Blogtable: First-Round Impressions

Chris Paul has made 16 of his 28 shots and has 16 assists in two playoff games. (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

Chris Paul has made 16 of his 28 shots and has 16 assists in two playoff games. (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Week 26: Coaching vacancies | Best sideline strategists | First-round impressions

Who or what has impressed you so far this postseason?

Steve Aschburner: The Knicks. I’ve long been a skeptic of whatever comes out of Madison Square Garden, NBA-wise, because of media hype and team management’s infatuation frequently with the wrong types of players. But the Knicks apparently have the right coach and Mike Woodson has been getting those guys to play the right way. This edition of the Celtics has injury and age issues, sure, but the way New York’s defense has choked Boston off in the second halves of the first two games has to grab one’s attention.

Fran BlineburyChris Paul is averaging 23.5 points, 8 assists, shooting 16-for-28 from the field, hit the game-winner on Monday night and has the Clippers up 2-0 on Memphis. Mark me down as impressed.

Jeff Caplan: Since I spent the opening games of the playoffs in Los Angeles watching the Clippers, I’m going with three aspects of this team’s impressive start: Chris Paul, the bench and coach Vinny Del Negro — that’s right Del Negro. Paul’s been masterful, patiently allowing the game to come to him and playing superbly in crunch time with 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting, three assists and no turnovers in the fourth quarters of Games 1 and 2. The Clippers’ deep bench has at times out played Memphis’ starters and has received contributions from a number of players. As for Del Negro, he has his team well-prepared, motivated and he hasn’t succumbed to the notion that rotations must shrink in the playoffs. He’s getting solid contributions and keeping his starters’ minutes extremely reasonable.

Scott Howard-Cooper: Maybe because I as there to see it, but the Nuggets winning Game 1 without their preferred tempo was an impressive start to what could be a nice run. Everyone knows Denver can win when it runs. To grind out a victory while having to execute at the end of a close game is a good sign.

John Schuhmann: I’m impressed by how efficient the Clippers have been against the league’s No. 2 defense. I had the Grizzlies winning that 4-5 series in six games, because they’re the much better defensive team and because the Clips seemingly treaded water for the last couple of months. But Chris Paul has flipped the switch, taking on a bigger scoring load (47 points to go along with his 16 assists in the first two games) and still taking care of the ball (only two turnovers) against a D that has always been good at forcing miscues.

Sekou Smith: It’s early yet, but the Golden State Warriors showed me something in their Game 2 win over the Nuggets in Denver. Losing David Lee for the remainder of the playoffs is a blow. Any team that loses an All-Star and the league-leader in double doubles would struggle without him. But coach Mark Jackson pushed buttons on his deep roster and found several guys (most notably rookie Harrison Barnes) to step up and fill the void. This was the one series where I felt like the lower seed had a real chance to push the series into the seven-game realm and so far, the Warriors have made me feel really good about that prediction. When shooters like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and perhaps the most underrated player in the league this season, Jarrett Jack, get rolling, they can turn a game upside down. They shot 65 percent in a playoff game, folks. Crazy.

Lang Whitaker: I was a little curious about the Pacers coming in to the playoffs, because they’d lost five of six and had looked pretty bad at times over that stretch, but Paul George decided he wasn’t going to let the Pacers down. I know it’s been a small sample size, but George was phenomenal in Game 1 against the Hawks. He was Indiana’s best offensive player, repeatedly driving and either getting to the line (he shot 17-of-18 on free throws) or kicking to open teammates (he finished with 12 assists), and he pressured Josh Smith into shooting an array of long jumpers as the shot clock was ticking down.


  1. @ knickerboxer-LMAO-i’m not quite sure who your telling to shut up & i’m a moron-lmao-why? Because i’m telling the truth & a little boy like you can’t handle The Truth-mark them words-the series isn’t over yet kid!

  2. Steve says:

    Someone posted that OKC won by 29 then by 3 points, the LAC won by 21 then 2 pts. Yes Memphis is better then Houston but its a different series, and the LAC will have a much harder time against OKC. OKC is on a mission and the LAC are just in the way, kind of like the Lakers in LA and a non threat.

  3. Shawn says:

    Mike Woodsen and the Knicks the total team effort and unselfish play and true comradarie; the Bulls and Noah sense of urgency and grit, playing hurt and NOT complaining about their unhurt leader simply watching them from the sidelines for because he wants to win a championship?? look how heinrich stepped up took it to the basket, that really touched met; and Chris Paul! a truly great leader in the game today in every sense of the word – wow he leads by example, hard work, great talent – and humility, gives credit even to the other team players when due – and as a man and father. that how community needs! i place Carmelo, Noah and Chris Paul in the great category to join Lebron and Kobe, They prove it takes more than talent to be a champion, not just in words, but every time they come on the court – its a pure joy to watch them!

  4. beaverbrooks says:

    I am a Nuggets fanatic but Golden States win on Tuesday was the most impressive thing I have ever seen in the game of basketball; well put Steve, crazy. On that note, OKC is the true threat in the West and should be feared by everyone. Whatever that dude was saying about “lack of talent in the NBA today” must be from Pheonix, the talent has never been better.

  5. What i am surprised @ is how much the knicks got the refs help beating my Celts in both games, especially game 2! No now i’m not making excuses for Celts, they did play horrible offense 4th period gm 1-that’s about it on their part- even you knick fans if you look @ them games w/o bias, you have to admit ny got an extreme amount of favorable bad no calls all game both games w/ knick players flopping left & right when Celts would go on a run-which slowed their momentum & then w/ how physical both melo & kmart always play-as much or more than than KG & Pierce-melo & kmart barely a couple fouls in both games?. KG foul trouble both games, then Pierce & Green also in gm 2-comon really. Kg was starting to have a beast game 2-in only 24 minutes he had a dbl/dbl @ 12pts-11rebs-that’s why refs fouled him to the bench-what was the foul excuses in gm 1-KG didn’t shoot well then-oh i know, his beastly defense every game. Now when they come to Boston we’ll see if refs call the games consistent-they sure won’t call heavy favor for Celts as they did for ny-consistent calls period on both ends is all we Celts fans ask. How can knicks or their fans be even proud of either of those 2 wins knowing refs absolutely called their heavy favor-what’s the matter? Can the knicks not get thru winning playoff games with out refs help?

  6. ewan sayo says:

    so what’s the point common sense?

  7. Common Sense says:

    Clips took home court…let’s remember that they took the season series against these guys 3-1 and won twice in Memphis, one without Chris Paul. This should not be shocking.
    Pacers win, uh wooptie do.
    OKC…they beat houston…at home….so what?
    Miami beat Jennings and Ellis…need I say more?
    Knicks beat a beat up Celtic team…wow…
    Spurs beat the Lakers…not a shock…without Kobe…yeah, not a shock.
    Golden State ended the streak in Denver’s home, without All Star center David Lee…yeah…that’s impressive. 61% first half and 68% second half…yeah impressive. Best shooting percentage in the playoffs since 1991…uh, Impressive!
    A Roseless Bulls TEAM, came into Brooklyn and stole game 2…uh, that’s pretty impressive. Brooklyn beat them without Noah…not so impressive

    • wow says:

      truth… first comment on here that didnt sound ignorant or biased.
      yeah I love the clippers and glad they handled business, but it was at home and theyre supposed to.
      considering there have only been 2 real upsets so far in the playoffs, you would think those would be the most impressive.
      home court really is that important.
      the warriors beat the nuggets at home… really? is that not crazy enough for u? theyve been pretty much unbeatable in denver the entire season and the warriors came in and put on an offensive clinic. oh and without david lee lol
      I would never count the bulls out just cuz they have more heart and fight than most teams can even dream of
      I am a huge clipper fan, but cmon u gotta give the teams credit when credit is due…(cept u sekou lol)

      • Kaare Weidling says:

        wauww. A lot of people is mentioning the fact that Lee is out for the warriors thus impliying that its more impressive they beat the Nugs. Do not forget that Denver is Missing Galinari plus Faried is not right.

      • wow says:

        KAARE- that has nothing to do with the point I was making. What I said was that they were able to put on an offensive clinic and score 131 pts in denver, even without their 2nd most important player. We all know who is injured and who isnt.

  8. theholyspectator says:

    im impressed by knicks, did not think theyd be up 2-0 to boston right now, caught me off guard, was expecting clips to not be up 2-0 right now, especially the way game 2 ended sad for grizz, they almost stole one. all the other series are pretty obvious as far as how they will pan out, spurs gonna end lakers in 2 more games as will okc to houston…bucks i dont even know why they are playing…hawks are done..denver and warriors, i could care less..same for bulls and nets, meaningless series right there..but ultimately in the end its miami vs okc or spurs…miami winning the 2012-2013 title and a few days later we will see mvp lebron on letterman

  9. Patty says:




    • DTB says:

      you’re lost bud

    • Oakley34BLAM says:

      Yeah if only Melo, Paul, Dirk, Garnett, and JSmoove still played. Wait…what?

      Anyway…I’ll tell ya what surprises me thus far…it’s Mr. Aschburner giving cred to the Knicks on the same day he took some veiled shots at Thibs and the Bulls’ architects. Where are you and what have you done with the Central division pundit???

      Just kidding of course, I greatly enjoy his blogs even if he seems to strongly dislike Melo and my Knicks and looooves my two most reviled teams. Reviled, maybe…but also respected. So respect too to Mr Aschburner for giving credit where it is due. Now we just need to see if the Bockers can do the same in Boston.

  10. OKCKD35 says:

    hmmm OKC won by 29 points and played the deep bench in the 4th quarter, was this not impressive? im sure i’m a little biased, but OKC thumped the Rockets in game 1, OKc’s margin of victory is more than both of the Clippers games combined. Granted i’ tired of hearing about the clippers as I live in southern California, and maybe im not impressed because OKc handled the Clips this year. But all bias aside, id go with Golden State, the knicks have looked good, but at the same time I don’t know if its the knicks dominating, or the Celtics just being old, slow, and without their best playmaker.

    • 90PercentFTM says:

      OKC won game 1 by 29 points against the 8th seed Rockets, a team known for having poor defense. The Clippers won game 1 by 21 points against the Grizzlies, one of the best (if not the best) defensive teams in the league. What’s impressive about the first part? What’s not impressive about the second part?

      By the way, after you posted this, OKC won game 2 by only 3 points and Marc Gasol won defensive player of the year.

      • Tao says:

        I support the clippers. The play style of CP3 attracts every person, He is the real worrior, master on the court.

  11. newyorksteelo says:

    The Knicks! What Steve Aschburner wrote about the Knicks defense gave me goosebumps, especially after witnessing it myself in the second half of the first 2 games. If they continue to play defense like that, watch out Eastern Conference Finials, and watch out Miami cause it’s going to be a battle till the end. If it comes to be, this series will be one of the best in more than a decade of NBA Playoffs. Excited as can be 🙂