First Round Takeaways

A brief look at the opening days of the NBA Playoffs.

The NBA Playoffs have begun and these are PlayPH’s takeaways from opening weekend.

The NBA Playoffs has it’s own special way of stirring things up, creating unexpected events, and surprising fans with upsets. In just two action-packed opening days, the first games of the first round gave us just that. Here’s what PlayPH has to say:

 

SIMMONS IS FOR REAL

Playoff-ready. Ben Simmons spearheads the Sixers past Miami.

At the start of the season, Ben Simmons was immediately given the NBA spotlight as he was coming out of the previous year’s injury. With a lot of pressure on him to help revamp the Sixers squad, he delivered. Together with the revolutionary big man Joel Embiid and the sharpshooting Dario Saric, Simmons managed to put Philadelphia back in winning form – not to mention a historic 16-game winning streak coming into the playoffs.

While he’s continued to impress everyone all-season long, he has legitimately stamped his mark in the NBA as a playoff-caliber rookie. In his first ever post-season outing against the Heat, Simmons almost ended up with a triple-double, finishing off with 17 points, 14 assists, and nine boards. Anytime your behemoth of a point guard can pull off a performance like that, your team is on the right track.

As they say, this series is going to depend heavily on pace, and Simmons has a lot to do with that.


INDIANA POKES AT THE KING

LeBron James faces a familiar Stephenson. This time, in a Pacers uniform.

That game one performance by the Pacers was flawless, handing LeBron James’ first game 1 loss in 10 years. All that’s left now is to keep the composure against an atomic Cleveland bounce back.

The early moments of the game saw a ruthless Pacer squad running over the Cavs from all angles. For the first time in a while, the Cavs seemed confused – struggling to keep up with the firepower brought by Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Bojan Bogdanovic. And when Indiana couldn’t find answers for The King, they turned to Lance Stephenson, who made all the plays that mattered.

Overall, the 98-80 Pacers’ blowout win against Cleveland proved to be a great team effort. However, it’s their consistency and ability to sustain their style of play that will be challenged all-series long. Because once The King starts going, no team is safe.

 

THE CURRY-LESS WARRIORS TEAM

…is still a very, very dangerous team.

Even with their leader on the sidelines, the Warriors were in top shape heading into the playoffs. The thing about GSW is how their ability to draw opposing teams to play their fast-moving, ball-sharing, quick-paced game. When that happens, expect them to win each time. The Warriors don’t look like they have a specific game plan each time; they look like they have the winning formula – with or without Stephen Curry. Their recent win against Gregg Popovich and the Spurs proved just that.

Without Curry in the first round mix, it’s KD steering the ship for the Warriors.

Looking forward, the Warriors are expected to breeze through the Spurs and whomever they meet in the quarter-finals. In fact, their real legitimate challenge could potentially be a Western Conference Finals matchup against the Rockets. But that’s another possible surprise the NBA Playoffs has in-store for us hoop fans.

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