Early Offense: Vol. 3 Playoff Edition
The playoffs are here. After two weeks of previews, the Early Offense – Playoff Edition is finally here and the opening weekend of the postseason did not disappoint. If you want a little refresher on the teams and players to watch as the first round heats up, we got you covered. Kyle Zwiazek opines on which players have the most to prove this postseason while Paul Innocenti tells you the sleeper teams to look our for as the playoffs get underway. We also got previews of each series with analysis and predictions for each match-up. And as always, the brilliant basketball minds on the NBA Outlet podcast are bringing that new new, with recap and analysis of Saturday night’s action here. The playoffs are here and it’s going down like the Catalina Wine Mixer.
More than a game. Every now and again, a story comes along that transcends sports. Sometimes said story can provide a “feel good” narrative and bring levity to the games over which we agonize. Other times, the tragedy of a story can put the superficial pageantry of sport in its proper perspective. Sadly, for Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, the story this weekend was the latter. Thomas’s, sister, Chyna, died in a single vehicle car crash early Saturday morning in Seattle. Local authorities continue to gather evidence as part of their investigation, but you can read an initial report of the accident here as first reported in The Seattle Times. For his part, Thomas opted to play in game one of the Celtics’ first round series against the Chicago Bulls the next day, giving a gutsy performance and finishing with 33 points in a 106-102 loss. Thoughts and prayers as Thomas and his family grieve in such a public manner.
Iso Joe. It was an excellent weekend of basketball. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors seemed to pick up where they left off from last season, the Milwaukee Bucks put a hurt lock on the Toronto Raptors, and it was business as usual for the San Antonio Spurs in a route of the Memphis Grizzlies. But the Early Offense’s favorite moment from this weekend of hoops was seeing Utah Jazz forward Joe Johnson come off the bench to score 21 points and give his Jazz a 97-95 win over the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday night at Staples Center. After Clippers guard Chris Paul tied the game late, “Iso Joe” called his own number, hitting a game winning shot over Jamal Crawford and an outstretched DeAndre Jordan for the W. The win was bittersweet for the Jazz, as they lost all-world center Rudy Gobert on the first play of the game. The MRI for Gobert revealed no MCL or ACL damage, which is good news for Jazz and NBA fans alike, but the timetable for his return is still not known. With a shorter rotation and increased role in this series, here’s to Iso Joe adding to his legend on the court (he’s already a legend at the bank).
Life comes at you fast. And finally, this happened to the homie Dwyane Wade, courtesy of SI.com via USA Today. Hate it had to be him.