Community Shootaround: Possible First-Round Upsets

Game 1 is in the books for all eight of the NBA’s first-round playoff matchups, and several of those games set up potentially fascinating series. Six of the eight higher seeds held their home-court advantage in the first game, but some of those favorites looked a little shaky in their victories, leading to plenty of speculation about first-round upsets.

We’ll start with the weekend’s biggest upset, which took place in Cleveland, where the Pacers dismantled LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Game 1. It won’t be a surprise if the Cavs eventually pull out this series, but their 98-80 loss on Sunday was something we haven’t seen since James returned to Cleveland in 2014. In their last three first-round series, the Cavs have swept the Celtics, Pistons, and – one year ago – the Pacers.

Of course, these Pacers are a much different team than the squad swept out of the postseason a year ago. Victor Oladipo looked like the best player on the floor on Sunday, and players like Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Lance Stephenson looked great in supporting roles. This Pacers team was overlooked and underappreciated all season, and appear poised to give the Cavs all they can handle in round one.

The other Game 1 upset occurred in Portland, where the Pelicans edged out a two-point win over the Trail Blazers. Anthony Davis (35 points, 14 rebounds) was the best player on the court in that game, but Jrue Holiday‘s impact shouldn’t be understated. Besides posting 21 points and seven assists, Holiday also locked up Damian Lillard on the other end of the court — Lillard made just six of 23 shots.

The Pelicans don’t have a whole lot of standout talent behind Davis and Holiday, but Nikola Mirotic (16 points, 11 rebounds) stepped up as a reliable third option on Saturday. If he – or another Pelican – can continue to support Davis and Holiday throughout the series, New Orleans should have a chance.

Elsewhere, the Raptors, Rockets, and Thunder had to battle to the end to hold off the Wizards, Timberwolves, and Jazz, respectively, but came away with Game 1 victories. The Bucks pushed the Celtics to overtime before losing Eric Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo to foul problems and ultimately losing the game. None of those four favorites is a mortal lock to advance, though Houston is probably close.

The Warriors and Sixers took care of business with comfortable wins over the Spurs and Heat, respectively.

What do you think? Will we see an upset – or multiple upsets – in the first round of the postseason? Which lower-seeded teams do you think look like the best bets to advance to round two?

Head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

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12 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Possible First-Round Upsets

  1. Hen1CHC

    I think the Bucks……and maybe the Pacers could pull off upsets. Cavs are impossible to read

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  2. Gary

    Wow Jrue Holiday is a player!! I didn’t realize he was that good. New Orleans could bounce the Blazers.

    Pacers will come back to earth… there’s no way LeBron doesn’t come out of the East.

    I thought the Jazz Thunder would be the best series but Utah is not quite there yet aside from Donovan Mitchell. The Thunder are playoff proven, been there many times. OKC Houston should be entertaining.

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    • Z-A

      He always had talent, just not availability. That’s one reason sixers moved on.

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  3. Loyo675

    I do believe Cavs and Portland will manage to overcome their struggles. For Cleveland, I’m not seeing neither KLove nor Green struggling like yesterday for the rest of the serie. Also whoever plasy PG (that’s actually a serious question) has to step up and give LBJ some rest. Portland will make it, too much talent in the backcourt compared to the Pels…in spite of Holiday amazing (but not unexpected) defence. As for the rest, I am seeing the Bucks winning either 4-2 or 4-3 but Bledsoe, Parker and Snell have to wake up… Utah and OKC is the match up for which I have the most doubts, all lies whether “Playoff P” can consistently make shots from behind the arc, and Abrines+Grant keep it going from 3 as well, either RW0 will keep crashing against the French Wall. Robes would come very handy in slowing down Mitchell, no one else can it seems.

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  4. H.Henderson

    If the Cavs lose to the Pacers in the first round, thats what i would call an upset. But I highly doubt that Lebron will just sit back and let that scenario come to fruition. Has Lebron ever been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs? I truly dont know.

    As for the Blazzers, i dont know why they didnt attack the hoop right away. Their outside shots werent falling and to just keep chucking up threes hoping you get hot was a terrible plan. Not sure if that was CJ or Lilard or the coach. You can’t have your star backcourt contribute 3 points in the first half of a playoff game. No matter what that cant happen again. As for an upset it is possible if Portland doesnt have a better game plan.

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    • Gary

      They didn’t go to the hole because they had their stuff swatted into the seats.

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  5. Z-A

    We need some real investigative reporting… Has anyone in LeBrons crew booked a multiweek vacation rental during the NBA Playoffs/Finals? Then you know it’s over and he’s on to.. LA, Hou, Phl, etc.

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  6. formerlyz

    Prior to the Game 1s, these were my picks using lazy analysis, and some optimism…Houston in 5, GS in 6, New Orleans in 6, Utah in 7, Toronto in 5, Lebron in 6, Heat in 7 (please?), Milwaukee in 6

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  7. Kenaut

    This are my picks Pacers in 6, Pelicans in 6, Celtics in 6, Rockets in 6, GS in 5, OKC in 6, Raptors in 6 and Sixers in 5. Don’t underestimate the Pacers because their team chemistry is consistent and don’t forget they have Coach Lue who is famous for ” we don’t need to change our strategy”…

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  8. 2012orioles

    This is a rare year where there are few “locks” in the first round

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  9. x%sure

    The Cavs have to get better guard play. Collison can handle any PG the Cavs can put out there. Dipo could have been covered better but someone has to up and do that!
    It’s good to be confident in the ability to come back but the Cavs may have too much of that… Pacers will control pace…

    Spurs have no hope.

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  10. Pablo

    GS lucked out by getting the spurs. They are very beatable in this first round, but SA is too weak right now. I wish the wolves got em because they’ve shown they can beat them. All season long they’ve had no answer for harden and that will continue.

    I think the pacers cavs is one to watch. There will be plenty of drama. I still believe Celtics will win, but the bucks have had a crazy season.

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