Thunder Broadcasters' Roundtable, Blog Style
QUESTION: WHAT STOOD OUT MOST TO YOU ON DAY 1 OF THE NBA PLAYOFFS?
KELLY CRULL, SIDELINE REPORTER
I loved seeing that all the home teams were pushed in front of their own crowds. Great for the NBA and certainly more entertaining basketball to watch. The Pacers led the entire game for the most part and then what an amazing performance from Derrick Rose, who continued to show us why he is the MVP favorite with 39 points and six assists.
I also enjoyed the Portland-Dallas match-up. After giving Jason Kidd a couple days rest, he came out and played like he was in his mid-20s. And Thunder fans know all too well what Dirk Nowitzki is capable of and he proved that again last night, finishing with 28 points and 10 rebounds. I also thought LaMarcus Aldridge turning in a 27-point performance proved the challenge he poses to any defense.
And despite 46 points and 15 boards from Dwight Howard, the Magic displayed a perfect example of why the best TEAMS win championships; one guy can't do it all. But maybe the most significant point to take away from day one of the playoffs is you don't take "home court" for granted. Your turf or not, every night is going to be a dog fight and regardless of your seed, your crowd, your building, you best be ready to go when the ball is tipped.
BRIAN DAVIS, TV PLAY-BY-PLAY
That Indiana led for 47 minutes of its opener at Chicago was impressive. But the Pacers never got beyond striking distance and Derrick Rose long ago established himself as one of the best closers in the game. Go back to his rookie year when the Bulls, as the 8th seed, pushed the eventual champion Celtics to seven games -- most of them overtime -- in the first round. Rose is a marvel at creating his own shot in late-game situations. If he can't, he can distribute as he did to Kyle Korver for the go-ahead basket in the final minute yesterday.
Similar reaction to Portland at Dallas. Thunder fans have seen plenty of Dirk Nowitzki's fourth-quarter heroics -- and of Jason Kidd's ability to hit big shots down the stretch. Doesn't matter how the night's gone for them up to that point. Their focus when the game is on the line makes them one of the NBA's most lethal tandems.
MATT PINTO, RADIO PLAY-BY-PLAY
Derrick Rose's scintillating ability to lead the Bulls from 10 down late to survive and win Game 1 of their series with Indiana. Dwight Howard's mammoth 46-point outburst versus Atlanta being not nearly enough in Orlando's decisive Game 1 loss to the Hawks. Makes me wonder if Howard will have a wondering eye, seeking a trade this off-season uncertain of his supporting cast in Central Florida. And Dirk Nowitzki is a special, Hall of Fame talent but the jump shooting Mavs are doomed in their series with Portland.
GRANT LONG, TV ANALYST
The powerhouse Orlando Magic became the first of the elite teams to get a dent in its amour. While Dwight Howard dominated the entire game (46 points, 19 rebounds), the Hawks trusted their game plan and proved a great game from Howard alone will not beat you. The Hawks offered single-post coverage on Howard throughout the game, which allowed Hawks defenders to stay home on the Magic's outside shooters. With 30 fouls to delve out between the Hawks' five frontline players, Howard was batterd and bruised and the game plan was well-executed.