NBA Playoffs — Day 1
By: Corby Yarbrough | 4/17/11, 2:45 AM EDT
Thoughts from Day 1 of the NBA Playoffs
• All three higher seeds in the Eastern Conference trailed by double digits at some point during Saturday's games. Only Orlando failed to mount a comeback.
The top-seeded Bulls trailed the eighth-seeded Pacers for 47 minutes and change before Kyle Korver, or was that Steve Kerr, hit the go-ahead bucket with 48 seconds left after a drive and dish from Derrick Rose. Korver's 3-pointer was part of a 16-1 run to close out the game over the final 3:38 of a 104-99 victory.
• The second-seeded Heat trailed the seventh-seeded 76ers by 14 points in the first quarter and had to hold off a furious rally to secure the Game 1 victory, 97-89.
Philadelphia got production from its bench — 36 points to Miami's 18. However, when Philly's six bench players were on the floor they combined for a -26 to the +20 for Miami's four players. It may be one of those stats you don't read a lot into, but come playoff time, I'm looking for things to be going the + way rather than the - way.
• Then there's Orlando, the third game of the day and the third Eastern Conference team seeded higher to trail by double digits. The Magic did not defend its home court well in a 103-93 loss to Atlanta.
Even a franchise playoff record 46 points from Dwight Howard, to go along with 19 rebounds, was not enough to get the fourth-seeded Magic past the fifth-seeded Hawks, who are now 4-1 against Orlando this season.
The Hawks had four of five starters score in double figures and defending Sixth Man of the Year, Jamal Crawford, had 23 points off the bench in 31 minutes. Atlanta shot 51 percent from the field.
Both teams made six 3-pointers, but the Hawks made six of their 14 while the Magic made just six of 22 for a 27-percent effort. Jameer Nelson had four of those for 12 of his 27 points as the only other Orlando player to score more than six points. The other seven players that got minutes were 6-of-34 (17 percent) from the field. If I'm Atlanta, let Dwight get his if the rest of the Magic are going to play as bad as this.
• Out West, third-seeded Dallas never trailed by double digits and held serve with an 89-81 victory over sixth-seeded Portland. In fact, the Mavs led by double digits late in the second, allowed the Blazers to come back and take the lead early in the fourth and closed with a 26-16 effort to take Game 1.
And of course who led the Dallas effort? Dirk Nowitzki. He scored 21 of his 28 points during the 26-16 run, including 16-of-21 from the free-throw line.
• Now it's on to Day 2.
Top-seeded San Antonio takes on a Memphis team that's never won a playoff game.
The Lakers play host to the Hornets as L.A. begins its run for a third straight NBA championship.
The team the Lakers beat in last year's NBA Finals, Boston, gets started against a New York Knicks team back in the postseason for the first time since 2004.
And Oklahoma City gets a Denver team it won three of four from in the regular season, including two wins in the final eight days of the regular season.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter
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