Game 1 – Bulls (E1) v. Pacers (E8)
Fantastic effort by the Pacers. Collison wrought havoc in the paint. Hansborough and Granger put up good numbers. Most impressively, they managed to rebound with the league-leading Bulls. But the story of the game wound up being the story of the season… Derrick Rose found a way to win. He really does remind a watcher of Allen Iverson with his ability to penetrate against just about any set defense, but he’s stronger and more explosive than AI, so he’s got a better chance to finish those drives. Amazing come from behind victory for Chicago and a great game to kick off this post-season.
Game 1 Heat (E2) v. Sixers (E7)
Another low seed giving the high seed all it could handle. The 76ers played, I think, as well as could be hoped for, but Miami’s overall talent was just a little too much. Bosh and James controlled the boards and made some very nice plays together moving the ball and finishing in the screen and roll. Wade had a quiet, foul-plagued game until the fourth quarter and then took over down the stretch to secure the win. If Iggie could finish a few more tough shot attempts, this upset might have gone off, and Miami better not sleep on this team who now knows they can compete.
Game 1 Magic (E4) v. Hawks (E5)
I had a feeling about this one before it even started. Atlanta has done a good job against the Magic all season, and I think Boston gave a decent blue-print for how to handle Orlando in last year’s EC Finals. Atlanta subscribed to Doc Rivers defensive philosophy of not helping on Howard or Nelson. Both players went off, but nobody else on the team did anything (the rest of the Magic combined for 20 total points). Howard in particular had a truly phenomenal game, scoring 47 points with 19 rebounds, but as we discussed in the season wrap-up podcast, he didn’t seem to get anything out of his teammates. Is he too silly? Is his ability to pass off the move to mediocre (that ability is what sets a great big apart from an All-Time great big – just ask Coach Popavich and the banners hanging in San Antonio). Great game by Johnson, Horford, and Crawford. Not sure we’re talking upset yet, but it’ll be a serious series.
Game 1 Mavericks (W3) v. Blazers (W6)
Another great game, this one came down to Dirk Nowitzki taking over the last 3 minutes and Jason Kidd going berzerk from the three point line. LaMarcus, G Wallace, and Miller all played really well for Portland, but as things tightened up down the stretch, the big German made the big plays. In the end it’s just a hard-fought home win for Dallas, but with all the calls for a series upset that we’ve seen in the media, it felt like a big deal. This is another series that promises to go deep and be very entertaining.
Great first day!