The NBA Playoffs began on Saturday and even the first round has some interesting matchups. My favorite is OKC v Houston. Russell Westbrook of OKC and his old teammate, James Harden of Houston, are going head to head. Both were at the top of the heap for MVP late in the season. For what it's worth, I can't imagine anyone more deserving than Westbrook, but others are in a position to know better. Still, beating a record as difficult a averaging a triple-double and bettering Oscar Robertson's 1961-62 achievement is historic in the extreme. Houston is the favorite.
Boston beat out Cleveland for the best record in the East. That's not a good sign for LeBron and team. Yesterday they won by one point against Indiana which is not a pushover. No one is foolish enough to vote against the Cavaliers, I mean LeBron, making it to the Finals, but this is not a good time to be struggling.
Golden State surprised the heck out of me by flourishing without Kevin Durant. I was certain San Antonio would take the best record in the West while KD was out with an injury. Nope, not even close. Yesterday SA crushed Memphis, but one game does not a series make. GS has its chance to make a splash on Easter Sunday at 3 EDT.
The surprise and disappointment for me was the LA Clippers loss to the Jazz on Saturday. They have the same record, but the Clippers have been close to the top for several years. In 2016 injuries killed them in the playoffs. ACC stars are a big part of the team: Chris Paul, Raymond Felton, Brice Johnson, Austin Rivers, and J. J. Redick. It seems like a long time ago when Redick came out of Roanoke to make Duke a contender. After they failed in the NCAA, Redick went into a tailspin of sorts with a drunk driving charge and a so-so start in the NBA. He has made himself into an excellent role player and a valuable starter for the Clippers. In a league where talent is abundant, it takes incredible grit to rise like Redick has in recent years. Chris Paul (Wake Forest), DeAndre Jordan, and Blake Griffin are the big stars, however, and, if they can stay healthy, the Clippers will advance.