Folks, the first round is over. We were treated to a little bit of everything–sweeps, upsets, game-winners, posterizations, and close series. Before diving in, let’s take a look at the state of affairs in the BSB(R).
Allow AGR to unpack this suitcase full of colors, texts, and shapes.
- No one in this year’s competition predicted every series winner. However, the following people should feel proud to have predicted 7 out of 8: David Gold, Bernie “Cousy” Chovitz, Darwin Guevarra, Zach “Murda” Mason, Thomas Lewis, Jesse Gainsburg, and yours truly, Izzy.
- Among those folks above, four are tied for first with 43 points: Zach, Michael Hall, Thomas, and Izzy. Two of those four are going on a bike trip around lake Michigan, meaning the BSB(R) could result in weeks of relentless trash talk.
- Only one person, Tim, correctly picked the Blazers to win. You dog, Tim.
- Issei and Jeremy round out our bottom two, with 24 points apiece. Issei has an excuse, as he picks the Rockets no matter the matchup; Jeremy, on the other hand, was a straight struggle-fest. Better luck next year!
And now, onto a quick recap of the first round…
First Round: East
Cavs-Pistons: Most of us predicted the Pistons to get a game, but the Cavs were all business. It didn’t help matters that the Pistons needlessly poked the bear with relatively weak and unfounded trash talk. The Pistons have a young core, so they’ll be fine going forward, but for now they were one of LeBron’s classic first-round appetizers.
- Hero: LeBron James
- Goat: Stanley Johnson
- Line of the series: LeBron had 22 points on 9-17 shooting, to go along with 6 boards, 11 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, and 1 turnover.
Hawks-Celtics: The Celtics put up a fight–they nearly stole Game 1 in Atlanta and they gutted out an epic overtime victory at home–but the experience, talent, and defensive prowess of the Hawks proved overwhelming. Not helping matters was the fact that the C’s lost Avery Bradley after Game 1. Isaiah Thomas tried to pick up the slack on offense, but ultimately the Hawks hit their stride and won Game 6 in Boston.
- Hero: Isaiah Thomas
- Goat: Avery Bradley’s hamstring
- Line of the series: Millsap had a monster game of 45 points (19-31 FG), 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 4 blocks. Mammoth shit, right there.
Heat-Hornets: It was a back-and-forth series, with three blowouts sandwiching four close games, but the Heat prevailed despite falling down 3-2. Not unlike in the Hawks-Celtics series, talent and experience prevailed. Charlotte managed to play smart–they didn’t turn it over and they got to the free throw line–but they struggled from the field while Miami thrived. It ended ugly 33-point blowout win for the Heat, who played like they want to play into June.
- Hero: Dwyane Wade and his Game 6 heroics
- Goat: Everyone Hornet not named Kemba
- Line of the series: Luol Deng put up 31 points and 7 booards on 11-13 FG in a Game 1 romping.
Raptors-Pacers: The first round’s other series that went all 7 games “felt” the closest, with no team ever holding a two-game lead over the other. Pressure mounted on Toronto after dropping Game 1, their fans fearing yet another first-round exit. The key moment in the series was Game 5, when Toronto outscored Indy 25-9 in the fourth quarter to secure a 3-point win. The Pacers played good D and even scored well, but the Raptor’s rebounding was the difference-maker in the series.
- Hero: Paul George, despite losing
- Goat: Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, despite winning
- Line of the series: Paul George went of for 39 points on 11-19 FG (5-11 from deep, 12-12 FT), 8 boards, 8 assists, 2 steals and a block in Game 5.
First Round: West
Warriors-Rockets: This series was more “exciting” than it needed to be, with the only suspense having to do with Steph Curry’s injuries. First, he hurt an ankle in Game 1 which caused him to miss Game’s 2 and 3. Then, he sprained his MCL in Game 4, preventing him from playing for the remainder of the series. Meanwhile, the Dubs proved that they’re not a one-man show, with Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston, and Draymond Green picking up most of the slack. They outplayed the Rockets in nearly every way, and they even set an NBA record in Game 4 with 21 made threes.
- Hero: Klay Thompson
- Goat: Trevor Ariza
- Line of the series: Harden put up 35 points, 9 assists, and 8 boards, including a game winner, in the Rockets sole win over the Warriors.
Clippers-Blazers: No other series embodied the word “tragedy” more than this one. The Clippers were ready to roll with Blake Griffin finally back in the roster after a season of injuries. But after going up 2-1, the Clippers lost BG/CP3 to injuries in Game 4; they’d never recover, losing that game and the next two. The Blazers got solid contributions from Lillard, McCollum, and Plumlee, but they would likely have lost without the superstars going down.
- Hero: The Blazers’ backcourt
- Goat: The human body
- Line of the series: Chris Paul did his thing in Game 1, posting 28 points on 10-19 shooting, 11 assists, 6 boards, and 2 steals in a blowout win.
Thunder-Mavs: It was a testy series considering these two teams lack a history and are unevenly matched. The Mavs managed to steal Game 2 in OKC, but they were no match for the Thunder. The only real drama came from physical play between the two teams (Durant was ejected in Game 4) and Mark Cuban publicly suggesting that Durant is the only true superstar on the Thunder.
- Hero: Russell Westbrook
- Goat: Mark Cuban
- Line of the series: Russell Westbrook had a monster closeout Game 5, hanging 36 points (13-23 FG), 12 rebounds, and 9 assists on the Mavs.
Spurs-Grizz: The decimated Grizzlies never stood a chance against this year’s historic Spurs team. Rather than waste time writing analysis, I’ll link you all here to these cute pictures of Grizzly bears.
- Hero: Kawhi Leonard
- Goat: The human body
- Line of the series: Kawhi did Kawhi things, putting up 32 points, 7 boards, 2 assists, 4 steals and 5 blocks in Game 3.
It wouldn’t be AGR without a top 10 video, so here’s to the top 10 plays of the first round:
What to look for in Round 2:
- Will the struggling Raptors’ backcourt once again disappoint en route to an early playoff exit?
- Will we continue to see “playoff Wade”?
- Will the Cavs continue to fire on all cylinders (hint: they already broke the record for threes in a playoff game)
- Can the Hawks defend LeBron?
- When will Curry return and what shape will he be in?
- How will Popovich defend KD and Russ?
In a couple weeks you can check back in for a second round recap and an updated BSB(R) standings.
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