Carmelo dominates Day 1 of NBA Playoffs; KG fights Miami solo

04.18.10 7 years ago 45 Comments

Carmelo Anthony, Dime #53

Fights, technicals, rim-abusing dunks, explosive rookie debuts, superstars taking over. Except for a game that actually went down to the wire, Day 1 of the NBA playoffs had just about everything you could want … Carmelo Anthony was the MVP of the day, dropping 42 points (18-25 FG) on the Jazz as Denver took the opener of their series. ‘Melo (rocking the Mister Rogers sweater in the post-game presser) only went to the line four times; this was all pull-up jumpers, drives and buckets in the post, plus one scoop shot he put in with crazy English off the glass as the Nuggets were putting the finishing touches on the W late in the fourth quarter. Not having Andrei Kirilenko on defense obviously hurts the Jazz, but we’re not sure anybody short of Ron Artest in his prime could have f’d with ‘Melo yesterday … It was tied early in the fourth before J.R. Smith (20 pts) knocked down three straight triples, then followed up a miss from the scorer’s table with a long offensive rebound and finger roll. Utah was pretty much done after that … Deron Williams (26 pts, 11 asts) vs. Chauncey Billups (15 pts, 8 asts) is going to be good. If you’ve never seen two PG’s go at each other with the same physicality as power forwards in the Big Ten, watch this series. But with Mehmet Okur leaving the game with an Achilles injury, AK-47 already out, and Carlos Boozer playing with sore ribs, D-Will might wind up trying to do it all by himself again … Of course nobody is going to really remember that the Celtics dominated the fourth quarter against Miami, that their defense shut down Miami’s front line all day, or that they won a tough Game 1 despite Ray Allen (8 pts, 2-9 FG) being almost invisible offensively: This will be remembered for Kevin Garnett trying to beat up the Heat by himself while Paul Pierce and Q-Rich set up what could be a Kobe/Artest-style (or at least Kobe/Raja Bell) rivalry over the next few games … In the final seconds of Boston’s defensive masterpiece, Pierce took a sequence of body-checks from Richardson and Udonis Haslem, and was down in front of Miami’s bench with a hurt shoulder. KG (15 pts, 9 rebs) was leaning over Pierce when Richardson walked up and got a love-tap elbow from KG in the gut. Those two went nose-to-chest, everybody came over to intervene, and during the chaos KG delivered another elbow — this time to Q-Rich’s face, and this time not a love tap. Garnett got kicked out, and a few other guys got technicals. Stay tuned to see if KG gets suspended for the next game … Before that, Garnett was part of the Celtics frontcourt that kept Jermaine O’Neal and Michael Beasley to a combined 14 points on 6-for-22 shooting. (Although Beasley did have one follow dunk where he gave Big Baby a face full of package.) Dwyane Wade put up 26 points in the loss …

Paul Pierce, Dime #5

After the game, Q-Rich questioned whether Pierce’s injury was legit, or was he just “taking a break like he does so many times.” And did seeing Pierce look all victimized at the press conference remind anyone else of the one time he showed up with his jaw taped up to make a point that Indiana was fouling him? … Cavs/Bulls could have been close, except Chicago had no answer for LeBron or Shaq physically. Shaq only played 24 minutes and put up a modest 12 points and 5 boards, but he got Cleveland’s offense going early. NBA TV’s Dennis Scott said Shaq had “given up burgers” during his time away, and he did look a little slimmer and quicker out there … LeBron (24 pts) wasn’t in Takeover Mode until the fourth quarter when the Bulls started to creep back into it, but he didn’t have to dominate. It was a team effort from the Cavs. Seeing as the Bulls used to knock the Cavs out seemingly every year during the Jordan era, is this like payback for Craig Ehlo, Gerald Wilkins, Mark Price and the rest? … The Hawks did what you’re supposed to do against a young team that’s mostly new to the playoffs: Blitz them early and often before they have a chance to get comfortable. While the Bucks were still looking around at all the pretty lights, Atlanta went up 20 in the first quarter and led by 22 at the half. Al Horford and Josh Smith were getting what they wanted inside — a symptom of Andrew Bogut‘s absence — but it was overall a balanced effort … Meanwhile, Milwaukee was a one-man show. Brandon Jennings scored 34 points (14-25 FG), and unless John Salmons gets going ASAP, the rookie will have to consistently put up huge numbers for the Bucks to even have a chance. Jennings knocked down the open shots, but also threw in some crazy ones, like that quick-release one-hand runner fading left from the free throw line … The Bucks rallied in the second half, and with two minutes left, were within single digits. But Joe Johnson (22 pts, 7 rebs, 5 asts, 3 stls) hit an elbow fadeaway with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute draped all over him that was basically the dagger … Atlanta had its crowd do the white-out thing. For a minute we thought we’d stumbled across a Utah home game … We’re out like KG …

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