The first day of the NBA Playoffs did not get off to a great start on Saturday. In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder won by an average of 32 points in Game 1. Meaning, the postseason didn’t reveal much competition early on. But what did anybody expect?
The Eastern Conference had closer games, but the lackluster effort by the Toronto Raptors was fitting of their recent playoff failures. After earning the No. 2 seed, the Raptors lost home court advantage in the first 48 minutes. It was their third straight Game 1 loss at home. Although it’s not time to panic, the Raptors are already in danger of suffering consecutive sweeps in the postseason. The Pacers were the only road team to win a game.
If the Boston Celtics didn’t make a rousing comeback against Atlanta, the whole day would have been ho-hum. After scoring only 34 first half points, the Celtics came out of the second half gate with a 31-point third quarter. However, an injury to Avery Bradley cost the Celtics a shocking victory and may have ruined their chances of advancing to the second round.
Indiana Pacers 100
Toronto Raptors 90
Paul George may have had the most impressive performance on the first day. After missing out on last year’s postseason, George tallied 33 points, four rebounds and six assists in the Pacers’ 10-point victory. However, it was his effort on the defensive end that changed the outcome for the Pacers.
DeMar DeRozan scored 14 points on 5 of 19 shooting. The Pacers hounded the Raptors on the defensive end and they suffocated the life out of the Raptors in the second half. Kyle Lowry was held to 11 points on 3 of 13 shooting. If their shooting remains this atrocious, say hello to another early playoff exit.
Atlanta Hawks 102
Boston Celtics 101
Coming into the playoffs, many figured this series had a chance to be the best in the first round. So far, the Hawks and Celtics did not disappoint. The battle between Jeff Teague and Isaiah Thomas at the point guard position was sensational. Teague produced 23 points and 12 assists in the win. His dynamic passing, keyed the final run to the Hawks’ victory.
Meanwhile, Thomas had a slow start to the game. Yet he finished with 27 points and eight assists. After trailing by 17 points at the half, the Celtics came all the way back to take the lead, but Bradley’s hamstring injury tightened the reigns for the Celtics. Too many empty trips in the fourth quarter left the rally short. The Celtics only shot 36 percent from the field.
Golden State Warriors 104
Houston Rockets 78
Stephen Curry scored 24 first half points before sitting out the rest of the game. After tweaking his ankle, he tried to give it ago, but clearly Curry was hobbled by the injury. Now he is questionable for Game 2 against the Rockets.
Defensively, the Warriors had one of their best outings of the season. The Rockets shot below 36 percent from the field, and James Harden didn’t attempt a free throw. Early on, Patrick Beverley tested Curry and both players received technical fouls.
Oklahoma City Thunder 108
Dallas Mavericks 70
The Mavericks were never in this game. After missing an assortment of open shots, the Thunder jumped out to a 15 point first quarter lead. By halftime, OKC led the Mavericks 26. The Mavericks shot 30 percent from the field.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant dominated their positions and left now doubt about the Game 1 outcome. Westbrook finished with 24 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. Durant had 23 points, five rebounds and five assists.