The 2013 NBA playoffs are already very exciting. You have new guys stepping up while superstars are stepping down with injuries. Veterans are showing that they still have some juice left in them, and then there is the crazy rollercoaster ride for teams and fans. The first round was packed with exciting games and brilliant atmosphere in every corner you looked. There were buzzer-beaters, circus shots; dunks that will make a guy’s highlight film, and the usual amazing performances. Well, the NBA is where amazing happens, especially in the playoffs. There should always be a guy to look at every series, and I am most definitely that guy.
Thunder vs. Rockets: This was an OK(C) series. The Thunder steamrolled over Houston in the first game, scoring 21 points off 15 Rocket turnovers. However, the second game was a real nail-biter. OKC blew a 15-point lead just so Patrick Beverly could get the Rockets a brief lead after a 21-2 run. But right after that, the Thunder responded with their own 10-2 run. From then on, the Durant-controlled team clung on to a 105-102 win. Then came the bad news: Russell Westbrook hurt his knee, and he was out indefinitely. The Thunder won Game 3, but the Rockets took Games 4 and 5. Then, in Game 6, Derek Fisher stepped up with his leadership and defense, shutting down James Harden in the final minutes of the game. The young guns stepped it up big time also, and the Thunder advanced to the second round.
Heat/Bucks and Spurs/Lakers: I do not think these series are much to cover, as most games were blowouts and both series were sweeps. However, as expected, the Spurs and Heat are moving on. To be honest, even these extremely exciting playoffs would be more exciting with Kobe Bryant still in the lineup (check out my last article for that).
Knicks/Celtics, Hawks/Pacers: Both of these series ended with a team winning 4-2. The games were all much fun to watch. The Knicks and Celtics had a classic battle, what with the Knicks leading the series 3-0, then the Celtics coming back with a statement in two wins. But the New York Knicks were just too much for the Rondo-less Celtics. Carmelo Anthony, as usual, paved the way for the first Knicks playoff series win since 1999-00. Nevertheless, the Hawks and Pacers series was quite a battle. First, the Pacers went up 2-0, and then the Hawks came back with two wins to tie the series up, and then the Pacers snuck away with two wins and a rivalry is going to be renewed with the Knicks. Oh man, I hope Reggie Miller and Spike Lee go at it again in the crowd, because their ESPN 30 for 30 was memorable.
Nuggets/Warriors, Clippers/Grizzlies: These games were very fun to watch. The Nuggets and the Warriors both went at each other, the first hectic game ending with an Andre Miller buzzer-beater layup, teaching the young guns how to dribble and drive. However, almost every other game was Stephen Curry taking over. The Warriors fought a hard, grueling battle and came through victorious, though short-handed. However, the Clippers-Grizzlies games, now those were fun. You have the scrappy Grizzlies versus Lob City (which NBA.com now deems Sob City). The Clippers won two hard games and had control of the series, but the Grizz stayed around and won the next four games.
Nets vs. Bulls: I definitely saved the best for last. The Nets-Bulls series was one to remember, going the complete seven games. These games were all hard-fought, killer battles that you would pay good money to see. The games went down to the wire, one going to triple overtime! Chicago was winning 2-1 in the series, but Game 4 was the best playoff game of round one, by far. Both teams combined for 276 points in 63 minutes. Brooklyn then took two games, but the very short-handed Bulls were ready to win Game 7. Almost all of the Bulls’ plays got the bench fired up. Well, what was left of the bench, anyway. The game was so exciting; I never got up to use the bathroom so I could not miss a play (which was a bad idea, since I had two cokes)! The series showed us two very even teams that never wanted to give up. Brooklyn is gone fishin’, though!