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Last Night In The NBA: First Day Playoffs Recap

New Orleans Pelicans v Portland Trail Blazers - Game One

Happy Sunday everybody and welcome to another edition of Last Night In The NBA Playoff Edition. With a few hours to go until today’s games kick off, I figured if you actually did things yesterday and didn’t sit around and watch basketball, that this would be a great time to get together and talk about what we saw. As you know we had 4 games yesterday, and really just one wasn’t that entertaining. In my opinion the opening day of the 2018 NBA Playoffs lived up to the hype, and here’s what happened

Warriors 113 vs Spurs 92 (GS leads 1-0)

It was a bit annoying that the first game of the day was probably the least exciting of the four, but that’s what Golden State domination looks like. I don’t know what Draymond is talking about saying how everybody disrespected what they are capable of, I’m pretty sure everyone with a brain has them in the Finals or at least the WCF so that was a little weird. Once they actually got on the court you saw why, with their main guys like Durant (24/8/7), Klay (27 on 11-13 shooting) and Green (12/8/11) all  having their way with the Spurs defense. Add in a little JaVale McGee for good measure, and this was a complete beatdown

You simply can’t hang with this team when they shoot the ball like this. 54/45% splits was solid, and the fact that they ONLY made 10 threes and had this sort of lead is a little frightening. They got off to that 28-17 start in the first quarter and never looked back. If you are looking to set a tone, a wire to wire win to kick off a series isn’t a bad way to do it.

For SA, look this was about as poor an offensive showing as we’ll see from them. Just one starter in double figures in LMA who had just 14 points and 2 rebounds on 5-12 shooting, they actually only had three players on their entire roster finish in double figures.

If SA is going to have a chance, they obviously need to shoot the ball better we all know that, but that’s the problem when you rely heavily on isolation scoring. They were killed on the glass 57-40, killed in terms of assists with a 32-19 difference, and they allowed the Warriors to score 19 points of their turnovers. What about that performance would give the Spurs the idea they can hang with a team of this caliber?

Pop has a lot of work ahead of him, and while things will drastically shift if they are able to split up in GS, I don’t see it happening.

Washington Wizards 106 vs Toronto Raptors 114 (TOR leads 1-0)

It looked shaky for about 24 minutes, but the Raptors came out in that second half looking more like themselves and ultimately just waited for the Wizards to puke on themselves, which they of course did. If you’re a TOR fan you’re feeling good because not only did you win your first Game 1 in 11 tries, but you did it with Lowry/DeRozan playing pretty average

Together they shot just 10-26, but it was the supporting cast that was more than ready to pick up the slack. First there was Serge Ibaka and his 23/12 on 8-11 shooting, what a gigantic performance that was

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And then it was time for the TOR bench mob to come in and boy did they leave their mark. CJ Miles knocking down 4 3PM on his way t0 12 points off the bench, then Delon Wright coming out of nowhere to drop 18

Even without Fred VanVleet the TOR bench showed why they are the best unit in the league. I would say 42 points on 14-25 shooting in a high pressure playoff situation is pretty impressive stuff.

For WSH, more of the same really. John Wall and Beal struggled with their efficiency going 14-37, and while Wall had a nice looking box score of 23/15, he faded big time down the stretch

Markieff Morris did his best to pick up the slack, going for 22/6 on 9-15 shooting

But it wasn’t enough. Getting absolutely nothing from their main bench guys in Oubre Jr (1-4) and Satoransky (0-3) is a problem, and one that Wizards fans have been seeing for years. They were in this game up until the fourth quarter, another common WSH problem, and they are going to have to figure out how to make sure Beal/Wall aren’t so tired at the end of games. John Wall is a fantastic player, but you get him late in a ball game and he is just running on empty. That’s not his fault, that’s more a roster and Scott Brooks fault, but since when has Brooks been good with rotations? It feels a little Thibs like.

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Miami Heat 103 vs Philadelphia 76ers 130 (PHI leads 1-0)

Holy shit Sixers. I mean holy fucking shit. If you are looking for which fan base feels the best this morning, it’s PHI fans no question. How could you not? After hearing all about MIAs defense and how youth might struggle in the playoffs, they came out and shook their dick all over Pat Riley’s face. I mean you can hate the Sixers all you want, but you cannot watch this performance and not shake your head and give them credit. They were quite simply, awesome

Ben Simmons with a more than solid 17/9/14, Redick with 28 points on 8-13 shooting, Saric with 20/6/3 on 8-15, then things went to the bench and Ilyasova and Belinelli were RIDICULOUS. Marco had the best playoff performance of his life with a career high in points and 3PM, and Ilyasova had just a measly 17/14, no big deal.

You combine that with what was for sure the loudest crowd we saw yesterday, and for the 17th straight time, everything continues to come up PHI. Meanwhile, they’ll be adding some guy named Joel Embiid soon, who some may say is pretty decent at this sport called basketball.

For MIA, look at least they have Playoff Olynyk who legit fucking rules

Other than that though, yikes. Goran Dragic had a night he for sure would like to forget, going just 4-14 from the field with 4 TOs. The Heat didn’t shoot that poorly, they finished with 44/46% splits, but their problem was TOs and a lack of defense. They allowed PHI to score 74 points in the second half, a number that is a bit staggering when you consider how solid of a defensive team MIA was all year. But this is what happens when you’re up against a momentum wave like PHI was yesterday.

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It didn’t help that Whiteside was a complete non factor, and the same can be said for Josh Richardson, who went 1-7. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if MIA doesn’t figure this shit out quick, it could be a much shorter series than many of us thought.

New Orleans Pelicans 97 vs Portland Trail Blazers 95 (NO leads 1-0)

If you stayed up, you were not disappointed. A matchup that had our lowest line of the night going in produced by far the closest game of the night, which is something that POR seems to do a lot. If you watched them during the year you know they always seemed to be in these one possession games. Talk about stress. Unfortunately, the Pelicans came into their building ready to execute and while AD got things started with a little 35/14 on 14-26 shooting

The real story here was the play of the guards. Offensively, Playoff Rondo and Jrue Holiday were awesome, defensively they were even better

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If NO was going to have a chance, their guards were going to have to have nights like this. They completely shut down Dame/CJ, and we saw play after play of why Jrue Holiday will probably make 1st Team All Defense. Holiday’s block obviously sealed the win, but even some of the plays before, like his deflection and steal in transition were huge plays down the stretch.

Also it feels awesome to watch Rondo go all Playoff Rondo and have it not be against the team you root for. I will forever be in debt to Playoff Rondo, when the lights are on and it’s time to try, he turns into a different animal.

For POR, look a big fourth quarter brought them back into the game

but this was about as poor late game execution as you’ll see. I can get initially being down 3 with 12 seconds left to try and go for the quick two. But once the play choice, a tough pass to a cutting Meyers Leonard was a bit confusing. Then on their next play, to go for two AGAIN with like 6 seconds left, this time to Pat Connaughton, was also confusing. Did they forget CJ/Dame are on this team? Did they know they were down 3 and not 2? For as great of a year coaching as Terry Stotts has had, it felt like he pooped his pants here a little bit.

As a team the 37/30% splits are a problem, and now that they’ve lost home court it’s safe to be a little on edge as a POR fan. You cannot afford to go down 0-2, but remember NO was 24-17 on the road this year, which was the 3rd best in the entire West. It’s entirely possible.

And that’s it! You’re now caught up on everything that happened yesterday on the first day of the NBA Playoffs. We’re back at it with 4 more games today, so enjoy your Sunday and if you miss anything just check back here tomorrow and I’ll fill you in.