Kyrie Irving looked at home on the playoff stage, dropping 30 points on the Celtics in his playoff debut. He did it right from the opening tip, putting up 20 points in the first half, 12 in the second quarter when the Cavaliers took charge of the game.
For Boston, the Kyrie Irving challenge falls on rookie guard Marcus Smart.
Is Smart going to shut down Irving? No. Nobody can. What you want to see as a Boston fan is Smart embrace the challenge, to really sink his teeth into the task. You want to see him want that responsibility.
Boston didn’t expect to be here. That they are is a chance for some young players to learn and grow. None more so than Smart, even if some of those lessons are hard ones.
There are two Game 2s in the NBA Playoffs first round Monday night, and we have some guard updates for both of them.
For the Bulls, guard Kirk Hinrich is out again, reports PBT’s own Sean Highkin. Hinrich is battling an ongoing knee issue and missed game one.
From the Bulls’ perspective, what’s the rush to bring him back? Chicago should be able to beat Milwaukee handily without him. When the Bulls will need him is the second round, very likely against Cleveland. Rest him now, get him as healthy as he can be for when he is needed.
For the Pelicans, Jrue Holiday expects to play but we may not see Tyreke Evans, reports John Reid at the Times-Picayune. Officially, they are both listed as questionable.
”Tyreke and Jrue are pretty much in the same situation,” Williams said before Monday’s shootaround at the University of San Francisco. ”Tyreke is going to be a game-time decision and we’ll wait to see how they feel after this morning and probably before the game.”
”I’m all right, I’m going to make it,” Holiday said before Monday’s shootaround.
The Pelicans need more out of their guards to have a shot in this series. Too often in Game 1 — particularly early on — the New Orleans guards lost Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson off the ball and paid a serious price.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson lit up a lot of teams over the course of the last few NBA seasons. Them putting up numbers on a team isn’t a shock.
But how it happened in Game 1 against the Pelicans — especially early in the contest — made this a matchup to watch entering Game 2. Too often, the Pelican guards took their eye off the Warriors guards when someone else had the ball, and the result was a cut to the basket and an easy bucket. That got the Warriors going, and their momentum had them up 25 before the Pelicans made their comeback.
That comeback came thanks to Anthony Davis and a defense that seemed very “anybody but Curry” in strategy. We’ll see Monday night if that can work again.
Also for the Pelicans, Tyreke Evans is a game-time decision after his injury in the playoff opener.
The Milwaukee Bucks have a lot of challenges in their effort to have a competitive series with the Chicago Bulls in the first round. Like how to score enough to make the games interesting.
In this latest PBT Extra, I talk about one key matchup — Derrick Rose vs. Michael Carter-Willaims. Rose looked more like his vintage self then we have seen in a long time, he was 6-of-9 shooting inside 8 feet, plus was hitting some threes. He was not settling.
The Bucks traded for MCW in the middle of the season in part because of his length and defense. They need that now. If Rose performs the rest of the series like he did in Game 1, the Bucks are not going to be around the playoffs very long.
The Clippers need a rebrand. Frankly, they needed a rebrand more than a decade ago but when you have the worst owner in pro sports you end up with bad decisions across the board. Or just inaction. I think this tweet from ESPN’s Arash Markazi sums it up perfectly.
New Clipper owner Steve Ballmer understands the need for new branding and getting something that differentiates you from the competition (we can debate his success doing that at Microsoft another day). We showed you the other day some leaked images of potential new uniforms — ones that are just unimpressive.
PBT can confirm that a rebranding is planned for this summer. However, what that is going to look like remains up in the air. We hope. The brilliant blog Uniwatch got ahold of some stuff from a presentation shown the Clippers’ staff on the rebrand, including these images.
First, that is an upgrade over the current design.
Second, I’m still not blown away.
Is this going to be the Clippers’ design? Depends on who you ask. From Uniwatch:
Now, you might be saying, “Okay, so somebody proposed this design. But are the Clippers really using it?” Several different sources have confirmed to me that they are.
Markazi heard what I did: Nothing is set in stone yet.
Let’s hope that the early reviews prompt changes. We’re seeing a new logo coming to Milwaukee that shows you can get mostly positive reviews for a design change, but the Clippers are not there yet.