|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAWhile most of the top teams in the Eastern Conference came out on top of their respective first games of the playoffs, the Western Conference seemed a bit more shaky.
The San Antonio Spurs gave the Memphis Grizzlies their first ever playoff win, going down 101-98. Tim Duncan is back for the playoffs, but Manu Ginobili sat out for the Spurs, who let the game get away from them in the final quarter. But it is important to keep in mind that San Antonio routinely loses the first game of the playoffs before going on to win big. So this game may not mean much for Memphis.
The loss the Los Angeles Lakers experienced to the New Orleans Hornets, however, is a little more disconcerting. The Lakers sleep-walked their way into the playoffs, dropping six games in a row before winning their final few games. The loss to the Hornets was another clear sign that the Lakers just seem tired and apathetic. Maybe they just don't want it this year, or maybe they really are too tired to keep competing at the level the NBA demands. The Hornets got the 109-100 victory.
The Dallas Mavericks, on the other hand, won over the Portland Trail Blazers 89-81 with a strong fourth quarter performance from Dirk Nowitzki. While the Blazers turned a four point deficit into a five point lead in the fourth quarter, Dallas battled back. Nowitzki took over for the Mavs, scoring 12 straight points in two minutes.
And in the late game last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder escaped the Denver Nuggets 107-103. Kevin Durant had to carry the game for the Thunder, scoring 41 points in the process, while Russell Westbrook put in 31 points of his own. The rest of the team faltered a little bit, but Durant's strong game was enough to put away the Nuggets. Denver shot only 21-of-33 from the free throw line.
Will either the Spurs or Lakers make it to the NBA Finals this year? That is looking more and more doubtful for Los Angeles unless they wake up and starting playing basketball again, and the Spurs need to get over their lingering injury problems. If that doesn't happen, though, this year is looking more and more like the Eastern Conference will be able to boast the league champions.