We’re one and a half-days into the playoffs, Miami and Milwaukee just tipped off, and so far there haven’t been any big surprises result-wise. But like last year, when Derrick Rose tore his ACL in the first playoff game, one team has already lost a key contributor, with the Warriors’ David Lee going down to a hip injury.
For more details on Lee’s injury, head over here. Also on Sheridan Hoops, we’ve got a roundup of what we learned on the first day of the playoffs from Chris Sheridan, and a column from Jan Hubbard on the Thunder-Rockets matchup.
Now here’s all the latest NBA news and rumors as we wrap up the first weekend of the playoff season. There’s lots more to go, folks.
- In what was anticipated to be perhaps the tightest of the first-round series, the Clippers knocked off the Grizzlies in Game 1. Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes: “It wasn’t exactly the bruise-fest we expected it would be. The officials didn’t really allow for that, calling 57 fouls and four each on Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph well before the end of the third quarter. It seemed every time Griffin and Randolph were about to go at it, one was called for a foul that led them to the bench. Griffin eventually fouled out with 3:32 left after scoring only 10 points and grabbing five rebounds. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan had an equally subpar game, scoring three points, grabbing eight rebounds and sitting out nearly the entire fourth quarter. Despite those performances, the Clippers not only dominated the game but dominated the boards, outrebounding the Grizzlies 47-23. “It’s going to be physical every single game, that’s the way he likes to play and that’s the way you have to play him,” Griffin said. “As long as at the end of the game we’re winning that rebounding battle and we’re up, I’m cool with it.” “
Some more interesting Clippers talk:
- Another one of the more exciting matchups on the first day of the playoffs (on paper, going in) was the Nets and the Bulls, and in this one, the Nets came out on top. Here’s Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News: “(Deron) Williams ripped Chicago’s defense to shreds, finishing with 22 points and seven assists, highlighted by that jam in the third quarter that would have been unthinkable just one month ago while he battled ankle injuries. “It just happened,” Williams said. “I just was trying to show some guys in the NBA I might be able to compete in the dunk contest next year. My legs feel good, my ankles feel good right now. I’m excited to be back in the playoffs.” Brook Lopez, competing in his first playoff gamer, pounded the paint, adding 21 points and five rebounds. The Nets shot 56%. “Brooklyn hit us with a haymaker,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.”
- Here’s Marc Berman of the New York Post with some Knicks news: “Knicks coach Mike Woodson said if yesterday had been a Game 7, starting guard Pablo Prigioni likely would have suited up on his balky right ankle in the first-round playoff opener against the Celtics. Woodson said he believes Prigioni will be ready for Game 2 on Tuesday and for the Knicks, that is a good thing. That’s because Woodson started Chris Copeland at the wing, and he appeared hampered by a recent shoulder surgery and seemed a bit overwhelmed in his playoff debut. Copeland, recently a scoring beast, was scoreless in 12:46, going 0 for 3 in the Knicks’ 85-78 win.”
Bob Finnan at the News-Herald in northern Ohio looks at some candidates for the Cavs’ now-open coaching job, which he notes is widely rumored to be led by Mike Brown: “A source close to former Miami and Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said Van Gundy has no interest in coaching any of the three current openings in the NBA: in Philadelphia, Detroit or Cleveland. Ex-Portland and Seattle coach Nate McMillan might have some interest in the Cavs’ job, but if the Sacramento Kings move to Seattle, he’d be earmarked for that position. Former Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles is available. He’s hard-nosed and a defensive coach, but he is known to wear down everyone around him with his relentless style. There are several up-and-coming assistant coaches who could draw interest from Cavs general manager Chris Grant. One of them could be Denver assistant coach Melvin Hunt, who spent several years on Brown’s staff in Cleveland. Hunt also worked under Phil Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is currently Nuggets coach George Karl’s lead assistant and is well-respected around the league. Hunt has a good background in coaching defense and in developing young talent. He works very closely with the Nuggets’ young stable of big men.”