The first two days of NBA Playoff action is complete and every series is now underway. Unfortunately things were a little run of the mill.
In the eight matchups, seven were won by the team playing at home. Only two Game 1s were settled by less than 10 points and five were blowout victories of 20 points or more.
The gulf in quality is widest in the Western Conference, where the top four seeds all sauntered to easy victories.
The Golden State Warriors beat the Houston Rockets by 26. The San Antonio Spurs bettered a depleted Memphis Grizzlies squad by 32. Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks took a 38-point shoeing from the Oklahoma City Thunder and the LA Clippers enjoyed a 20-point win margin over the Portland Trailblazers.
There was little in any of those maulings to suggest the downtrodden clubs can bounce back and a set of 4-0 series victories appears to be a very realistic possibility.
All of the entertainment in the first round of the postseason will therefore need to come from the Eastern Conference. So far they’ve delivered.
Undoubtedly the most exciting Game 1 came in the in Atlanta, where the Boston Celtics battled back from a 19-point deficit against the Hawks. After making a game of it, the Cs ended up fluffing their lines in the final minutes, taking a 102-101 loss.
Also making a decent fist of things were the inexperienced eighth seeds, the Detroit Pistons, against the number one Cleveland Cavaliers.
With a starting five containing only one player with previous playoff experience, the Motor City club gave as good as they got against the Cavs’ star-studded roster, before fading at the death to lose by five.
The biggest disappointment though was undoubtedly the New Orleans Hornets. They flunked to a huge 32-point loss against the Miami Heat in a game that was never close at any point.
Having performed impressively through the regular season, Steve Clifford’s squad did not reach anywhere near their capabilities in Game 1 and it will be a surprise if the remainder of the series is as lopsided.
The only home side not to win their first game was the Toronto Raptors, who continue to build a history of failure in the postseason.
It is now seven straight playoff defeats for the Raptors, after they slipped to a Paul George-inspired Indiana Pacers 100-90.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.