The first round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs has started off with some interesting games and matchups for your viewing pleasure.
There’s the Golden State Warriors, the No. 1 seed, the league’s second best win-loss team on paper, the defending champions versus the L.A. Clippers, the 8th seed in series one. The Denver Nuggets, the 2-seed versus the San Antonio Spurs, the 7 in series No. 2. The Portland Trail Blazers, the 3 versus the Oklahoma Thunder, the 6 in series three, and the Houston Rockets, the 4 seed against the Utah Jazz, the 5 in series four.
The series are rich with named stars, players and some star coaches. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and half of the roster of Golden State as well as James Harden, Chris Paul, Damian Lilliard, CJ McCollum, Steve Kerr, Doc Rivers and Greg Popovich. This first round has added some new names for the bright lights.
The Warrior-Clipper match has been shocking. After winning Game 1 on Saturday, Golden State blew a 31 point lead on Monday, Game 2, the largest one in post season history. They lost the game 135-131, and their center, DeMarcus Cousins, tore his left quadriceps in the first quarter. He’s now sidelined for an indefinite period and will begin rehabilitation immediately, and Durant fouled out with 81 important seconds to go in the game after being tagged out of Game 1.
“We changed a couple things offensively and defensively in the third,” said Rivers, the Clippers head coach. “It worked out for us. But I thought it was our spirit more than anything.”
Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for tonight (Thursday) and Sunday in Los Angeles.
The Denver Nuggets may have the second best record in the west, but they’re facing Popovich, one of the NBA’s savviest coaches who also has five championship rings and is known for his resourcefulness, no matter how low he’s seeded.
Denver responded to the lower seed’s 101-96 win in their building on Saturday by defeating San Antonio 114-105 in Game 2 on Tuesday night. They resume tonight, Thursday and Saturday, Games 3 and 4 in San Antonio.
There have been no surprises or upsets in Portland, yet. The Trail Blazers, who were knocked out of the first round last season, have defeated the Thunder in both games this week. A 104-99 win on Sunday, and a decisive 114-94 win on Tuesday. Lilliard dropped 30 and 29 along with McCollum’s 24 and 33. Their series resumes in OKC.
The Rockets and Jazz take their series to Utah for Games 3 and 4 Saturday and Monday after their first two games in Houston last night, Wednesday and Sunday.
Harden’s offense may not be defendable for the Jazz. His 29 points in Game 1 was three points shy of the 32 point margin that the Jazz lost by. A 122-90 defeat. Each Houston starter scored in double-digits with a double-double for Clint Capella, 16 points, 12 rebounds, 17 for Eric Gordon and 14 for Paul.