The NBA postseason is down to their final eight teams. After a most exciting first round, teams are now set on making the conference finals. What’s the best way to assure your ticket to your respective conference championship? Winning early, especially if it’s on the road, is certainly something that every team wants to do. Right on cue the Wizards did just that, taking an early lead in the series after their impressive victory over the Pacers in Indiana. I did in fact choose the Wizards to win the series in 6 games and while Washington has been impressive in their own ways, it was more because I don’t trust the Pacers. Indiana only seems to win when it’s a “must win” or some sort of situation where they have a fire lit under them. Washington on the hand has taken advantage of whatever situation they’re put in and has the type of team that usually strikes when given the opportunity. I really enjoy watching their speed in transition, toughness inside and long-rate shooters. Last night it was Trevor Ariza (6-6 from 3-pt range) who stepped it up and continued to frustrate the Pacers’ defense. The Wizards’ power game inside really set the tone early, using different looks from Nene, Marcin Gortat and Drew Gooden (what?) to play effectively in the paint. Then again, going up against Roy Hibbert will make any other big man look good. Hibbert, the LVP of the playoffs, continues to fall into his terrible streak. Last night he didn’t manage to score or grab a rebound in 18 minutes but hey, at least he got a couple of block and an assist so that’s an improvement, right? Baby steps for the Indiana center but they don’t have time to wait for Hibbert to play like normal again. The Pacers have now started their second straight series with a loss at home.
The Thunder didn’t lose their first game in the last round, but they’re currently in the same position as the Pacers, looking at a 0-1 hole to start their series. The Clippers dominated the Thunder on the road last night, led by Chris Paul’s hot shooting night. It was very surprising to see LA go into a usually-hostile environment and control the game by that big of a margin, for that much of the game. The beginning of the first quarter was up for grabs but as the second quarter got going, so did the Clippers offense. It also helps when your point guard is scorching hot from the field and, more specifically, from the beyond the arc. Paul’s impressive shooting display (8-9 from beyond the arc) led the way and opened up the way for the rest of the Clips offense do as they pleased. The Thunder defense had NO answer for anything that the Clippers were doing. OKC’s defense gave up 100+ points through the first three quarters. Of course, it doesn’t help when other than Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, none of the other Thunder players were much of a help to the offense. Serg Ibaka managed to score in double figures but he should be more worried on how to stop Blake Griffin. The Clippers look like the more balanced team, actually running plays while the Thunder can’t seem to find an offensive rhythm. Durant was just named the league’s MVP but if he wants to prove that he can carry the weight of that trophy, his team needs to turn things around quickly.
Congrats to Kevin Durant on being named the NBA’s MVP for the 2013-14 season. Here’s some of his best from the season.