Blogtable: Biggest surprise of playoffs so far?
Each week, we ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
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The biggest surprise so far this postseason?
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David Aldridge: That Toronto isn’t playing better. The Raps beat Milwaukee in the first round, but really struggled against them and almost blew a 25-point second-half lead in the clincher before holding on. And, at least in Game 1, they didn’t look like a team that is going to give Cleveland much resistance. I thought the return of Kyle Lowry and the added depth of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker would really pay off in the postseason. Now, they’re still in the postseason, so you could argue that it doesn’t matter. But I thought they’d be really rolling by now at both ends of the floor.
Steve Aschburner: So far? Houston’s beatdown of the Spurs in San Antonio in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series. Not that I think it will define the series — if you’re gonna lose, it doesn’t matter if it’s by one point or 27. I still expect this to go six or seven games. But here’s a bonus, my biggest surprise to come: I’ll be shocked if the Washington Wizards don’t get even more physical with Isaiah Thomas, up to and perhaps over the limit of the rules. The plucky Celtics guard is the Tiny Green Line standing between them and the East finals, and this series through two games already has been punishing. So I expect a little more “MMA” in the NBA in the coming days.
Fran Blinebury: File this under the last thing we saw happen: The Rockets doing everything but burning the Alamo to the ground in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at San Antonio was not the kind of thing you see happen very often to the Gregg Popovich-coached team.
Scott Howard-Cooper: I never would have imagined saying Isaiah Thomas, but wow. How could anyone have seen IT, or anyone, leading a team through a tough first-round series while dealing with tragedy? And then scoring 53 points Tuesday on what would have been his sister’s birthday?
Shaun Powell: The surprise is there is no surprise about the playoffs. Yet. Everything seems rather normal and expected so far: the Cleveland Cavaliers awaken from their regular-season slumber, the Golden State Warriors are on a roll, the LA Clippers collapse early, etc., etc. Maybe the next round will register higher on the shock meter, but right now, blah.
John Schuhmann: Big picture, nothing has been a shock. But seeing the Clippers lose Game 7 at home on Sunday and seeing the San Antonio Spurs get thumped at home in Game 1 on Monday were two results that surprised me in the last few days. Chris Paul had a heck of a series against the Utah Jazz, but just couldn’t carry his team through one more game. And it was fascinating to see the league’s No. 1 defense (which has generally been great at running teams off the line) get burned from beyond the arc.
Sekou Smith: The resilience shown by Isaiah Thomas and his Boston Celtics teammates has been nothing short of remarkable. With the blows they were dealt on the eve of the playoffs and after those first two games, they could have faded in the first round and no one would have blamed them. But the toughest little man in basketball has shown a moral fiber that is above and beyond what anyone could ask for, under the circumstance. Losing a loved one is something you never truly get over. So to see IT lead his team through such a tumultuous time has been as surprising as anything, so far, during this postseason.
Ian Thomsen: The biggest surprise is that Isaiah Thomas has played so well under such excruciating circumstances. An amazing story is developing in Boston.
Lang Whitaker: That there haven’t been any huge surprises? To me, I guess the biggest shock was Chicago winning those first two games in Boston, before the injury to Rondo knocked him out and the Bulls went back to being aimless. I wonder if Rondo hadn’t been hurt how that series would have played out, and I wonder if Boston might not be playing the Wiz right now but instead readying for the Draft lottery.