time
  • The Nets went 3-24 from deep and missed 19 straight at one point
  • Steph Curry had 7 assists and 7 turnovers
  • Mike Miller was a forgettable -21 and just 3 points
#Player of the Night
Kevin Durant (OKC Thunder) - 33 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists

#Highlights of the Night
Korver blocks Hibbert. No Joke!
Ibaka Block

#Tweets of the Night
Just when you think the Pacers hit rock bottom, Kyle Korver blocks Roy Hibbert (twice).

No shot clocks, no monitors in Toronto right now. And y'all ripped Chris Bosh for saying they didn't have good cable.

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