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Blog Entry

Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

Posted on: April 18, 2011 1:47 pm
 
Ranking the Game 1s in an epic opening weekend of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. 
Posted by Matt Moore




What a weekend, huh? The NBA's first round is often looked at with a "ho-hum" response most years. Not in 2011. The opening weekend we had three upsets, two near-upsets, and the other three games were close right down to the finish. It may have been the best opening weekend of the playoffs in league history. So we thought we'd look back and rank the eight Game 1s on a level of awesomeness. 

8. Miami 97 Philadelphia 89: Leave it to the Heat to give us the least interesting game of the weekend. It says a lot that the worst game of the weekend was one in which the 7th seed lead after the first quarter and made a serious run in the 4th before falling to the power of Wade. This one suffered from letdown, having to follow the Pacers-Bulls insanity of the opening game, and with the Heat grinding out a tough one against a feisty Sixers team, the playoff intensity didn't really shine through, no matter how much Chris Bosh (rightfully) yelled. 

7. Atlanta 103 Orlando 93: Again, how amazing is it when a game where Dwight Howard scores 45 points isn't even in the top half of the games? Howard was incredible, and watching the Hawks' energy was really infectious, but the game itself wasn't as compelling. The Magic's shooting, combined with the Hawks casual dominance, was enough to overcome the thrill factor of watching Howard dominate in what would have been a classic performance. This series looks like it might be mighty interesting overall, but matched up against the insanity of the top, it didn't hold. 

6. Dallas 89 Portland 81: A good game of runs, featuring a furious fourth quarter comeback by the Mavs behind a vintage Dirk Nowitzki clutch performance. The Blazers had about fifty alley-oops in this one, and the game featured a Jason Kidd 3-point barrage for crying out loud. It had everything you look for in a classic, right down to a series of questionable calls that will probably get the visiting coach fined for his post-game comments. The Mavericks hang on, but everyone has to think this is going to be a long, great series based off of Game 1. 

5. New Orleans 109 Los Angeles 100: The defending champs, the second seed in the West, falls to a seventh seed team without its second best player behind one of the best point guard performances in recent history, and it's not even in the top half. This one would have been higher if the Lakers had made any effort whatsoever. They did not. A truly pathetic defensive effort individually, systemically, categorically from the Lakers. It was exciting due to the Hornets pulling off a huge upset. But the game itself was a massive conglomeration of defensive fail by the Lakers. Now, if we're ranking top performances of the Game 1s? Paul's got a case for the top spot. 

4. Oklahoma City 107 Denver 103: Maybe the best played game of the opening weekend. It was an offensive slugfest where every time a team thought they had made the play to put the other one away, the opponent would respond. An incredible effort from Kevin Durant (41 points, 9 rebounds) who was simply unstoppable, and a heroic game from Nene, fighting off a knee injury to nearly push the Nuggets to the win. It came down to a series of tough, tough shots from the Thunder and a questionable non-call. If it weren't for the drama of the top three, this would have easily taken the top spot. 

3. Memphis 101 San Antonio 98: The 8th seed gets a win versus the top seed in the West, earning their first ever franchise win with a Shane Battier 3-pointer and a last second miss from Richard Jefferson.  The actual game featured a ton of free throws, but it also featured scrappy play, great aggression on the perimeter, vintage Tim Duncan, and brilliant interior offense from Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The world didn't know who the Grizzlies were on Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon they had a pretty good look. 

2. Chicago 104 Indiana 99: The team with the worst record in the playoffs leads all the way until the very end, when the presumptive MVP leads a furious 16-1 comeback run capped off by a drive-and-kick assist to the little-known crack 3-point assassin for the win, destroying what would have been one of the biggest Game 1 upsets in history. What more can you say about Derrick Rose? What more can you say about how heartbreaking the game was for the Pacers? What more can you ask for in the first game of an incredible weekend? The Bulls' defensive effort was severely lacking, the Pacers' offense was impressively on target. It had all the makings of a magical upset. And yet the cliches come a-running in. Big-time players make big-time plays. Derrick Rose made the plays. 

1. Boston 87 New York 85: I assure you this isn't big-market bias. You can check my zipcode if you want proof of that. This game had everything. The juggernaut struggling to get its feet under it. The impressive upset bid from the upstart New York team. The defending Eastern Conference champs buckling down and doing what they do best, creating opportunities for borderline calls and turnovers, then crunching down on shooting percentages. Amar'e Stoudemire takes KG to the rack. The twisting layup. Toney Douglas' step-back 3-pointer. And of course, Ray Allen, Ray Allen, Ray Allen. Throw in the dramatics of Carmelo Anthony's failures and how close the Knicks came towards that big step forward and you've got the best Game 1 in a weekend full of them. 

