With the NBA Playoffs now more than a week old, here are some initial reactions from the first round matchups:
• There was a better chance of me being struck by lightning, winning the lottery and then being struck by lightning again than there was of Jared Jeffries coming up big at the end of the Knicks’ Game 2 loss. Carmelo Anthony saw the double team coming and did the right thing, passing it to the open man underneath the basket. The only problem was that person was Jeffries, and the error gave the Celtics full control of the series.
• There’s bad, there’s really bad and then there’s the officiating in Game 1 of the Philadelphia-Miami series. The Heat shot 24 more free throws than the Sixers, even though Philadelphia attempted more field goals within 10 feet.
I can’t remember a team that relies more on the refs than the Heat. If the officials are calling it tight, why wouldn’t LeBron James and Dwyane Wade continue to take the ball to the basket and put the pressure on the referees to make calls and send them to the line? If the referees allow a lot of contact, the Heat turn into a completely different team.
• Credit to Indiana for being competitive this series. But Charles Barkley made a point on “Inside the NBA” that even though the scores are close, there’s a clear difference between a 62-win team and a 37-win team, which was evident in the Pacers’ final possession in Game 3.
And Indiana had to set the record for “most white guys to appear in an NBA playoff game in the 21st century.” What’s more surprising is that one of those players is Josh McRoberts.
• I can’t emphasize how uninterested I am in the Atlanta-Orlando series. It’s partly because every time I think of the Hawks, I think of how they signed Joe Johnson to a six-year, $119 million contract. Because you know, that’s the deal you’re supposed to give a 29-year-old guard coming off a terrible postseason where he called out the Atlanta fans.
As for the Magic, despite how dominant Dwight Howard has been this postseason, there was a telling sign at the end of Game 3. Down one point, Orlando opted to go with a Hedo Turkoglu three-point attempt rather than feed Howard in the post.
• It’s still amazing to me that the awkward relationship between O.J. Mayo and Memphis is working. Two months ago, the Grizzlies wanted to send him to Indiana of all places, and now he’s being asked to help win a playoff series.
This series between San Antonio and Memphis is destined for seven games. In what will be their last title chance together, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili will have to get by a hungry Grizzlies team.
• The most shocking game of this postseason was New Orleans upsetting Los Angeles in Game 1 at the Staples Center. But did I think the Hornets could ever win the series? Not a chance, especially after realizing their No. 2 option is Carl Landry.
• The Mavericks continued their postseason tradition of choking in big games, and it was great to see the oft-injured Brandon Roy turn in a gutsy performance in Game 4 for Portland. It’s a shame that injuries force everyone to wonder what could have been with Roy, as he was on track to become a perennial All-Star.
On a side note, Kevin McHale has been the color commentator for this series, and I love him as an NBA TV analyst. But I was confused when he emphasized throughout the broadcast that Portland needed to make the series 2-1 in Game 3. All this time, I always thought the plan was to lose the first three games of a seven-game series.
• Oklahoma City has shown they’re ready to make the jump this postseason after their dismantling of the Nuggets. General manager Sam Presti has built this team brilliantly, and it’s a matter of when, not if, the Thunder are making a deep run into the playoffs.