No surprise for the San Antonio Spurs who did have a game plan, but managed to ride the coattails of Tim Duncan down the stretch as they win their Game 1 of their series against the Dallas Mavericks, 90-85. The Mavericks shut down the Spurs’ perimeter shooters, but did not contain Duncan. That was a crucial point. The Golden State Warriors stole Game 1 from the L.A. Clippers, but the Clips took back Game 2 in dramatic fashion. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were factors in the Clippers’ win over Golden State. The defending NBA champions Miami Heat win Game 1 of their first round series against the Charlotte Bobcats, 99-88. Or at least that’s what the score is. Dwyane Wade came back from his injury to contribute in the Heat win. The Washington Wizards won the first game of their playoff series against the Chicago Bulls 102-93 and boy, did Nene, the power forward for the Wizards come up big. Knowing Joakim Noah was going to have a huge game for the Bulls, Nene prepared to defend him with all he has got. Brooklyn won Game 1 against the Toronto Raptors, because Paul Pierce showed up to play. This is the primary reason why the Nets signed Pierce and Kevin Garnett. So they could hit their big shots and their veteran leadership was shown in light of that. Oklahoma City won Game 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies, but Tony Allen’s perimeter d on Kevin Durant keyed the Grizzlies’ Game 2 victory. The Atlanta Hawks stole Game 1 from Indiana in Indianapolis, which was a big shock. Portland wins in overtime against the Houston Rockets 122-120 which was an exciting game. LaMarcus Aldridge scored a playoff career high 46 points on 17-for-31 shooting in that game. I am surprised by the Bulls’ loss, because I expected Joakim Noah to have a big game and I also expected Indiana to bring their ‘A’ game as well. I expect both Chicago and Indiana to bounce back. Expect the scoring champ Kevin Durant to bring his ‘A’ game in Game 3 in Memphis.
Three new NBA teams are showing up for the playoffs, the Charlotte Bobcats, the Toronto Raptors, and the Washington Wizards. The Wizards are really behind John Wall on him having a terrific year. The Bobcats are banking in with Kemba Walker doing the heavy lifting in Charlotte. Don’t be surprised if Toronto actually wins a playoff series this year. They are for real. The Raptors are gunning behind Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, and DeMar DeRozan. No surprises for the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, or the Memphis Grizzlies making the playoffs again. I like how the Golden State Warriors have made a late stride toward making a push for the playoffs. Don’t expect the Warriors to make a bigger push with David Lee and Stephen Curry trying to pull late night heroics.
Kevin Durant is on a tear. He is a pure scorer, a scoring machine, a do-it-all, this small forward can really put the ball in the basket. Nothing stops his determination and passion when he is out there on the court scoring at will. What makes him among the great leading basketball scorers? His love for the game. Don’t get me wrong, he will never attain the championship levels that Michael Jordan did, but he will reach those accolades that Jordan achieved during his lifetime. Durant is a basketball machine who shows passion and will with his drives to the basket and his shooting touch from three-point line is unparalleled, because his shot is hard to block. No one has found a way to stop Durant from getting his points, because the scoring performances he has put on are unmatched to perform with.
Tom Thibodeau’s squad of fearless and relentless and determined players are heading to the NBA playoffs and they want to surprise the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. Out is Luol Deng traded to Cleveland. What becomes of the Bulls’ band of soldiers led by Joakim Noah? They have not accepted that this Bulls team isn’t the dynasty that had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and had role players who knew what they needed to do. This is a band of Bulls who don’t have a role in the NBA and are surprisingly giving us a few nods and shakes because of Noah’s physical activity and Taj Gibson’s energy. Joakim Noah is rallying up the team with his spirit and fearlessness. If anything, I don’t think anybody would like to face the Chicago Bulls in the first round, because they are scrappy and hate to lose a basketball game.
The Oklahoma City Thunder signed an acquisition in Caron Butler. What the Thunder want in Butler’s services are his veteran presence and savvy court leadership. Another pressing issue is now that Russell Westbrook is gone with a knee injury. Hurt from his performance against the Toronto Raptors recently, Westbrook’s knee flared up. Despite Westbrook’s injury, Kevin Durant scored 51 points in the Thunder’s double overtime win against the Raptors. This will test Kevin Durant. How will he survive without Westbrook? He must persist in leading Oklahoma City to victory in all of their games. Durant is scoring the way Scottie Pippen is scoring. If Durant isn’t scoring a Michael-Jordanlike performance, then he is doing it the new generation of basketball is doing.
Lebron James sets a Miami Heat record of 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats on March 4. This may be one of the best performances that Lebron James may have of his career. James may need more scoring baskets to catch Kevin Durant, the forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder to be the regular season MVP.
For Eric Gordon, this has been an unfulfilled season for him. Unlike moments where he can hit a game-winning shot, nothing comes easy for the New Orleans Pelicans. A losing season and an All-Star appearance for Anthony Davis says something about their win-loss record. Whatever the Pelicans can sanction from here, they must be able to stay tuned to all the things they have acclaimed since they were the New Orleans Hornets. Before they changed their name, the Pelicans were a team from North Carolina who knew how to play basketball. From Anthony Davis to Eric Gordon to Jrue Holiday and Jason Smith and Ryan Anderson to Tyreke Evans, nothing comes easy for these players starring. What is here to make of it stays here in the Pelicans’ fortunes of landing a franchise player in the future.