Welcome to our weekly feature: This Week In Hoops. Every Monday morning we’ll take a quick look back at what we learned from the last week of games and a look forward at this week’s slate. College basketball is gone, but not forgotten. We’ll touch everything important in both the NBA playoffs and the college hoops offseason. Though without NCAA games, TWIH will be short and sweet. The best way to start your week of basketball watching.
What We Learned Last Week
- Hey, look! The NBA Playoffs! All 8 series started this weekend, with every top seed wining at home, except our neighbors up North. The Wizards stole Game 1 in Toronto in a game that could only be described as ugly. I fell asleep in the fourth quarter of a competitive game. The Raptors could only manage 86 points on their home court in an overtime game. They could do nothing to stop Paul Pierce, which is crazy because Father Time and arthritis are doing 90% of the work in that fight. If not for the play of their bench, the Raps would have been blown out in their own building. Washington’s starting 5 will have the advantage unless Kyle Lowry significantly outplays John Wall.
- Blake Griffin had his most dunktastic performance since the “Timofey Mozgov Affair” in 2013. He threw down three monsters, all on the head of poor Aaron Baynes.
The Week Ahead
Sunday, April 26: Early Entry Deadline for the NBA Draft
With a few decisions still to come, this is the final week for prospects to declare for the draft. Big announcements still looming include D’Angelo Russell (expected to declare), Stanley Johnson (reportedly back and forth), Kris Dunn, and Jakob Poeltl (both 50-50).
The Transfer Market!
Keep an eye on where the important transfers land (and read my post about the transfer market here). It’s crazy to think decisions in April could affect next year’s Final Four.
First Round Games Every Night!
It’s hard to pick out individual games during the 7 game series, so here’s a list of items to keep an eye on this week:
- Steph Curry. Anthony Davis. Even if Golden State beats up the Pelicans, these two players will make enough exciting plays to keep your attention. Oh, and watch out for the inevitable Klay Thompson hot shooting not. He’s good for a game over 35 in each series.
- Every aspect of Clippers-Spurs. It’s the main even of Round One. Speaking of main events, let’s talk about which Spur is most likely to take a swing at every NBA player’s least favorite NBA player Blake Griffin. The old Spurs (Duncan, Ginobili, Parker) are over all of that. Tiago Splitter never lives up to his awesome name. Kahwi is too important to risk it. Oh, it’s Aaron Baynes, isn’t it?
- Derrick Rose looked like old Derrick Rose the other night. If he continues to do so, the East becomes a lot more interesting.
- Mark Cuban’s comments about the Rockets were the first shot in that all-Texas series. Who fires back?
Enjoy the games, knuckleheads.
(Note: Every edition of This Week in Hoops will end with a song. I’ve compiled all of these songs into a playlist that you can find here.)
Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and writer at PalestraBack.com. He has also contributed to SALTMoney.org and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain.
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