OK, so there’s eight series currently underway, and eight games have been played so far. Of those eight games, the home team won seven of them. The only surprise winner came at 1:30 AM on the East Coast, so I’m sure it wasn’t watched by that many people. But the fourth quarter of the Suns/Blazers game was probably the most exciting quarter of the Playoffs so far.
Some random thoughts…
• Phoenix and Portland were pretty even for most of the night, but Portland got hot down the stretch, banged in a couple of threes, outhustled Phoenix and got the win. Amare finished with 18 and 8 but he fouled out with about 90 seconds left and was 8-19 from the floor. Amare finished with a -16 plus/minus rating.
• Andre Miller finished with 31 points and 8 assists, and Phoenix had no answer for him. I don’t what they do in Game Two — maybe put J-Rich on him and let Nash chase Rudy Fernandez around — but it was Dre Day in Phoenix.
• You’ve got to admire Phoenix’s obstinacy, as they repeatedly shot threes down the stretch when they were down 5 or 6, Portland kept missing free throws and Phoenix really just needed points. Higher-percentage shots were there, but Phoenix just kept firing away. That’s what they do, I guess, for better or worse.
• The Lakers basically just out-veteran’ed Oklahoma City. The Thunder have a lot of young talent, but L.A. could get points and stops whenever they needed them. Kevin Durant just seemed to be trying too hard, forcing shots, not passing to open guys on the wings. The Thunder stayed close, but they just couldn’t get over the hump at the end.
• Charlotte’s fun to watch if only because it’s such a crazy group of players. Going into this season, who would have guessed that a Playoff team would be relying on Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw, Larry Hughes and Theo Ratliff? Orlando had a huge lead early, but the BETcats would not die, and they kept pushing and pushing and I wasn’t convinced Orlando was going to be able to hang on. Until they did. Still, this looks like it’s going to be one of the better series.
• “I wear no pants! I wear no pants! I wear…no…pants!”
• The most unanticipated news of the day was the suspension of Kevin Garnett for Boston’s Game Two. Actually, I guess it’s not that unanticipated because the NBA always seems to overreact during the postseason, and overreact quickly, at that.
The thing about KG is this: When the Hawks played the Celtics a couple of years ago, and KG was doing all his KG stuff (headbutting basket supports, goaltending shots taken after foul calls, etc.) there wasn’t a lot you could say about it because KG was the best defensive player in the League. He may have been behaving boorishly, but at least on some level he was backing it up. It was exactly the sort of conduct that made KG so much fun to root for and, at the same time, so much fun to root against.
Now that KG is so obviously injured, he can’t back up the behavior with actions. Now when he’s throwing ‘bows and woofing or whatever, he just seems out of place and, frankly, a little sad.
Now Boston has to play Miami without KG, and the Heat are going to be ticked about the way that Game One ended. Looking forward to that one.
• Tomorrow night we got Chicago/Cleveland and then Utah/Denver. Let’s gooooo!