With the Chicago Bulls beating the Brooklyn Nets in game 7 last night, the first round of the 2013 NBA is officially over, and what a first round it's been.
MIAMI HEAT vs MILWAUKEE BUCKS
In the East, there was no real surprise with the Miami Heat sweeping the Milwaukee Bucks 4-0 to go straight into the second round. That series was made all the more entertaining by the fact that, Brandon Jennings had said that they'd take Miami in 6 games, before it all kicked off. Dwayne Wade wasn't impressed, and Jennings and the Bucks couldn't put their money where their mouth was.
The Heat won each game by more than 10 points, taking then through to round 2, where they'll play the Chicago Bulls.
Game 1: MIA 110 - MIL 87
Game 2: MIA 98 - MIL 86
Game 3: MIA 104 - MIL 91
Game 4: MIA 88 - MIL 77
BROOKLYN NETS vs CHICAGO BULLS
In the Nets / Bulls matchup, the Nets came out and won game 1, 106 to 89, but then Chicago went on to win the next 3 games, with game 4 turning out to be an absolute epic.
Game 4 went to triple-overtime, and was a truly heartfelt battle between the two teams. Nate Robinson was the man of the match, as he went off in the 4th quarte to ensure that the Bulls stayed in the game. The Bulls were down by 14 points, with 2:53 left on the game clock in regulation. Nate scored 23 points in the 4th, including 12 straight points in the last couple of minutes to bring the Bulls back into the game, and to help force OT.
Despite then fouling out in the second overtime, Robinson continued to be a huge motivation for the Bulls, who pushed it in the third overtime, to take a 142-134 win, and to go 3-1 up in the series.
Robinson's 23 points in the 4th quarter, were just 1 short of Michael Jordan's 24-point, 4th quarter Bulls record from the 1990 playoffs.
The drama wasn't over then though, Brooklyn fought back to win the next 2 games, pushing the series to a game 7, which would be held in Brooklyn.
The Bulls suffered serious losses through injury, obviously Derrick Rose was still sidelined, Luol Deng was out, and they were still missing Kirk Hinrich, who had previously done a good job in locking down Derron Wiliams. Despite all that, the Bulls hunger to get to the next round of the playoffs really shone through, and they snatched a 6 point win in game 7 to go through.
The Bulls face the defending champions, the Miami Heat, in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The bets tend to go in favour of Miami, but during the regular season, the Bulls were the ones that put a stop to the Miami Heat's record breaking win streak, so this should be a good matchup.
Game 1: BKN 106 - CHI 89
Game 2: CHI 90 - BKN 82
Game 3: CHI 79 - BKN 76
Game 4: CHI 142 - BKN 134
Game 5: BKN 110 - CHI 91
Game 6: BKN 95 - CHI 92
Game 7: CHI 99 - BKN 93
INDIANA PACERS vs ATLANTA HAWKS
The Pacers / Hawks matchup was a hard one to call, and things looked pretty even throughout the series.
In game 1, the Pacers really came out with something prove. Paul George led his team throughout, and grabbed his first ever career, playoff triple-double, with 23 points, 12 assist and 11 rebounds. He kept up the attack throughout, also tying the Pacers franchise record for playoff free throws made, with 17 in the game. He led the Pacers to 107-90 win. Game 2 went along the same lines, to give Indiana a 2-0 lead in the series.
Game 3 was a different story however. Maybe the Hawks coach had some serious words with his players, or the Hawks players just managed to find a little some extra when things moved to their home court. The Hawks didn't just win game 3, they obliterated the Pacers.
The Hawks held the Pacers to just 30 first-half points, on 27.2 percent shooting. Over the course of the entire game, the Hawks had 11 steals and forced 22 turnovers. Hawks star, Josh Smith, pulled out a career play-off high 29 points and 11 rebounds in game 4 to even the series 2-2.
The home court advantage had really been a huge determining factor in these games, and game 5 and 6 were set to take place on the Pacers home turf. Once again, it proved vital, as the Pacers would go on to win both, and drop the Hawks 4-2 in the series.
Game 1: IND 107 - ATL 90
Game 2: IND 113 - ATL 98
Game 3: ATL 90 - IND 69
Game 4: ATL 102 - IND 91
Game 5: IND 106 - ATL 83
Game 6: IND 81 - ATL 73
NEW YORK vs BOSTON CELTICS
The age old rivalry between the Knicks and the Celtics always makes for entertaining watching, and this series would prove no different. The Knicks had the oldest team in the league this season, in terms of the average age of the players, and Boston are rocking a couple of old-timers too, so the teams seemed pretty evenly matched.
Before game 4, New York were 3-0 up, and we were looking at a second sweep in the Eastern Conference (after the Heat swept Milwaukee). But that wasn't to be. Boston fought back in games 4 and 5, to bring it back to 3-2.
Back in game 3, Carmelo scored a game high 26 points, and J.R. Smith, who won the Sixth Man of the Year award, was instrumental in helping the Knicks progress. However, he let himself slip in the fourth quarter, and threw an elbow at Jason Terry and was ejected on a flagrant 2 foul. That meant that Smith would miss game 4 as punishment.
Game 4 was a closely fought overtime game, and without J.R Smith in the way, Jason Terry helped secure Boston's first win in the series. Terry scored 18 points in overtime to secure the win for Boston, and that annoyed Smith.
Game 5 was New York's chance to go through to the next round, and Boston's chance to get another one up on the Knicks. The game was played at Madison Square Garden, so the general feeling was that the momentum would shift to New York. The Knicks players were pretty convinced too. They all wore black to arrive at MSG, to signify that they were arriving to the Celtic's funeral.
They shouldn't have been so cocky, as 5 Celtic's players racked up points in double figures as they fought off the Knicks in consecutive attempts.
Game 6, and no one was really mouthing off this time. The Knicks must have been feeling the pressure though, as there's no way they would want to let Boston get another one over them to even the series, then have to go to a game 7. Luckily for the Knicks, they did just enough to get the win, and take the Celtics 4-2.
Big cheers went up in the TD Garden for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce as they sat out in the dying minutes of the game. It's not clear whether they'll be back in a Boston uniform, or what the future of the Boston team will be.
Game 1: NYK 85 - BOS 78
Game 2: NYK 87 - BOS 71
Game 3: NYK 90 - BOS 76
Game 4: BOS 97 - NYK 90
Game 5: BOS 92 - NYK 86
Game 6: NYK 88 - BOS 80