We’re through two days of NBA Playoffs action, with more games to come tonight, and now we know a little bit more about what these teams are really made of. (Regular season, schmegular season, as nobody has ever said.) Here are the eight things — one from each series — that most stand out after one game.
1. Jason Terry is terrible and he needs to not be terrible
The Celtics scored eight points in the fourth quarter against the Knicks in Game 1. EIGHT. That’s so few points that I have to write it out as a word, not use the corresponding number. Even style guides are biased against how badly the Celtics sucked on offense in the second half of that game. And, although that sort of disastrous performance implicates everyone involved, one of the main culprits has to be Jason Terry, who would’ve been more effective if he’d tied both his hands behind his back and tried to bounce the ball into the hoop with his nose. Terry played 20 minutes and scored 0 points on 0-5 shooting, including four three-pointers, most of which were rushed and sloppy heaves that appeared to have no chance of ending up in the hoop. All told, the Celtics’ bench produced an appalling four points total, all from Courtney Lee, and a little more scoring out of Lee would be nice — nobody expects anything out of Jordan Crawford — but if the Celtics are to keep up with the Knicks scoring-wise, they can’t depend on Jeff Green to carry them, like he did in the first half. Terry has to show some evidence that the dynamo who helped beat the Miami Heat in the 2011 Finals still exists, however faded he might be.
2. Jerry Stackhouse is a great singer!
The Brooklyn Nets’ Jerry Stackhouse sang the National Anthem prior to their game against the Chicago Bulls, and it was by far the most interesting part of the night — the Nets rolled the Bulls by 17, and it doesn’t look like Chicago has the offense necessary to beat the Nets, especially with Joakim Noah hobbled.
3. Paul George is BONAFIDE
Here’s how you arrive in the first playoff game of your first season as your team’s A-option: you go for a triple-double. Paul George had 23 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds during Indiana’s win over the Hawks in what is easily the least interesting matchup of the 2012-13 playoffs. Seriously, I often forget that the Atlanta Hawks are even in the NBA, much less a playoff team. Considering the feebleness of the Hawks as an opponent, the main draw here comes from seeing whether the Pacers seem up to the task of offing the Knicks/Celtics for the privilege of losing to the Heat in the conference finals. So far, so good.
4. Brandon Jennings is a doofus
I mean, we already knew that, mostly. But the fact that he went out and predicted a Bucks win over the Heat in six, and then went out and failed to prevent his team from getting clobbered in Game 1 — although he did lead the team in scoring — just confirms it. Other than that, we learned something we also already knew: Guy Fieri has a better chance of catering the next New York Times office party than the Bucks have of winning this series.
5. Old Man Andre Miller’s still got something in the tank
28 points, including a game-winning layup. Miller picked up all the slack left by the season-ending injury to Danilo Gallinari during Game 1, which became particularly important in light of the surprisingly tepid offense produced by the rest of the Nugs. It’s fitting that Miller’s 37, because he plays his age: his performance was a masterpiece of body control and shifty pivot-foot machinations, creating space where there appeared to be none. The Nuggets’ victory at the point-guard position was surprising considering that Stephen Curry is the best player on either of these teams, but Curry started off slow and Miller plus starter Ty Lawson combined for enough velocity to push Denver through. If the Warriors had stolen that win in Denver, they would’ve had a shot in this series; without it, and without David Lee, who tore his hip flexor during the game, you can practically give the Nuggets the series already.
6. GINOBILI BACK
The conventional wisdom was that the Lakers might — might — have a shot against the Spurs if a hobbled Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili hamstrung their ability to score. That did not happen. Ginobili, who was playing in only his second game since returning from a hamstring injury, dropped 18 points on the Lakers’ hilariously thin backcourt, and Parker contributed another 18. Considering that the Lakers only managed 79 points of their own, they would’ve needed a heroic effort to keep the Spurs even loosely within striking distance; the reality is that, hurt TP and Ginobili or not, L.A. doesn’t have a prayer of winning a game in this series unless they’re scoring close to triple digits.
7. Zach Randolph will do his damndest to kill Blake Griffin
Zach Randolph wants Blake Griffin dead. It’s that simple. His approach to guarding and posting up Griffin in the first game of their series was to use his body, and specifically his massive midsection, to abuse the muscular but smaller Griffin as brutally as he could. It worked to an extent — BG only had 10 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes, all very small totals for him — but the Clippers still managed to rule the boards and ended up clobbering Memphis.
8. Russell Westbrook somehow upped the sartorial ante
I mean. Look.