The NBA playoffs 2011 had a notable opening day yesterday. This year’s playoffs have some high expectations, after the NBA had its biggest regular season in some time. But the 2011 postseason has to soar even higher, especially considering the labor problems to come in summer. The first four games did just that, with three upset scares and some big star performances, yet the other eight playoff teams are out to set the bar higher today.
Yesterday, the top seeded Bulls were largely manhandled by the Pacers, until they came back in the last few minutes. Today at 1 p.m. EDT, the West’s top seed hopes to have it easier, although the Spurs may find that difficult if Manu Ginobili isn’t around.
At the least, San Antonio faces a team that has never won a playoff game, and hasn’t been here in several years. But the Memphis Grizzles have split four games with the Spurs this season, as they hope to have caught them at the right time.
If the Spurs can’t defend their top seed, the Lakers are the next most likely team to win the West, if they aren’t the out-and-out favorites. Yet they have a late injury scare of their own, after Andrew Bynum got banged up. However, he only had a bone bruise, and will be in action against the Hornets at 3:30 p.m.
At 7 p.m., the 2011 playoffs renew an old NBA rivalry, as the Knicks visit the Celtics. This is one of the more hyped up series’ in the first round, as the Knicks return to the postseason with their new superstars, and the Celtics try to overcome their ugly end to the regular season. After Chicago and Miami got scared yesterday, Boston has a chance to prove that their playoff experience is still valuable.
The last Game 1 of round one takes place at 9:30 p.m. in Oklahoma City, in one of the most high-powered pairing. The Thunder and Nuggets were red hot to close the regular season, but one of them will have to give out in this series. Oklahoma City has become a trendy Finals pick, yet Denver has come out strong after surviving the Carmelo Anthony soap opera.
Yesterday’s action was defied by scares, although the Bulls, Heat and Mavericks survived their early tests. This is largely expected to be a conventional first round, and that’s what most of the results were on Saturday. But can the Grizzles, Hornets, Knicks and Nuggets do one better than the Pacers, Sixers and Trail Blazers, and actually pull some upsets?
The Spurs, Celtics and Lakers have waited for the NBA playoffs all year, as the 2011 campaign really begins for them today. While they are all banged up right now, this is the time of year when they always flip the switch. The Spurs and Celtics will start flipping on TNT, along with the Thunder, while the Lakers appear on ABC.
KENS 5- “Don’t count out Ginobili for Game 1 of playoff series”
Fox Sports- “Bynum has bone bruise, is likely for playoffs”