3 Things We Learned from the First Weekend of the Playoffs
Well, that was one of the most excitingly boring first few days of NBA playoff basketball. Their has been virtually no upsets through all of the Game 1s and even some Game 2s. However, man have we learned a lot of things from the small sample size we have been give from teams. So as we head into our first full week of the playoffs, let’s take a look at the 3 dominating themes that we’ve learned thus far.
1) Shooting Teams Can Win
One of the most argued subjects out there is this. So many teams in the past have been built with such a strong inside presence (LeBron’s Heat with his post-game, Tim Duncan and the Spurs, etc., etc.) However, the Warriors have really flipped the script this entire playoffs. The Warriors have beaten the very frisky Pelicans who are primarily a low post oriented team, a stark contrast from Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest of the 3 point shooting – wing oriented Golden State team. The Warriors have proved that all those three point attempts can really lead to success. Now given, this is not simply a game plan of jacking up every three pointer in sight, but rookie head coach Steve Kerr has really implanted a system and it has worked mightily for the Warriors. Anthony Davis, the Pelicans best low post threat and easily a top 5 player in the league at the young age of 21 has had really good games in the first two outings and that is still simply not enough when you come to the realization that three points is more than two. It’s really as simple as that. Obviously, with the Warriors being a 1 seed this was expected, but still, it is nice to see the Dubs take care of big teams with no trouble, especially this early in the playoffs.
2) No Bench= No Chance
The biggest swings in all the games that have been played thus far have relied heavily on some sort of bench boost to give the team the extra fuel it needs to win. Just going down the flow of the games you see an example of this in virtually every game, look at the Mavs-Rockets Game 1 in which bench points and lack thereof swung the entire game in a matter of one quarter. Another example of this is also with the Grizzlies and Blazers with a career day from a guy like backup Beno Udrih. Now, obviously this can not be counted on from a game by game basis, but the playoffs are about a game of sparks and runs, and that starts with the bench players. With no bench, that team is basically out of the picture. You can already see the signs with teams like the Blazers (who in their defense have been hit with an array of injuries) and also teams like the Nets and Bucks
3) Defense Has Definitely Picked Up
This is something I am sure everyone could have easily seen coming. The grind of an 82 game season is a problem in and of itself that is simply too many meaningless games that some players take off and do not go 100% on even the offensive end let alone actually try on defense. Come playoff time such as right now, all of that simply goes away. With more time, more rest and only one specific opponent for coaches to focus on, offense simply takes a back seat for the defensive end of the ball. Like the old saying goes, offense wins games but defense wins championships. A great example of the amped up defense is the shooting percentages of teams all across the board. Players are now lucky to shoot even close to 50% from the field, that’s just a byproduct of the crazy system that is the NBA playoffs, it really is everyone’s best shot. At the same time, it makes those huge offensive outburst by star players just that much more desirable since you know the value and just how weighted they really are.
The first round of the NBA playoffs will continue every day for next two weeks, before heading into the conference semi-finals. Stay tuned!