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A Mad Fan’s Diary 2014.04.28: NBA Playoffs – Week 1 Wrap

What an insane week of playoff basketball. Like, man. I don’t even know.

Some stats, bootlegged from ESPN: In 30 games now, we’ve had:

  • 14 games decided by 5 points or less
  • 9 games decided by 3 points or less
  • 7 overtime games
  • Road teams are 16-14

Like… what? The Memphis-OKC series alone is responsible for 3 of those 7 overtime games. 3 out of 4 games in that series have gone to overtime. It’s insane.

I’m not going to dwell on the disgusting Sterling stuff that’s going on in the background because I think there other other people and spaces more qualified to talk about the whole situation, but man… the basketball side of things has been crazy.

This has all been so stressful and emotionally conflicting that I’m pretty close to just not caring about my bracket anymore. This is all like, too overwhelming.

A quick series by series rundown:

#1 Indiana Pacers vs. #8 Atlanta Hawks
Bracket: Pacers in 5, Prediction: Pacers in 7, Rooting for: Pacers in 7

Indiana has decided to show some signs of life, although things are very much still kind of shaky to me. I personally think so long as Paul George steps up to the plate, the offense keeps David West involved, and the bench gives good minutes, the Pacers will pull it out. I think Roy Hibbert needs to either find his game, or Vogel just needs to sit him. Like, I don’t think that’s out of disrespect to Roy, I just really don’t think this is a good matchup for him, and they need to make adjustments.

#4 Chicago Bulls vs. #5 Washington Wizards
Bracket: Bulls in 6, Prediction: Wizards in 6, Rooting for: Bulls in 7

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This is by far the most frustrating series to me. Hinrich missing those free throws? Chicago’s maddening inability to create easy offense? I feel misled. That Brooklyn-Chicago series last year was like, insane, but these aren’t those Bulls – Nate Robinson isn’t suiting up to recreate that playoff magic. I don’t know. On one hand I like, do like the Wizards, and I want John Wall to get more national recognition, I just hate that it’s coming at the expense of Chicago. I don’t know how they’re going to climb themselves out of this hole – the Nene suspension was a great opportunity that they didn’t manage to capitalize on.

#2 Miami Heat vs. #7 Charlotte Bobcats
Bracket: Heat in 5, Prediction: Heat in 4, Rooting for: Bobcats, apathetically

Yawn. Okay not yawn – one thought here: how much does it suck that Al Jefferson injured his foot in Game 1? The dude is playing through pain and still getting his. If he were actually healthy, Charlotte might have been able to steal at least a game, if not two. I mean they very well might tonight, but I’m not sure I see it happening.

#3 Toronto Raptors vs. #6 Brooklyn Nets
Bracket: Raptors in 6, Prediction: Raptors in 7, Rooting for: Raptors in 6

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I continue to dislike Paul Pierce, and I’m still pulling for the Raptors here. Some really gutsy stuff from Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry over the past couple days. The Raptors heading back to Toronto with home court advantage in hand, I don’t think Brooklyn will go down so easily, but I have enough confidence in Toronto and their home crowd to think they’ll get it in 7.

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #8 Dallas Mavericks
Bracket: Spurs in 5, Prediction: Spurs in 7, Rooting for: Spurs in 6

Vince Carter, jesus christ. I was watching the end of this game with a couple friends – one of whom is a die hard Spurs fan – and don’t tell her, but before Dallas was inbounding the ball, I said to my other friend: “You have to think it’s going to Monta here, or maybe Dirk. Like, if this game ends on a Vince Carter 3 right now, you’re just shit out of luck.” Well… shit out of luck is pretty much how you describe it. If the Spurs win tonight though, they’re back to comfortably having home court advantage. I think they should be winning this series, they’ve just been plagued by silly mistakes. So long as they still get out of the first round, I think this will have been a good early test for them.

#4 Houston Rockets vs. #5 Portland Trailblazers
Bracket: Rockets in 7, Prediction: Trailblazers in 6, Rooting for: Somebody in 7?

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Ugh. Just like, ugh. Usually when the Rockets lose close games in frustrating fashion, you point to James Harden or McHale doing something frustrating in the clutch, but man… Jeremy screwed the pooch last night. That was a tough, tough turnover to give up – high pressure, shitty spaced situation, yeah, but you just can’t give that up in the playoffs if you want to win. That’s not on McHale or anyone, that’s just on Jeremy, and it pains me. These Trailblazers are nuts – makes you remember why they started the season off on such a hot streak.

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #7 Memphis Grizzlies
Bracket: Thunder in 6, Prediction: Thunder in 7, Rooting for: Grizzlies in 7

OKC took care of business in game 4 and got their home court advantage back, but I still have my hopes for a Grizzlies upset. Realistically I don’t think Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will let the Thunder get sent home in the first round, but so long as the game is close in the 4th quarter, it’s always going to be a tossup. Three overtimes in 4 games… such madness. What a series.

#3 Los Angeles Clippers vs. #6 Golden State Warriors
Bracket: Clippers in 6, Prediction: Warriors in 6, Rooting for: Warriors in 6

I never like, really liked the Clippers even though I like some of their players and I thought they would do well this postseason but man, this situation sucks. Chris Paul is as competitive as they come, and Blake Griffin is having such an amazing year, then they drop all of this Donald Sterling crap on their heads? It would have taken a lot of mental fortitude to come out in game 4 and play a winning game of basketball. You can’t help but feel for those guys. They just play for an organization with a terrible, terrible owner – it’s not fair that they’ve been burdened by the ignorance of the dude who pays their salaries.

At the same time, boy did Steph Curry remind the world why watching the Warriors in the playoffs is so much fun. The dude is nuts when he’s on fire.


Three more games on the docket for tonight… it never ends!  Hopefully the Pacers and Spurs both have their shit together… — G.K.

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