I gave my NBA playoffs preview here before they started, so feel free to read it and rip it up. Now that the first round is complete, I want to offer some thoughts on it and look ahead to round two.
- So the Clippers disappointed again and lost Game 7 at home to the Utah Jazz Sunday. They’re getting obliterated for it, but no one wants to talk about the loss of Blake Griffin and how it very clearly affected the series. The Clips obviously need to blow it up and we likely won’t see Chris Paul, Deandre Jordan and Blake Griffin on the same team again, but I think they get some undeserved heat. Watching this series, it was painfully clear that they lack reliable shooters in a league where shooting threes is essentially necessary. JJ Redick is their starting shooting guard and literally gave them nothing. He was exposed on both sides of the court. And quite frankly, losing may have been the best thing for them. They are no match for the Warriors and nobody wants to watch them get swept; I’m more interested in which direction the team goes from here.
- John Wall was incredible against the Hawks, and I’m excited to watch this Celtics/Wizards series (1-0 Celtics). The Wiz got off to a hot start, but once they lost Markieff Morris it was over for them — their reserve players are a problem. If Morris comes back and is healthy (says he plans to play in Game 2), this should be a really fun series. But regardless, the first round was awesome for Wizards fans and they should continued be excited about John Wall and Bradley Beal for years to come.
- The Warriors were predictably dominant in the first round, but even I was surprised by how dominant. I think there’s a serious shot they can run the table until the finals despite playing a tough Jazz team and then the winner of Rockets/Spurs.
- The Cavs swept the Pacers and LeBron was incredible. The Game 3, 25-point comeback was amazing to watch, and it was one of the best LeBron performances I have ever seen. I don’t understand how people can watch them and think they have no shot against the Warriors; they have LeBron, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, plus reliable three-point shooters who will have open shots. I think they have a great shot of going back-to-back, and there should be no excuses if they lose. As for the Pacers, just one note: it’s embarrassing that Paul George blew his teammates up in post game conferences, demanded the ball for the last shot of the game, and then hit nothing but backboard to tie the game, instead getting swept. His days are likely numbered in Indiana.
- The Rockets handled the Thunder, but I’m not positive James Harden has been quite the same since injuring his wrist late in the regular season. He’s going to have to play better for them to beat the Spurs, and the Rockets have enough shooters to help him out.
After round one, it’s even tougher to predict anything but Warriors/Cavs for the finals. I don’t see them losing a combined four games, yet alone four losses in one series. And quite frankly, I think it’s a good thing for the NBA. The world’s best player against the best team, and they hate each other. I’m fully on board for the three-peat and hope it comes to fruition.