The most anticipated first round series lived up to the hype, punctuated by Chris Paul’s historic game-winner over Tim Duncan in Game 7. Before we recap the first round of the NBA playoffs, let’s take a look at the BSB(R) standings (click to enlarge).
Overwhelming visuals, but manageable with a little help. Here are some BSB(R) first round highlights:
- We have three contestants who predicted every series winner correctly: Abe Morrison (46 points), Rosie Morrison (46), and Dave Attewell (44). Unsurprising, these three are also the tops in points. For those of you wondering, Abe and Rosie are indeed siblings. Somewhere, Annie and Theo are doing tequila shots.
- Our collective pulse about the Wizards, Grizzlies, and Rockets were spot on. As I suspected, however, we underrated the Clips (whose series victory I’ll cover below).
- Last year’s winner, Joe Boob-face (32), won’t be a threat this year. Two-time champ Dan Leifer, however, is one among three people with 43 points despite guessing a series wrong (the others being Issei Nino and Andrew Wise).
- Our current last place is Ralph (20). Considering his Duke Blue Devils won this year’s NCAA tournament, I have no sympathy.
As for the first round of the NBA Playoffs…
First Round: East
Hawks-Nets: The Nets pushed the Hawks a bit more than most anticipated by winning two games. Whether that says more about the Hawks or the Nets is an open question. Either way, the Hawks pulled their act together in their series-clinching rout of the Nets.
- Hero: DeMarre Carroll
- Goat: Thaddeus Young
- Line of the series: Deron Williams dropped 35 points (7-11 3pt), 7 assists, 5 boards, and 3 steals in their Game 4 win over the Hawks
Raptors-Wizards: The only first round series in the East projected to be close was anything but. On the road up North, the Wizards won in overtime to steal Game 1, and the momentum picked up from there. The Wiz swept the Raps, culminating in a Game 4 shellacking of the Raptors. Somewhere along the way, Washington learned how to run a 2015 NBA offense, Paul Pierce became Ned Stark, and Drake entered therapy.
- Hero: John Wall
- Goat: Kyle Lowry
- Line of the series: Wall went for 26 points and 17 assists in their Game 2 win in Toronto.
Cavs-Celtics: Watching LeBron come back to play in the Garden is always fun, but unfortunately the only thing we’ll remember from this four-game sweep was J.R. Smith’s blind fist to Jae Crowder and Love’s devastating shoulder injury. The sweep shouldn’t cause the Celtics to lose sleep–nearly all of the C’s are youngins and they figure to be an improving team in coming years.
- Hero: LeBron James
- Goat: J.R. Smith
- Line of the series: In his return to Boston, James scored 31 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, got 4 steals.
Bulls-Bucks: A surprisingly fun series, the Bucks gave the Bulls a run for their money after falling into an 0-3 hole. The best moment of the series was Jerryd Bayless’s crazy game-winner in Game 4, but the story coming out of it was the Bulls coalescing at the right time, as evidenced by their series-clinching 120-66 point victory in Game 6. (Crazy stat: In that Game 6, the Bulls leading scorer was Dunleavy with 20 points, and only four others scored in double figures. Meanwhile, no one on the Bucks scored 10+.) Like the Celtics, the Bucks have a bright future–especially with the return of Jabari Parker.
- Hero: Jimmy Butler
- Goat: Ersan Ilyasova
- Line of the series: D-Rose went for 34 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals a double-OT Game 3 win over the Bucks.
First Round: West
Warriors-Pelicans: It was fun while it lasted, which felt like the amount of time Curry takes to run down the court and pop a three. The Warriors swept the Pelicans, continuing their dominant play from the regular season. In the process, Steph Curry added to his legend with this absurd buzzer-beater to push Game 3 into overtime. The bright spot for the Pelicans: Anthony Davis looked like the best player in the series.
- Hero: Anthony Davis
- Goat: All other Pelicans
- Line of the series: In the series-clincher, Curry dropped a hyper-efficient 39 points on 20 shots, to go with 9 assists and 8 rebounds.
Blazers-Grizz: Earlier in the season, this series would have seemed like a first round treat. Instead, the Grizzlies suffocated an injury-riddled Blazers and made quick work of them in a five game series. In the process, Mike Conley suffered a nasty face injury that will leave him doubtful for Round 2. Young guns C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard were bright spots for the Blazers, but questions loom large around LaMarcus Aldridge’s free agency.
- Hero: Marc Gasol
- Goat: Arron Afflalo
- Line of the series: Gasol ended the series in style, going for 26-14-3 on 9-15 shooting from the field.
Rockets-Mavs: Not unlike the series above, injuries played a major role in this series–Chandler Parsons went down with a series ending injury, the Rockets missed key players, and Rondo became ill (either physically or mentally, the jury is still out). The Rockets took advantage of the Mavs’ turmoil and knocked them out before they had a chance in five games.
- Hero: James Harden
- Goat: Rajon Rondo
- Line of the series: Harden went bonkers, dropping 42 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds on 15-24 shooting.
Clippers-Spurs: Best for last. In a series that felt like the NBA Finals, the Clippers took down the defending champs in seven games. The series featured Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan dunks, Chris Paul crossovers, vintage Duncan blocks, and Kawhi Leonard dominance. Nothing was more special, though, than watching a hobbled CP3 hit an impossible game-winner over an outstretched Duncan in Game 7. That shot will go down in the history books (and when I say history, I mean US history).
- Hero: Chris Paul and Blake Griffin
- Goat: Tony Parker and Hack-a-Shaq
- Line of the series: It’s almost impossible to choose a single performance, so instead I’ll choose Blake’s absurd series stats: 24.1 points, 13.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.4 blocks.
And finally, a handy-dandy first-round Top 10:
What to look for in Round 2
- Can the Wiz upset the Hawks after winning Game 1 in ATL?
- What will happen between the Love-less Cavs and the physical Bulls?
- Will Chris Paul’s hamstring heal in time for his matchup with the Rockets?
- Will Golden State lose a game this entire playoffs?
Check back in a couple weeks to see how the second round plays out and where you stand in the BSB(R) Tourney. Meanwhile, do me a favor and do the John Wall to help lift the Wiz to Round 2.
Who are your picks to win, both the playoffs and the BSB(R) tourney? Comment on the article or email us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook