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Sunday NBA Playoffs: Rockets and Bulls Lose

Here is a look at the rest of game-one’s that were played on Sunday in the NBA.

Mavericks vs. Spurs
Dallas was only able to score a measly 12-points in the first quarter on Sunday in their opening game against San Antonio. If they would’ve had at least 20, it might’ve been enough to get a major upset against the top ranked team in the playoffs. Instead, the Spurs would maintain a steady dose of control, pulling out the 90-85 win. For a typical one-versus-eight matchup, this game probably looked a lot closer than you’d expect. However, these two teams are familiar with one another and have plenty of experience in the playoffs. However, much of that experience for the Mavs comes from Dirk Nowitzki, who scored only 11-points on Sunday. Instead, it was Devin Harris that led the way for Dallas, putting in 19-points. Despite their crucial win, it was a bit of a scare when Tim Duncan went down in the third quarter after being tripped up around the free throw line. However, Duncan would return to the game and lead the way with 27-points. Tony Parker also pitched in with 21-points and Manu Ginobili came off the bench with 17. The thing to take away from this game was how dominant the Spurs experience looked over that of the Mavs. If Dallas wants to have any chance of evening things up in game two, they’ll need much more than just 11-points from Nowitzki. The mark is the lowest Nowitzki has ever scored in a playoff game that he played at least 40-minutes in, one he won’t want to repeat on Wednesday.

Bobcats vs. Heat
After watching the Pacers blow their home court advantage in a loss on Saturday, things looked equally as scary for the heat on Sunday when they ended the first quarter down, 23-19 to Charlotte. However, the Heat would then go on to outscore the Bobcats in the second, putting them up 49-42 at half. Things were even in the third when both teams scored 23, but it was an 18-4 run in the fourth that sealed the deal for the Heat to get the game one win. LeBron James was his typical self, putting in 27-points and grabbing 9-rebounds. However, the Heat also got a welcome addition from another unlikely source, as James Jones put in 27 of his own. Dewayne Wade also contributed with 23 and Chris Anderson led the team with 10-rebounds. For the Bobcats, Kemba Walker had 20-points and Al Jefferson helped out with 18. The final score of 99-88 was a good representation of this game. Although the Bobcats were in it at times, the Heat were able to turn it up and pour it on when it mattered; something that the Pacers were unable to do on Saturday. The Heat will now get ready for game two, as they hope to avoid letting the Bobcats get out to a strong start like they did Sunday. Despite the win, it’s dangerous to let a team get a lead on you like Charlotte did, so the Heat will want to make sure they don’t get any more confidence than what they already have. The Heat are still favorite to win it all, 11/5.

Wizards vs. Bulls
Joakim Noah was thought to be the most prominent big man in this series between the Bulls and the Wizards. However, Washington’s Nene had other plans as he showed up huge in game one, putting in 24-points and grabbing 8-boards. Though Nene’s effort was one of the best of his career, he was helped out by all of the Wizards’ starters, as each of them were able to get into double digits in the upset win. As for Noah, he was the lowest scoring player for the Bulls, as he put in just 10-points. Instead it was Kirk Hinrich that led the Bulls with 16-points, which was matched off the bench by DJ Augustine. The Bulls had 24-points, including 13 that were second-chance points, in the paint in the first half on Sunday. However, they had just 16 points in the paint in the second half, only four of which were on offensive rebounds. At 60/1 odds to win the NBA Championship, maybe nobody expects the Bulls to win it all. However, to get beat on their home court by 9-points by a Washington team that is just 125/1 to win the championship, this game certainly came as a huge surprise. Game two is on Tuesday and the Bulls will have to figure out how to match Nene’s intensity inside, without taking too much pressure off John Wall. Sportspicks.com handicappers will evaluate how game two should look, before it tips off on Tuesday night.

Trailblazers vs. Rockets
The last game on the night just might have been the best. And if you ask LeMarcus Aldridge, he’ll probably tell you it’s one he’ll never forget. In the 122-120 overtime win, Aldridge had 46-points and 18-rebounds. The 46-points was a career-high for him and franchise playoff-high for the Trailblazers. However, despite the monster effort, Aldridge would foul out in the overtime period, leaving the rest of the effort up to the rest of his team. Luckily, Damian Lillard finished with 31, including the go-ahead free throws in the extra-period. For the Rockets, Dwight Howard put in 27-points and 15-rebounds, which probably would’ve been the best performance of the night if it hadn’t been for everything that Aldridge and Lillard was doing. Houston also got 27 from James Harden and 24 from Chandler Parsons. The key to note of in this game may have been the fact that the Rockets only played three players off their bench. Instead, Parsons played 47-minutes, while Harden played 45. If this is going to continue to be a beat-em-up series, which, if Sunday was any indication, it looks like it will be, the Rockets will have to figure out a way to avoid their guys from playing so many minutes. Luckily, the Rockets will have three days to rest, as game two isn’t until Wednesday night. After their dominant performance on Sunday, the Blazers increased their odds to 50/1, while the Rockets remain at 23/1.