#6 Dallas Mavericks vs. #3 Oklahoma City Thunder, OKC leads series 1-0 (8pm ET Monday, TNT)
On Saturday, the Thunder beat the Mavs like a rented mule 108-70, in a game so lopsided OKC’s starting five averaged just under 26 minutes apiece with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant not even stepping on the floor in the fourth quarter. The Mavs managed just 11 points in the first quarter on their way to being the first team since the 2013 Bulls to shoot under 30% in a playoff game (not surprisingly, NBA teams are 0-24 in playoff games in which they’ve shot that poorly since 1964). Dirk Nowitzki was the lone Mav to reach double figures, scoring 18 points as Zach Pachulia and Dwight Powell led Dallas with just six rebounds apiece while no one on the team had more than three assists. In contrast, OKC’s Westbrook posted 24-5-11, Durant went 23-5-5, Serge Ibaka had 17 points and 9 rebounds, and Enes Kanter came off the bench to contribute 16 points and 13 rebounds–all four of those dudes had a better night than the Mavs’ best player.
The Mavs are going to have to shoot way better, put way more pressure on Durant and Westbrook, and be way more aggressive on the glass (they were outrebounded 56-33) to even have a half a chance in this series, and it’s hard to envision a world in which that happens. Watching KD and Westbrook eviscerate a team can be fun, though.
#8 Houston Rockets vs. #1 Golden State Warriors, GSW leads series 1-0 (10:30pm ET Monday, TNT)
The Golden State Warriors thoroughly trounced the Houston Rockets 104-78 in game one of the first round series Saturday, but the win came at a price as reigning MVP Steph Curry was forced by a sore ankle to leave the game early in the third quarter. Despite playing just 20 minutes, Curry still led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including hitting on 5 of 7 from downtown. The Rockets did nothing particularly well, shooting 36% from the floor, 27% from 3 and 50% from the line, while totaling 9 more turnovers and 10 fewer assists than their tormentors. James Harden was held to just 17 points, while making 6 turnovers, and Dwight Howard managed 14 points and 11 rebounds, but made 5 turnovers of his own. The Warriors held the Rockets to 18 or less in three of four quarters, led 60-33 at the half, were up 65-39 when Curry checked out for good, and never got closer than 71-55. It was ugly.
“As far as Monday goes, I’d say Steph is questionable,” Warriors head coach Kerr said after the game. “We will see how he responds the next couple of days and go from there.” Not surprisingly, Curry sees things differently, assuring any and all “don’t see a scenario where I’ll be out.” Given that Kerr is not dumb, and the Warriors are up 1-0 in a the series, Curry will be used sparingly, if at all, on Monday.