The first weekend of the NBA Playoffs is in the books, and Game 1 of every series has been played. If you're a hoops junkie, you have another seven weeks of this to look forward to.
If you're the spouse of a hoops junkie, you have seven weeks to find a good divorce lawyer. You've been warned.
The theme of this first weekend is "the dogs were barkin'!" On Saturday, three road underdogs pulled the straight-up upset, including an 8 seed beating a 1 seed in Indiana, with the Hawks beating the Pacers in a game that wasn't even close. (Seriously, the worst 8 seed in recent memory meeting up with the worst 1 seed in recent memory. The only thing that makes this potentially watchable is the possibility of Roy Hibbert punching a teammate during the game.)
Sunday, things straightened out a little bit, with the Spurs and Heat both surviving at home, but Sunday night, the hounds were released again, with the Wizards knocking off the Bulls and the Blazers....well.....yeah, ouch.
With all of the action now done, let's relive the magic (and horror) of the NBA Playoffs opening weekend via viral video!
The biggest surprise of the weekend (not involving the Atlanta Hawks) might have been the crowd in Toronto. Who knew Toronto gave a shit about sports without ice? The crowd at the Air Canada Centre was off the hook, and the masses outside the arena watching on big screen were at a fever pitch, triggered before the game by Raptors GM Masai Ujiri and this message for the Brooklyn Nets:
I'm hoping this sets a trend for questionable behavior by NBA execs. Analytics are a little boring. I think Daryl Morey needs to balance his statistical swag with some gangster rap on the Budweiser stage before Game 2.
Moving to the Warriors and the Clippers, this game was marked with huge foul trouble for both teams, including Blake Griffin fouling out for the Clips, an unfortunate turn that left this poor fan in the path of this
totally intentional water spill:
The final game of the night saw the Thunder handle a pesky Memphis squad. Check out this Westbrook-to-Durant outlet:
Unreal. Durant is on the Thunder's side of mid-court when that pass is released, catches it in stride and covered so much ground that he was almost underneath the hoop when he dunked it. How does he do that?
Moving on to Sunday, the moment of the day, without a doubt, had nothing to do with a play on the court. As you may have heard, TNT's Craig Sager has been diagnosed with acute leukemia, and will miss the playoffs as he undergoes treatment. It just so happens, had he been working, Sager's assignment would have been the Mavs-Spurs game, which would have meant sideline interviews with the notoriously cantankerous Gregg Popovich.
Well, TNT decided to acknowledge and honor Sager by allowing his son, Craig Jr., to handle Popovich duties. It was a great moment:
I hate it when Popovich makes it fun to root for him. Hate that. I've interviewed Sager Sr. before, and asked him specifically about interviewing Popovich. He confirmed that indeed the crew in the truck will, on occasion, make wagers on the over/under for total words uttered in a Pop sideline hit.
Awesome job, to everyone involved in that moment on Sunday. Even off camera there was class being exuded:
Popovich gave me a hand written letter to give my Dad tomorrow. The whole Spurs organization is filled with class and great people. Thanks
— Craig Sager II (@CraigSagerJr) April 20, 2014
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And you better familiarize yourself with some of these other teams, because if you're going to enjoy the next seven weeks, it might be without the presence of your Houston Rockets. This is horrific....
Curse you, NBA gods.