First Weekend of NBA Playoffs Saw No Suprises—Will We See Any First Round Drama?

Last night on TNT, between the Miami Heat’s sloppy, but convincing, win over the Milwaukee Bucks and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 29-point defeat of the Houston Rockets, Charles Barkley opined that this year’s first round of the NBA Playoffs could end up being one of the worst in history.

“Worst” probably isn’t the right word. While this weekend’s games lacked drama and may have been foreshadowing several non-competitive four- and five-game series, there was plenty for NBA fans to enjoy.

We got to see Thunder center Kendrick Perkins channel his inner Chris Paul—grabbing a loose ball, leading a fast break, and throwing a perfect lob to teammate Serge Ibaka and Chris Bosh heat up from behind the arc. We also saw Paul George become the first member of the Indiana Pacers in 15 years to register a triple-double in the playoffs, going for 23, 11, and 12. Viewers also got to watch LeBron go for 27, 13, and eight while shooting 82 percent from the field, and saw Russell Westbrook weave through five defenders at full speed en route to the rim. That’s fun regardless of how lopsided the numbers on the scoreboard may be.

If nothing else, LeBron's post-game wardrobe choices should keep the first round interesting. (Screen grab from SB Nation)

If nothing else, LeBron’s post-game wardrobe choices should keep the first round interesting. (Screen grab from SB Nation)

But aside from the occasional highlight or impressive stat line, will this end up being one of the most forgettable opening rounds in recent memory?

For the first time since 2004, all eight of the higher seeded teams won their first playoff game. Most did so in convincing fashion. The only game that was still in doubt as the clock approached 0:00.0 was the Denver Nuggets-Golden State Warriors game, which was decided by Andre Miller’s last-second lay-up. But the Warriors lost their lone All Star, David Lee, to a hip flexor strain.

Carl Landry should be able to step into the starting lineup and mimic Lee’s point production and suspect defense, but depth will be a concern as the series moves forward. And with Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson healthy enough to play 39 minutes, there’s a good chance that this series won’t be as close as Saturday’s Game 1 suggested.

One would expect at least one of the four-five match-ups to give us a compelling series, but both four seeds won by convincing margins on Saturday. The Brooklyn Nets, in their borough’s first major postseason professional sporting event since the Eisenhower administration, pulled away from the Chicago Bulls early and never surrendered their considerable lead. Hobbled Bulls center Joakim Noah had no answer for the Nets’ Brook Lopez. And Brooklyn point guard Deron Williams appears to have reverted to 2010 form. I’m not one to doubt a Tom Thibodeau-coached team, but the injury-riddled Bulls didn’t acquit themselves well in Game 1.

This may end up being Joakim Noah's most lasting contribution to the 2013 playoffs.

This may end up being Joakim Noah’s most lasting contribution to the 2013 playoffs. (GIF from Reddit)

The Los Angeles Clippers-Memphis Grizzlies series may be our best hope for some first round drama. While the Clips pulled away in the fourth quarter, it was a one-point game with 10 minutes remaining. We shouldn’t expect the Grizz – who have arguably the league’s best defensive player, and who have fresh memories of losing in seven games to the Clippers in the first round of last year’s Playoffs – to let this series get away from them.

This year’s first round could be one of the least interesting since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams. But we’re only one game into each series. Today’s conventional wisdom could turn to foolishness by the middle of the week. Such is the nature of a seven-game series. But we know this for sure: regardless of what Brandon Jennings thinks, the Bucks aren’t going to beat the Heat, and certainly not in six games. Oh, and we also know that Jerry Stackhouse does a nice job with the national anthem:

About Josh Tinley

Josh Tinley writes the Away From The Action column at Midwest Sports Fans, covering all aspects of sport aside from what actually happens on the field, court, or track. Josh grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from the University of Evansville and Vanderbilt Divinity School. He is the author of Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports and the managing editor of LinC, a weekly curriculum for teens that explores the intersection of faith and culture. Josh lives outside Nashville with his wife, Ashlee, and children, Meyer (7), Resha Kate (5), and Malachi (3). He will not allow himself to die before the Evansville Purple Aces make another trip to the NCAA Tournament. Follow him on Twitter @joshtinley or send him an e-mail.


  1. Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice whilst
    you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a weblog site?
    The account helped me a acceptable deal. I were tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear

  2. Everyone loves what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the great works guys I’ve added you guys to my own blogroll.

  3. Right now it looks like Movable Type is the top blogging
    platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read)
    Is that what you are using on your blog?

  4. This text is priceless. How can I find out more?

  5. Hi would you mind letting me know which web host
    you’re utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must
    say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.

    Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider at
    a reasonable price? Kudos, I appreciate it!

  6. Hi there, I enjoy reading through your article post.
    I like to write a little comment to support you.

  7. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it
    or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but
    instead of that, this is excellent blog. An excellent read.
    I’ll definitely be back.

  8. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
    Extremely helpful info specifically the last part :) I care for
    such info much. I was seeking this certain information for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  9. Good response in return of this matter with real arguments and telling all concerning that.

  10. I need to to thank you for this excellent read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it.
    I have got you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

  11. Thanks to my father who told me regarding this weblog, this
    weblog is genuinely remarkable.

  12. Unquestionably imagine that that you stated. Your favourite reason appeared to be on the web the easiest factor to consider of.
    I say to you, I definitely get annoyed whilst people
    think about concerns that they plainly don’t recognize about.
    You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and outlined
    out the entire thing without having side effect ,
    other people can take a signal. Will likely
    be back to get more. Thanks

  13. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.

    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a
    famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

  14. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?

    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!

  15. You are good writer. Thank you.

  16. Lovely Web page, Keep up the good work. thnx!|
    liverpool kläder

  17. You have the most effective web pages.
    colombia fotball

Speak Your Mind