2015 NBA Playoffs Weekend Round-Up
The 2015 NBA Playoffs kicked off this past weekend and featured some great games and interesting first round match-ups. Let’s take a took at some of the action and results over a frantic weekend of NBA basketball.
If you like basketball, you probably didn’t get out much this weekend as four first round match-ups were played on Saturday and Sunday.
(4) Toronto Raptors vs. (5) Washington Wizards
Paul Pierce called out the Toronto Raptors for not having the “IT” factor and he proved to speak the truth, at least in the first game.
In a game when Washington’s young backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal struggled and shot 11-for-40 from the field, the 37-year-old veteran Paul Piece provided the stability and confidence that everyone else on the court appeared to be lacking. Piece shot an efficient 7-for-10 from the field and scored 20 points in Washington’s overtime victory.
The talented guards of Toronto, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Terrance Ross, are going to have to play smarter and shoot better if they hope to even the series this week.
(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (8) New Orleans Pelicans
In a game in which the final score was a lot closer than the actual competition, the dominant Golden State Warriors had too much offensive firepower for the Pelicans. The entire starting five of the Warriors scored in double figures and also played a sound defensive game making Anthony Davis uncomfortable for the first three quarters.
Davis erupted late in the game scoring a majority of his 35 points in the 4th quarter. The Pelicans are going to need Tyreke Evans to be able to play in this series if they are going to be competitive. Evans left the game after sustaining a knee injury and his status is uncertain at the moment.
(3) Chicago Bulls vs. (6) Milwaukee Bucks
Derrick Rose played his first playoff game in three years and provided energy and emotion to the team and to the Chicago fans.
The Chicago Bulls are the more talented team and they played like it over the weekend against a young and inexperienced Bucks’ roster. In a game in which Paul Gasol struggled from the field, Jimmy Butler provided a big 25 points from the Chicago backcourt.
The Bucks are going to have to leave their playoff jitters in the hotel room if they are going to have a chance in this series. Khris Middleton had a strong game for the Bucks in the opener with 18 points.
(2) Houston Rockets vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks
James Harden is used to having the ball in his hands and taking the majority of the shots, but in the playoffs his teammates are going to have to contribute and they did just that this past weekend. The Rockets had 7 players score in double figures on their way to victory.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 24 points, but Dallas is going to need to find more contributions off the bench if they are going to compete against the Rockets.
(2) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (7) Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics continued their gritty style of play and hung with the Cavaliers and even had a lead mid-way through the second quarter, however, Boston’s lack of offense and rebounding was too much to overcome.
In his first ever NBA Playoff game, Kyrie Irving scored 30 points and danced around the court at will for most of the game. Lebron James had a standard solid all-around performance and Kevin Love overcame a bad shooting start to finish with a solid game of 19 points and 12 boards.
Isaiah Thomas had another strong game for Boston and finished with 22 points, 10 assists and 5 boards.
(1) Atlanta Hawks vs. (8) Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets would not go away in game 1, but the number one seed Atlanta Hawks found a way to win. Kyle Korver hit 5 three pointers and had 21 points for the game. Al Horford struggled after dislocating his pinky finger and finished 2-for-11 from the field.
Thaddeus Young had a strong game for Brooklyn and finished with 15 points and Joe Johnson added 17 points. The Nets are going to need more from Deron Williams if they are going to win a game in the ATL.
(5) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (4) Portland Trailblazers
Welcome to the Grind House Beno Udrich. Udrich came off the bench to score 20 points and helped the Grizzlies beat the Trailblazers on Sunday evening. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph both had double doubles for Memphis who appeared to overpower the Trailblazers at times.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points for the Trailblazers, but needed 34 shots to get his points. Damien Lillard shot just 5-for-21 from the field and will need to find his range if the Trailblazers are going to have a chance.
(3) Los Angles Clippers vs. (6) San Antonio Spurs
The defending champs San Antonio Spurs find themselves against the ropes after the first game with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers appeared to be the more aggressive and more athletic team in the first game. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin dominated and Jamal Crawford provided a spark off the bench with 17 points.
The Big Three of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili are going to have to find the foundation of youth to keep the Spurs from falling down 0-2 in the series. However, we should know by now to never count out Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs.
Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people. Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.