1. LeBron James Has Resurrected His 2007 Self
Everyone remembers where they were when LeBron James went into Super Human mode against the Pistons in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2007. In that shocking display of offensive brilliance, LeBron poured in 48 points -- including his team's final 25 and 29 of its final 30 -- and singlehandedly carried the Cavs within a win of the NBA finals against a much more talented Detroit Pistons team.
The stakes were not quite as high in yesterday's Round 1, Game 1 match-up against the New York Knicks. But yesterday was the closest I've seen James -- in the playoffs -- replicate his 2007 self. The game was over by the end of the second quarter due in large part to James. I'm convinced that in the 2nd quarter LeBron could have played 1-on-5 against the Knicks. He went for 23 in the first half on a ridiculously efficient 6-for-7 shooting from the field and 10-for-13 from the line. He also dominated the defensive side of the ball, taking charges, blocking shots and helping embarrass Carmelo Anthony into a very poor performance.
2. Magic vs. Pacers
This was the only game yesterday that I did not DVR. I should have. Who would have thought that the Dwight Howard-less Magic would steal Game 1 on the road against new darlings of the NBA? I love this game.
3. Thunder vs. Mavs
This will be a GREAT series. Rarely do we get such a treat in the first round. Forget the seeding. The Mavs are the defending champs with about 560,000 games of combined playoff experience among Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Jason Terry and Jason Kidd. It's the consummate battle of the old guard against the new kids on the block. Talent vs. experience.
And how can one not root for OKC? The nucleus of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka is not only insanely talented, but also seem like a very classy and unselfish bunch of young men.
All that said, I agree with my brother-in-blogging Bhel Atlantic that the Thunder were very fortunate to escape Game 1 with a victory. I expect each game of this series to be just as exciting.
4. Bulls vs. Sixers
Ouch. Sad day for the NBA when one of its most exciting young players is taken out of the playoffs due to injury. JPO wishes Derrick Rose a speedy recovery.