This was perhaps the best opening weekend of the NBA Playoffs that I have ever seen or can remember. It was almost 12 hours of hoops on both Saturday and Sunday and each game did not disappoint or let down. Each one of the favorites struggled and had to claw to win or come up just short. The opening game on Saturday was Indiana-Chicago and it was absolutely amazing and things grew from there capping with the best game and final game of the weekend with Denver-Oklahoma City. There were great individual efforts along with great team play. It truly marked the change of mentality to this being the playoffs and the only team that seemed to not realize this was the LA Lakers.
As stated above, this was an awesome game with the Pacers leading through most of the game. They were up 10 with 3:34 to play only to see the Bulls rally back and pull out the win, 104-99. Derrick Rose was truly electrifying willing the Bulls to victory scoring 39 points, dishing out 6 assists, and grabbing 6 boards. Game 2 last night was more of the same but the Pacers showed me something last night. The Game 1 loss was truly brutal but the Pacers fought and were in the game throughout before falling on another back breaking trey by Kyle Korver to seal the win for the Bulls, 96-90. Rose finished with 36 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists. They travel to Indianapolis now and it should be a raucous crowd there and I fully expect the Pacers to grab at least one game on their home floor. Prediction for the series: Bulls in 6
The next game was Philadelphia and the Miami Heat. The Sixers were able to jump out to an early lead of 31-19. However, the Miami 3 of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh had a strong 2nd quarter to help get the Heat back in the game. The Heat continued to play well and built a lead but the Sixers continued to fight and kept the outcome in doubt for much of the game. Thaddeus Young was a mismatch the Sixers used to help them keep close as he had 20 points and 11 boards. However, the Heat proved too much as they won 97-89. In Game 2, the Heat finally had the first convincing win by a favorite as they won 94-73. The Heat were led by LeBron who had 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Evan Turner and Young were the two bright spots for the Sixers as they had 15 and 18 points respectively. Prediction: Grab your broom, Heat in 4.
Dwight Howard went beast mode against the Hawks and yet the Magic still lost by 10, 103-93. Dwight had 31 in the first half and finished with 46 points and 19 boards. The Hawks seemed content to let Dwight get his and not double team him. Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 25 points. Prediction: Magic in 6.
The night cap on Saturday was Dallas and Portland. It really was a back and forth game but Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd willed the Mavs to a victory, 89-81. Kidd has 6 triples and Dirk finished with 28 and 10 boards. LaMarcus Aldridge was the high point man for the Blazers with 27. Prediction: Blazers in 6.
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