Let us know where we screwed up in the comments. 
Comments

Since: Apr 26, 2007
Posted on: April 22, 2011 3:54 pm
 

Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

dap-perry, your justification for the language that Bryant used was okay because it is in the dictionary.  You disapproved of his use of the f-bomb, which I simply pointed out is also in the MW dictionary.  Your point of it being okay to use a word because it's in the dictionary is off-the-wall crazy.  I am willing to take a wild guess and assume you don't use the n-word in your everyday conversation, but I don't know you, so that may be a part of your vocabulary.  But that's okay too, it's in the dictionary.

I don't really care if Kobe used the word faggot, I don't really hold it to the definition that MW has in its dictionary.  Unfortunately for Kobe, there are a lot of people who do find it offensive to gays.  For the NBA to react the way they did is completely justified.  Kobe is one of the 3 or 4 people that are the face of the NBA, everyone who watches any sort of news syndicate saw it, (it was everywhere the day it happened) and the NBA had to do something to calm the general public.  Action-reaction, it's what we do.

As for you being a homophobe, that is what is called a sarcastic joke.  I know it doesn't come off that way because you are reading it, but until someone comes up with sarcastic font, you will have to deal with trying to figure out how I meant it.  Plus, homophobe is in the dictionary, so of all people, you should be defending my right to use it how I see fit.






Since: Apr 26, 2007
Posted on: April 19, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

dap-perry, your justification for the language that Bryant used was okay because it is in the dictionary.  You disapproved of his use of the f-bomb, which I simply pointed out is also in the MW dictionary.  Your point of it being okay to use a word because it's in the dictionary is off-the-wall crazy.  I am willing to take a wild guess and assume you don't use the n-word in your everyday conversation, but I don't know you, so that may be a part of your vocabulary.  But that's okay too, it's in the dictionary.

I don't really care if Kobe used the word faggot, I don't really hold it to the definition that MW has in its dictionary.  Unfortunately for Kobe, there are a lot of people who do find it offensive to gays.  For the NBA to react the way they did is completely justified.  Kobe is one of the 3 or 4 people that are the face of the NBA, everyone who watches any sort of news syndicate saw it, (it was everywhere the day it happened) and the NBA had to do something to calm the general public.  Action-reaction, it's what we do.

As for you being a homophobe, that is what is called a sarcastic joke.  I know it doesn't come off that way because you are reading it, but until someone comes up with sarcastic font, you will have to deal with trying to figure out how I meant it.  Plus, homophobe is in the dictionary, so of all people, you should be defending my right to use it how I see fit.




Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:02 pm
 

Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

niklah9,
Why do you insist on labelling everyone who thinks homosexuality is immoral to be a "homophobe". There are literally hundreds of millions of people accross the world who think the same.  Now there are some nut cases out there who want to make it illegal, deprive gays of their civil liberties, etc. I, like most people with traditional values, reject this type of thing thoroughly. I take the Boy Scout policy "Tolerance for diversity of values does not require abdication of one's own values"




Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2011 12:38 am
 

Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

Technically, it WAS the ref's fault Allen was that open... because they allowed Garnett to get away with blatantly tripping Douglas on the screen- which is what myself and others have been saying.  And it is one thing to "let them play", but they were not "letting them play" when they called the foul on Melo.  Yes, the Knicks blew another big lead... yes, Melo missed a potential winning shot... yes, they gave up a terrible lob pass on the in-bound play...  yes, the Celtics came back and stole a win.  But if you're going to say the inconsistency that the refs showed in the final minutes of that game had nothing to do with it, then you are flat out wrong. 

And for the record, I'm pretty sure when the Knicks (or other NY teams) lost in the past, they would blame anybody but the refs.  Nobody is harder or more expectant of their athletes than the Big Apple.  They are great at laying blame in the NY media, and fan-base, no matter which team you talk about.  Blame Jordan and his double-nickel in his 2nd game back...  Blame John Starks for missing about a billion threes in '94 against the Rockets in the final 2 games.  Blame Rivera for the 1 blown World Series save against the Diamondbacks in the deciding game 7.  But in this case, the refs have to be considered partially (no matter how small you feel that part was) to blame for two terrible judgments in the final minutes, that both favored the Celtics.  End of story.



Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: April 18, 2011 11:29 pm
 

Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

Regarding my last post, I accidentally said "politically incorrect filth." I meant politically correct filth. Oh, am I homophobic? ABSOLUTELY. I reject homosexuality, and homosexuals, completely.



Since: Nov 14, 2009
Posted on: April 18, 2011 10:39 pm
 

Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

It's always the ref's fault unless New York wins.  Was it the ref's fault that Ray Allen was wide open for three.  Not to mention, there was PLENTY of time for New York to win that game.  They didn't need Carmelo's moronic three.  There's still plenty of basketball to watch, and I wouldn't be surprised if this series goes seven games.  Cheer up.  Maybe Spike Lee has some extra tissues for you.



Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: April 18, 2011 10:26 pm
 

Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

I totally agree Chiefs-  they should start doing something about the flopping.  Like calling fouls for it.  Pierce's flop against Melo was ridiculous, and Garnett DEFINITELY tripped Douglas.  But from what I hear, that's the way it goes (and always has) with referees for Celtics games.  Too bad, cause you're right about the inconsistency.  There is no way Pierce should have gotten that call when he did, especially when they turn around and ignore what Garnett did.  And don't give me that star player crap.  Dwight Howard got called and a technical as well for his obvious foul, and that was at home too.  Listen... if you're going to call it on one team, has to be called both ways.  Knicks got the shaft.  But even so, they still almost won.  I'm hoping they can match the intensity for game 2.  And I definitely think it will be different when Melo doesn't sit out the entire 1st quarter.  We'll see.  Glad to see Amar'e play the way he did.  He is making Garnett look like a joke.  Should be a sweet series.  I hope the Knicks don't dwell on this loss, cause they can definitely out-play this team.



Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: April 18, 2011 9:14 pm
 

Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

Yea Knicks/Celtic game was great if you like terrible officiating.  Its the same old song with the NBA who picks who it wants to face off in the finals to draw the best ticket demand and tv ratings in their eyes.  The league wants Celtics/Lakers or Lakers/Heat.  The dont want the Mavs or the Spurs or the Thunder anywhere near their finals match up.  Just like in 2002 they sure as hell didnt want to Kings going to the finals.  The refs took care of that awarding 18 Laker free throws down the stretch to like 4 or something in the 4th Quarter of game 7. 
The NBA is equal to another league when it comes to determining its champ and that league is the WWE.  I am still trying to see what the offensive infraction was that they called Melo for in the last 30 seconds of play in a game that was dominated by the Knicks but was allowed to made closer by horrible officiating.  I mean I know I saw the hip check KG laid on Douglas to open up Ray Allen for the winning three, but of course was not called.  Either they both get called or neither get called. 
I wont even mention in the first half the fact that Fat Baby basically fell backwards three feet with the ball when Amare gave him the Ole.  But of course no travel was called and the ball gets kicked out to Pierce for a three.  Its a joke. The NBA has such a good product but the league is a complete joke.  David Stern is a POS!!!




Since: Apr 26, 2007
Posted on: April 18, 2011 8:38 pm
 

Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

BTW - If the NBA wanted to fine Kobe (A player I don't even like) for using the F-Bomb, I have no problem. However, the word "faggot" is in the dictionary () I,for one, will not not fine someone for using a word in a major dictionary. Nor will I leave it to GLADD folk to decide what should and should not be in our dictionaries!
dap-perry, feel free to flip through the dictionary past the fa- section and when you get to the fu- portion of the dictionary, you will see that the f-bomb falls under the "a word in a major dictionary" catagory you hold so highly. 

It's okay if you are homophobic, no one really cares, just don't get hurt feelings when everyone gets on your case for your idiotic posts.



Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: April 18, 2011 8:05 pm
 

Ranking the NBA Playoffs opening weekend games

Comparing slavery based on race (and not on any action) vs. thinking that the act of homosexuality is immoral and unnatural are two completely different things. Get off your political soapbox, and "politically correct" judgemental views.

BTW - If the NBA wanted to fine Kobe (A player I don't even like) for using the F-Bomb, I have no problem. However, the word "faggot" is in the dictionary () I,for one, will not not fine someone for using a word in a major dictionary. Nor will I leave it to GLADD folk to decide what should and should not be in our dictionaries!

 



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