Takeaways from opening weekend of the NBA playoffs
It's the most wonderful time of the year: the NBA Playoffs are back in our minds and our hearts. Visions of James Harden crossovers and Draymond dick kicks play vividly in our heads as we await the crowning of a new champion.
Some games were wild, some were blowouts, and others, well... let's just say we all got a good laugh out of whatever the fuck is happening in Cleveland. So let's quickly go through some of our major takeaways from opening weekend.
The Warriors are fine, everybody. Stay calm
Golden State fans have been worried about the Dubs all season, with injuries and fatigue playing a factor as they finished with the second-best record in the West. SOME were even frightened by the thought of playing Pop and the Spurs without Steph Curry.
You fucking fools.
The Warriors manhandled San Antonio 113-92, stifling the Spurs to just 40% shooting from the field. Last year's Finals MVP Kevin Durant finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Klay Thompson put on a fantastic shooting performance, ending with 27 points on 11 of 13 shooting, 5 of 6 from beyond the arc. We even saw our first glimpse of 'Playoff' Javale McGee, adding 15 points, four boards and two blocks in a late start.
The Warriors looked unbeatable, something they haven't looked like for most of the regular season. Even without Steph, that championship mentality remains among the reigning defending NBA champs.
Victor Oladipo has arrived
Vic is having a breakout season, and if there wasn't any indication that he's a star in this league, Sunday's game against the Cavs was it.
Oladipo scored 32 points, 11 of 19 from the field and 6 of 9 from deep, leading the Pacers to a stunning 18-point victory in Cleveland to take game one of this best-of-seven series. It's the first time in history LeBron James has lost a playoff opener.
The Cavaliers were persistent, coming within seven in the fourth, but the Pacers kept control of the game, playing inspired basketball behind Dipo and Lance Stephenson, whose dunk in the first quarter really set the tone for the rest of the game. LeBron finished with his 20th career playoff triple-double, but the rest of Cleveland struggled. The other starters combined for just 25 points, and as a team Cleveland shot 8 of 34 from long range, and missed eight free throws.
The Cavs will likely rebound in game 2, but if they don't, that spotlight will only grow larger on LeBron.
Anthony Davis ain't goin out like no punk bitch
Looking for the first playoff victory of his career, Anthony Davis went into Portland and snatched the soul (and home-court advantage) straight out of the Trail Blazers and their fans.
The Brow had 35 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in the Pelicans's 97-95 win over the Blazers. A.D. wasn't alone; Jrue Holiday put up 21 points and had a big block in Portland's final possession of the game, Rajon Rondo added 17 assists and eight boards, and a clean-shaven (read: fucking hideous) Niko Mirotic dropped 16 points and eleven rebounds to will the Pelicans to a game one win.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum tried to press a fourth-quarter comeback, nearly erasing a 19-point deficit, but it wasn't enough. The duo combined for just 37 points in the contest, and only took three free throws between them. The series is still way too early to call, but Portland needs their star backcourt to show up early in game 2 or else this could get ugly as the series makes its way to New Orleans.
'Playoff P' isn't as dumb of a nickname as I thought
Okay upon further review, "Playoff P" is sooooo much better than PG-13. Paul George exploded for 36 points and eight threes, an OKC playoff record, as the Thunder downed the Jazz 116-108. PG is no stranger to playoff theatrics, but this is his first with Oklahoma City. A welcome sight to Thunder fans as this kind of production opposite Russell Westbrook was sorely missing last season.
Russ got his, indeed; 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists from the 2017 NBA MVP, but Sunday night was all about George. Big nights from him are necessary for OKC to get past Utah, and surely if they want to challenge Houston and Golden State in the rounds to come.
Also worth paying attention to Donovan Mitchell's left foot. He left in the second half although he did return in the fourth but was noticeably having trouble moving up and down the court. He finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds in his playoff debut.
Harden comes through in the playoffs, but the Timberbulls won't back down
Yes, it's only the first round, but James Harden was clutch Sunday night, scoring 44 points and willing the Rockets to a game one win over Minnesota 104-101. Harden's 13 in the fourth powered Houston past a Timberwolves team that looked ready for the big stage, having missed the postseason since 2004.
The T'Wolves almost caught the Rockets on a bad night. Houston shot just 10 of 37 from 3-point range, an anomaly for the best 3-point team in the league. But strong play from Harden and Clint Capela (24 points, 12 boards) propelled Houston to a victory.
It's also a problem when your best player, Jimmy Butler, is shooting worse than Derrick Rose, and Karl-Anthony Towns is being checked for just eight points. That seemingly won't happen again, which should give Minnesota hope they can steal a game or two in this series, but neither will the Rockets' shooting woes. The Timberwolves missed a prime opportunity to steal a game from Houston. For their sake, let's hope it doesn't come back to bite them in the ass.
Marco 'Big Balls' Belinelli is back in the playoffs, which means I can bring this classic back.
The refs should've given the Bucks a game one win over the Celtics for Khris Middleton's tying shot at the end of regulation. HOLY SHIT!
Hey Raptors fans... THE STREAK... IS OVER.