The first round of the playoffs is over, and a lot has happened already. Below we’ll take stock of the BSB(R) standings, recap the first round, and look ahead to the conference semi-final matchups.
The BSB(R) Tournament: An Updated Spreadsheet
Where does everyone stand after the first round?
- The tourney leader is Grandpa Bernie (Bernard Chovitz) with 50 points.
- He and Joe Bubar (second with 48 points) were the only to predict every series winner correctly.
- Bernie and T-Mac (Tommy MacCarthy) also managed to predict the correct outcome and number of games for each series in the East. Impressive.
- Defending champion Dan Leifer is doing well with 43 (tied for fourth); 2010-11 champion Andrew Wise, on the other hand, has the dubious standing of ranking below me (33 and 34 points, respectively).
- The majority of people chose the Bulls and the Clippers to win against their opponents–as a group we nailed the Bulls but underestimated the Grizzlies.
- Perhaps most impressively, a solid 7 out of 20 correctly had the Warriors over the Nuggets. This stands in sharp contrast to ESPN’s panel of 18, where the Nuggets were a unanimous pick to win. Nice work, team.
As for the NBA playoffs…
First Round: East
Heat-Bucks: LeBron and the Heat went about business as usual, sweeping the Bucks without any real difficulty.
- Hero: LeBron James.
- Goat: Brandon Jennings and Jim Boylan.
- Line of the Series: James went for 27 points (9-11 FG), 10 boards, and 8 assists in a close-out Game 4.
Nets-Bulls: After a roller-coaster of a series, the Bulls prevailed on the road in an epic Game 7, despite being without the injured Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng. It was a series of unpredictability, highlighted by the triple-overtime game that saw Nate Robinson enter God-mode.
- Hero: Nate Robinson
- Goat: Joe Johnson
- Line of the Series: With one foot, Joakim Noah had 24 points (12-17 FG), 14 rebounds, and 6 blocks in Game 7.
Pacers-Hawks: In what might be Josh Smith’s last series as a Hawk, the Pacers put their foot down in Atlanta to close out the series in six games. There were close games and good battles–Josh Smith on Paul George was particularly entertaining–but Indiana’s defense and Atlanta’s shooting woes tipped the scales in favor of the Pacers.
- Hero: Paul George
- Goat: Atlanta PGs (Devin Harris and Jeff Teague)
- Line of the Series: George scored 21 points (7-8 FG), pulled down 10 boards, and handed out 5 assists in a Game 5 blowout.
Knicks-Celtics: Even though this series didn’t go seven games, it might have been the most entertaining matchup in the East. There were suspensions, funereal attire, overtimes, and of course, a healthy dose of “Steez.” Down three games to none, the Celtics won two games straight, nearly overcoming a deficit no NBA team has done before.
- Hero: Raymond Felton
- Goat: Paul Pierce, but it’s tempting to choose J.R. Smith
- Line of the Series: Melo had 36 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals in a tone-setting Game 1.
First Round: West
Thunder-Rockets: Good storylines ran throughout this series–Harden’s return, a close series, Reggie Jackson’s emergence–but it was all overshadowed by Russell Westbrook’s knee injury. The Rockets did their best to put a scare into the Thunder, playing them close the majority of the games. Like the Celtics, they also came back from three games down to bring the series to 3-2, but ultimately they fell victim to Kevin Durant’s consistent greatness.
- Hero: Kevin Durant
- Goat: This.
- Line of the Series: Tough to choose with so many good games from Durant, but I’ll choose his 41 point, 14 rebound, 4 assist masterpiece in a close Game 3 victory.
Clippers-Grizzlies: Chris Paul did his best to carry the Clippers, but beyond a Game 1 buzzer-beater, his scoring wasn’t the winning forumla. After Blake’s injury before Game 4, the Clips didn’t have enough fire power to compete. Credit the Grizz, though. Gasol’s ability to anchor the defense, Conley’s steady play against CP3, Randolph’s mind games with Griffin, and Tony Allen’s all-court play all proved important to their first round victory.
- Hero: Zach Randolph
- Goat: Blake Griffin
- Line of the Series: Matt Barnes shot 11 for 14 from the field en route to 30 points and 10 boards in Game 6.
Nuggets-Warriors: Bad ankles, double teams, and hitmen couldn’t stop Steph Curry. After David Lee went down, Mark Jackson moved Harrison Barnes to the power forward spot as a stretch four. The experiment worked–Golden State shot over 40% from three from the series and won in six games. Ty Lawson played great and Andre Miller hit a game winner, but none of it was enough to overcome the red-hot Dubs.
- Hero: Stephen Curry
- Goat: Corey Brewer or Wilson Chandler, take your pick
- Line of the Series: Curry poured in 30 points (13-23 FG) to go along with 13 assists in a crucial Game 2 win in Denver.
Spurs-Lakers: The least exciting of the eight series ended with a Spurs sweep of the Lakers. So much for “classic rivalry.” Dwight Howard got ejected from Game 4, giving the world a head start on speculating what will come of his 2013 free agency.
- Hero: The Spurs’ organization and health
- Goat: The Lakers’ season and lack of health
- Line of the Series: Duncan went for a cool 26 (12-16 FG), 9, and 3 in Game 3.
What to look for in the second round…
- Can the Bulls put a serious scare into the Heat after stealing Game 1?
- Which Melo and J.R. Smith will show up against the tough Indy defense?
- Can the hot-shooting Warriors continue their magic against a veteran Spurs team?
- Can a Westbrook-less Thunder defend their Western Conference crown against the a bruising Grizzlies team?
We’ll have to wait and see how those questions play out. In the mean time, enjoy the second round!
Who are your picks to win, both the playoffs and the AGR tourney? Comment on the article or e-mail us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook.