Yesterday’s NBA games marked the official start to the 2016 NBA playoffs. With four games to mark the start of the playoffs, let’s take a look at the results of each!
Starting off this year’s playoff race is two middle of the pack teams, the Indiana Pacers versus the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors, sitting at second in the Eastern conference, faces the number seven team in the Pacers in Toronto. The Pacers were able to squeeze the Raptors – winning 100-90 and stealing home court advantage from the Raptors. Pacers forward Paul George put up an impressive stat line of 33 points (PTS), 6 assists (AST), 4 steals (STL), and 2 blocks (BLK). The win for the Pacers is not all that surprising with the Raptors coming out very strong this season but falling short as the season came to a close. Once poised to win the Eastern conference, a string of losses had them land at a still impressive number two spot.
The second game of this year’s playoffs was the number Golden State Warriors facing the number eight Houston Rockets. The Rockets were flattened, rolled up, and tossed to the side by the Warriors in an embarrassing 104-78 loss. The Rockets had no answer to Stephen Curry’s 24 pts all in the first half and, even with Curry leaving in the third quarter due to a rolled ankle, they were still blown out. The Rockets simply could not get anything going defensively or offensively and were outclassed, in every aspect, by the defending champions.
Next up was the Boston Celtic,s sitting at the number five spot, versus the Atlanta Hawks, at the four spot, at Atlanta which provided a very exciting game. Atlanta were barely able to get the victory winning with a
score of 102-101. A combination of the Celtics lack of closing ability and the outstanding play of Al Horford, Kent Bazemore and Jeff Teague, who combined for 70 of the 102 points the Hawks scored. The Celtics were unable to find a somebody, at the end of the game, to help close missing a number of go ahead shots that could have provided the victory.
The final game of NBA playoffs day one was the number three Oklahoma City Thunder versus the number six Dallas Mavericks. A blowout win for Thunder who won by 38 points – with a score of 108-70. This victory really showed how dominate the Thunder can be when the big three – Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka – are all clicking and playing well together. The Mavericks only had one player in double digits with Dirk Nowitzki scoring 18 points. The loss thoroughly exposed the holes in the Mavericks offence and defence, but also provides something they can look back on and base improvements from.