#8 Detroit Pistons vs. #1 Cleveland Cavaliers, CLE leads series 1-0 (8pm ET Wednesday, TNT)
The Cavs spent much of the off-season muttering “If only…” as they looked back on a title run that was derailed by injuries to Kevin Love in the first round and Kyrie Irving in the finals (and, of course, the Golden State Warriors). On Sunday, LeBron James played his first postseason game with Love and Irving since April of last year, and came away with a 106-101 victory over the upstart Detroit Pistons. LeBron scored 22 points and had 11 assists, and needed all the help he could get to hold off a young hungry Pistons team. As it turns out, he got a lot of help, as Love poured in 28 with 13 boards, and Irving scored 31. The Pistons led by 7 following a Reggie Bullock 3 early in the fourth quarter, and the two teams were tied 88-88 halfway through the final frame, but a pair of huge Kevin Love 3-pointers quickly gave the Cavs a lead they would never relinquish.
Detroit has to feel good about playing the Cavs so tough, but it took a near perfect game for them to lose by 5. It was just the fifth time this year that they shot 50% on field goals and 3-pointers. They even made 75% of their free throws, had just 3 fewer rebounds, and 1 fewer assists, while committing just 10 turnovers. In the last 30 years of NBA playoff action heading into Sunday, teams had gone 31-1 while shooting that well and committing that few turnovers.
#5 Portland Trail Blazers vs. #4 Los Angeles Clippers, LAC leads series 1-0 (10:30pm ET Wednesday, TNT)
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped a triple double-double on the Trail Blazers en route to a 115-95 victory in Game 1 of the opening round. Clippers point guard, Chris Paul led all scorers with 28 points and had 11 assists, Blake Griffin had 19 points and 12 boards, and DeAndre Jordan had 18 and 12, while JJ Reddick chipped in 17 on 8-of-12 shooting as LA outscored the Blazers in each quarter, and the Blazers played catch-up for the last 27 minutes.
The Clippers also got it done on the defensive end, holding in check Portland’s potent guard tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who this season averaged almost 46 points a game, but on this night scored just 30, as Lillard had 21 on 7-of-17 shooting, while McCollum managed just 9 on 3-of-11 shooting. Gerald Henderson came off the bench for Portland to score 16 points in 30 minutes of play, but it wasn’t nearly enough on a night when the team shot just 40% from the floor.
The Clips are now 6-0 with Blake Griffin since return from injuries and suspensions, and last night he and the team looked to be in midseason form. If these guys are clicking, they could cause quite a ruckus in the West. Watch the Portland Trail Blazers vs. the Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30pm ET Wednesday on TNT.