So far, 3 of the 4 home teams held serve in the Western Conference playoffs. However, it may get interesting as the first round of the playoffs progress. Everybody knows the Denver Nuggets are the youngest playoff team in the Western Conference. They didn’t fare well in their opening round loss down the stretch. Therefore, they have the most important game coming up, especially as the No. 2 seed.
Series: Golden State Warriors (1-0) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (0-1)
The Golden State Warriors took a (1-0) lead over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors held off the Clippers for a 121-104 victory in Game 1. Stephen Curry went off for 38 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists. However, the big story came from Kevin Durant. He picked up a pair of technical fouls and ejection with Patrick Beverley. Remember, the NBA has a terrible rule that seven technical fouls equals a suspension in the postseason. The NBA still doesn’t realize it hurts the great teams in the most critical rounds of the postseason. That’s why it was dumb for Durant to mix it up with Beverley in the fourth quarter. Both teams take the court in Game 2 on Monday night.
Series: Denver Nuggets (0-1) vs. San Antonio Spurs (1-0)
What does the No. 2 seed get you in the 2019 Western Conference playoffs? A date with the San Antonio Spurs. The Denver Nuggets found out the hard way how difficult life can be in the postseason. DeMar DeRozan produced 18 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists in the road win. Despite the 101-96 loss, the Nuggets had plenty of chances to win the game down the stretch. Game 2 is set for Tuesday night with the Nuggets at 6.5 favorites.
Series: Portland Trailblazers (1-0) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (0-1)
The Portland Trailblazers held off the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their playoff series. Although the Trailblazers took a 14-point lead in the first quarter, the Thunder kept responding with big runs. However, the Blazers had an answer every time in the most pivotal moments. They won 104-99 to avoid consecutive first-round sweeps. Damian Lillard led the Trailblazers with 30 points. C.J. McCollum scored 24 points. Meanwhile, Enes Kanter produced 20 points and 18 rebounds in the win. The Blazers also held the Thunder to 5 of 33 from 3-point range. The Blazers are two point favorites in Tuesday’s Game 2 matchup.
Series: Houston Rockets (1-0) vs. Utah Jazz (0-1)
Well, the Houston Rockets outclassed the Utah Jazz, 122-90 in Game 1 of the series. James Harden produced 29 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds in 32 minutes. They turned a mildly close game into a blowout in the final 12 minutes. The Rockets used a nice third quarter run to take a 12-point lead to start the fourth. They outscored the Jazz by 20 points in the fourth to leave no doubt. The Rockets had seven players reach double figures. Game 2 is set for Wednesday where the Rockets are 6.5 point favorites.
Playoff Notes: The winners averaged 112 points in Game 1. The losers averaged 97.25 points per game. In fact, the Clippers were the only team to reach the century mark. That equates to a 14.75 scoring differential in Game 1’s. Will the games become closer are the series foes get more familiar?