The first round of the NBA playoffs is officially over and the conference semifinals are underway. The first round wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination. There were awful blowouts and injuries killed teams like the Celtics, Mavericks, Grizzlies, and the Clippers. Here are the good, the bad, and the ugly from each series in the 1st round.
the Boston Celtics vs the Atlanta Hawks (ATL 4-2)
Good: The intensity and competitiveness in TD Garden arena was magnificent (games 3 & 4). Maybe because it was because Boston actually showed up and decided to play like the playoff team they are. In game 3 Boston started off strong with a 37-20 lead after 1. Atlanta climbed back in it but was outscored by 7 in the 4th. Isaiah Thomas scored 42, his playoff career high as a Celtic won 111-103, and game 4 was so good, it needed overtime. Boston came out victorious 104-95 behind Isaiah’s 28 points. Paul Millsap had an amazing game, scoring 45 points along with 13 rebounds. Boston’s answer to Millsap’s outburst was Marcus Smart. They put him on Millsap and it worked wonders as Smart held him to 1-10 shooting for the remainder of the game.
Bad: I truly believe the injury to Avery Bradley changed the direction of this series. Bradley is Boston’s best perimeter defender, 2nd best scorer and a really good 3 point shooter. If Bradley doesn’t get hurt in game 1 Boston would’ve won the series in my opinion.
Ugly: Isaiah Thomas was just that on the road this series… BAD. He averaged 16.7ppg, 4.3apg, 2.3rpg on 31.3% shooting. Apposed to at home where he averaged 31.7ppg, 5.7apg, 3.7rpg on 45% shooting. It’s absolutely unacceptable for your best player to play so bad on the road. Not surprising that they lost the 3 road games they played.
the Detroit Pistons vs the Cleveland Cavaliers (CLE 4-0)
Good: Kyrie Irving struggled all season after returning from his knee injury. He didn’t struggle even a little bit against Detroit this series. Irving put up 27.5ppg and 4.8apg on 47.1% shooting. Taking the lead scoring role away from LeBron James.
Bad: It was a sweep. A very competitive sweep, but a sweep nonetheless.
Ugly: Reggie Jackson’s shooting at home in the series was abysmal. He shot 37.9% in Detroit while only scoring 13 points per. He also had some bad late game decisions in game 3 and 4.
the Miami Heat vs the Charlotte Hornets (MIA 4-3)
Good: Miami protected home court in game 1 and 2 in a BIG way. Game 1 they shot 57.6% from the field and 50% from the field while scoring 123 points. Luol Deng had 31 points on 11-13 shooting as well. Game 2 Miami shot 57.9% from the field and a blazing 56.2% from the 3 point line!
Bad: Dwyane Wade shot Demar Derozan-Esque in games 3 and 4. He averaged 14.5ppg on 35% shooting.
Ugly : Game 7 was absolutely abysmal for the Charlotte Hornets. They shot 32% from the field and were out rebounded by 58 to 36. Miami had a lead of 38 at one point in the game. The final score was 106-73.
the Toronto Raptors vs the Indiana Pacers (TOR 4-3)
Good: Paul George is back folks! He had a really good regular season but he’s taken his game to the next level in these 2016 playoffs. He averaged 27.2ppg , 7.5rpg, 4.2apg while leading his team on the defensive end as well. He guarded Demar Derozan most of the series.
Bad AND Ugly: I had to combine this one since the back-court and Toronto both played equally bad. Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan didn’t play up to expectations in this series. Lowry was the best point guard in the eastern conference this year during the regular season but against the Pacers he was sub par. 13.8 ppg on 30.8% shooting won’t cut it in the next round of the playoffs. Derozan shot 31% from the field while scoring 17.9 ppg.
the Golden State Warriors vs the Houston Rockets (GSW 4-1)
Good: Golden State played game 2, 4 and 5 without their starting point guard and MVP Steph Curry. Curry hurt his ankle game 1 and came back game 3 and suffered a grade 1 MCL sprain. GSW still won the series in 5 games against the James Harden led Rockets. Golden State looks just as good without Curry as they do with him.
Bad: Steph Curry’s injury will leave him out for two weeks. It’s estimated that he will be back in action around game 5 of the next round against the Portland Trailblazers.
Ugly: The Houston Rockets have had an ugly season and had a ugly series. Lots of folks put it all on James Harden as the reason for the Rockets problems. Harden didn’t play bad (aside from game 5 when he played amazing) averaging 24.5ppg, 8apg, 5rpg, with 4.8tpg (turnovers) on 37% shooting.
the San Antonio Spurs vs the Memphis Grizzlies (SAS 4-0)
Good: The Spurs took care of business. They didn’t get lackadaisical against a lesser team and drop a game or two. Yeah, I know it wasn’t a lot to choose for “good” in this series.
Bad: Injuries are what basically killed Memphis. Their two best players Marc Gasol and Mike Conley were both injured prior to the series. Would they have made a huge difference in the outcome of the series? Probably not. It would’ve made the series a lot more enjoyable to watch though.
Ugly: Memphis ran out a starting lineup of Jordan Farmer, Vince Carter, Matt Barnes, Zach Randolph, and Chris (Birdman) Anderson. Ugly.
the Oklahoma City Thunder vs the Dallas Mavericks (OKC 4-1)
Good: It was good seeing KD and Russell back together in the playoffs again. It was also really nice seeing Dirk school the young boys again. Dirk averaged 21.5ppg, 6.5rpg on 57% shooting.
Bad: Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner said “I think he’s an All-Star but not a superstar,” about Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. Westbrook put up 36 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists the very next game.
Ugly: Kevin Durant shot terribly the entire series against Dallas. Durant averaged 26 points on 36% shooting. The worst shooting series of Durant’s playoff career BY FAR. He also shot 26% from the 3 point line. Below average basketball for KD’s standard of greatness.
the Portland Trailblazers vs the Los Angeles Clippers (POR 4-2)
Good: The Blazers are the feel good story of the playoffs in my book. The team lost 4 starters and still made it to the playoffs. Coach Terry Stotts, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum deserve lots of praise.
Bad: Austin Rivers had a gruesome eye injury in-game 6 that required 11 stitches. He came back in the game but the injury wasn’t a pleasant sight to see.
Ugly: Chris Paul and Blake Griffin BOTH got hurt and are now out for the rest of the playoffs. As soon as it looks like the Clippers are finally going to get a break (Steph Curry injury) it goes all wrong for them.