Akshay Manwani Freelance writer based in Mumbai

In an attempt to rid himself of the perils of performance appraisals, Akshay ventured into the world of freelance writing where he combined his twin interests of sports and cinema. He has since contributed to The Caravan, BCCI.tv, Business Standard and Man's World, among other publications. He has followed the fortunes of the NBA since the early ’90s, an experience that has given him extraordinary moments of joy in an otherwise mundane existence.

All season long, Akshay will cover the League from the point of view of a basketball expert living in India. Follow him every week on NBA.com/india!

Photo Gallery: Eastern Conference Playoffs Check-In

What a terrific weekend of NBA Playoffs! This has undoubtedly been the greatest first round in NBA history, with no less than five series going to Game 7s. While Miami and Washington made it out of the first round last week itself, the Indiana Pacers and the Brooklyn Nets put away their opponents in seven keenly-contested games to earn a ticket into the second round. Our Akshay Manwani gives you the update on the Eastern Conference playoff action.

Indiana’s ambition of wanting to play a potential Game 7 on their own home-court came true when they faced off against the Hawks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday evening. Paul George scored a postseason career-high 30 points and added 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the series while Lance Stephenson had 19 points and 14 rebounds in the Pacers’ 92-80 win that brought much relief to fans in Indiana.

In a series that has been close all through, only one point separated the Brooklyn Nets from the Toronto Raptors in Game 7. After Joe Johnson scored 26 points and Marcus Thornton added 17 points off the bench for the Nets, Paul Pierce blocked Kyle Lowry's last-second layup attempt to seal a 104-103 Brooklyn victory over the Raptors, winning their best-of-seven first-round series 4-3.

Eastern Conference Semifinals

The Pacers yet again found themselves caught on the back foot after they were trumped by the Washington Wizards in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. With Trevor Ariza making all six of his 3-pointers on the way to 22 points and Bradley Beal scoring 14 of his 25 in the first quarter, the Wizards snapped a 12-game losing streak in Indianapolis with a 102-96 victory. Also compounding Indiana's problems was All-Star center Roy Hibbert, who failed to produce a point or rebound in 18 minutes.

A well-rested Miami Heat cruised through Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semis against the Brooklyn Nets. LeBron James scored 22 points, Ray Allen added 19 as the Heat stayed perfect in this postseason by beating the Nets 107-86 on Tuesday night in what was also Miami’s first win in five meetings against Brooklyn this season. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is on Friday morning.