Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics 113:100
Boston started very strong, smartly attacking Mozgov and Love. They were equal for a quarter and half, but then on the scene came LeBron James and then Kyrie Irving and they changed the course of the game.
On the whole roster, Boston doesn't have a player to match up LeBron. Maybe their best chance is Crowder but he quickly came in foul trouble. After that it is pretty simple, Cavaliers have 2 or maybe 3 best players on the floor and Boston can't compete that level of talent.
Boston bench outscored Cleveland's 55-29 led by Thomas (22) and Olynyk (12) what was kind of expected, but wasn't enough. They fall behind on the half time 54-62. Coach Stevens tried with Olynyk from the start of second half instead of Zeller but that was the wake-up call for Love who struggled shooting in the first half. The lead jump all the way until 82-62, Boston respond with 14-0 series, led by Thomas and Crowder what was the last hitch, Cavaliers fight it off with two 3 pointers of James Jones and everything after was routine.
Backcourt duo Turner and Bradley were pretty bad on the both sides of the court. Bradley was held on 7 pts and failed to make any impact on defence, so here lies the biggest chance for improvement.
But let's face it, if Cleveland big 3 continue to dominate (they scored 69 out of 113 points) this will be short serie.
Atlanta Hawks vs Brooklyn Nets 99:92
Atlanta won playoff opener but lot harder than expected.
Everything started good for Atlanta, they won first quarter (+12 pts) but even after that we saw stopping Brook Lopez and rebounding will be the big problem for Hawks.
Nets started badly on offensive side of the floor, their first assist came after 13 minutes!? And that is not the right way to beat the Hawks with isolations plays, they realized that fast and started to dig their way back provide scoring punch from the bench.
Net's dominate the paint, but didn't have solution for outside shooting of Kyle Korver, who was outstanding with 21 Pts (5 3Pts), 7 Reb, 3 Ast, alongside DeMarre Carroll 17 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast.
On the start of the second half, Teague picks up his 3rd and 4th PF and that become the big problem for the Hawks. They had double-digit lead through 3/4 and most of the 4/4 but Nets always found a way to hold around. Activity of Lopez and Young (they are totally outplayed Millsap and Horford and held them on the 16 points combined) helped them a lot as well as Joe Johnson solid all round game 17 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast.
Through the match, Hawks struggles to defend with the second unit on the floor, mainly because of Antic and Mike Scott and that could be another problem for this serie and further playoff run.
Nets finally make a run and came on the only 4-point deficit, 89-93 and 1:32 to go, but Jeff Teague show up the big time and close the game with 8 points.
Memphis vs Portland 100:86
Memphis improve to 5-0 against the Portland this season!
Even before the injury of Matthews, that was the nightmare matchup for Portland. Now it seems like mission impossible to win this series.
From the beginning, Memphis started dominating the paint with Gasol and Randolph, and established its own rhythm.
With Conley and Allen back in the lineup, they cut off Blazers backcourt. Lillard was completely shut down and the only player capable to score the basket was LMA.
The first notable lead Memphis built with Beno Udrih, who was unconscious with 20 Pts, 7 Ast and 7 Reb, hitting the first 6 shots in the row and for few minutes of second quarter the result was 36-18.
The only period of the game, when Portland was able to compete, was with Kaman on the center spot. He collected some off rebounds and stopped domination in the paint for the moment.
Portland cut the lead to 35-44, but that was everything they did in the game. Conley and the fellows respond quickly, and the lead was 20 points at the half time and they never looked back.
The second half didn't bring anything new except misery for Portland.
They couldn't stop anything in the defense, things get even worse for the result of serie when Kamen left the game early with some back problems.
For some reason, Terry Stotts kept Aldridge in the game for 42 minutes in this blowout. He was their only bright spot with 32 Pts, 14 Reb.
Memphis has demonstrated once again how hard opponent they can be in the NBA Playoffs.
Portland will have a hard task to find the way to keep up with their banged-up rotation.
Los Angeles Clippers vs San Antonio Spurs 107:92
On the wings of Paul (32 Pts, 7 Reb, 6 Ast) and Griffin (26 Pts, 12 Reb, 6 Ast) Clippers took important playoff opener.
Match started in the classic Clippers fashion with high pace and a lot of running. Paul was highly motivated to prove he's capable of leading his team to the playoff success.
His pick n roll with Griffin, creates a lot of problems for the Spurs at the beginning. Barnes and Redick knock down some shots, DeAndre Jordan sets the tone with 2 early blocks, and suddenly they were in the front with double-digit leads.
After the first quarter, San Antonio faced with a 12-point deficit, but the bigger concern was Tony Parker ankle injury that was not serious, but it slowed him down.
Last night, we saw what will be biggest problem for the Clippers bench. Except Jamal Crawford who finished with 17 Pts (7-10 from the field) rest of the bench score only 5 points for the game?!
Led by Ginobili, Diaw and Mills they needed only 2 minutes of the second quarter to cut that deficit to only 2 point. Doc was forced to return starters on the floor immediately, and they regained the lead by the half time. In this period, we saw the first and only attempt to hack a Jordan without success.
Spurs had a problem to match up Clippers energy, and they looked old with only two reliable options in Leonard and Duncan. Danny Green struggled badly just 2-11 from the field and most were open shots.
Second half become in the same fashion. Clippers extended their lead until 79-61, just before the end of 3/4.
Doc Rivers adapted this time and did not allow easy disappearing, by having at least one starter mixed with bench unit.
Pop did not forcing the way back too much. He kept starters minutes below 30 (only Leonard played 33) and prepared slowly for the second match.
Expect the strong answer and much better Spurs in the second match. Maybe will Leonard start on Paul and try to slow him down from the first minute.