Blowouts abound in first circular of NBA playoffs

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 8:28 PM

Players sharpen their focus. Defenses buckle down. A premium is keep on every possession. That increased intensity was tough to discover in the first weekend of action and the look for for suspense continues heading into Game two in Atlanta and San Antonio on Tuesday night.

Blowouts abound in first circular of NBA playoffs

The NBA playoffs are supposed to be the time when the casual approach many teams get in the regular season goes out the window.

Players sharpen their focus. Defenses buckle down. A premium is keep on every possession.

That increased intensity was tough to discover in the first weekend of action and the look for for suspense continues heading into Game two in Atlanta and San Antonio on Tuesday night.

The first weekend of action was marked by lopsided scores all over the place, with tight games between the Cavaliers and Pistons and the Celtics and Hawks the exceptions. Five of the eight games over the weekend were decided by at least twenty points while the IN Pacers beat Toronto by ten.

The average edge of triumph on opening weekend was twenty-one points, 10 more than the opening weekend last season.

There have already been four victories of at least twenty-five points, which matched the total for the all playoffs in 2014.

And another blowout could be coming on Tuesday when the San Antonio Spurs host the Memphis Grizzlies in Game two. Memphis is severely overmatched thanks to a hasty of injuries, and that showed in a 106-74 loss in Game one on Sunday.

"We had one grand game against a team that'south injured," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich cracked. "I'm not all that impressed with us. We'll look what happens."

The other game being played on Tuesday is in Atlanta, where the Hawks and Celtics will play Game two after Atlanta held off a late Boston rally to win 102-101 in Game one.

A see at the two games on Tuesday.

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Celtics at Hawks, Atlanta leads one-0. seven p. m., TNT

Boston rallied from a 19-point deficit to get a fourth-quarter lead in the series opener, only to lose the game and guard Avery Bradley to a severely strained right hamstring.

Bradley, who's Boston'south best perimeter defender, has already been ruled out for Game two and likely will miss the rest of the first-round series. He'south scheduled to undergo an MRI after the team gets back residence on Wednesday.

Bradley isn't the only one hurting for the Celtics. Seven-footer Kelly Olynyk sat out Monday'south practice with a sore shoulder, though he'south expected to play. Also, forward Jae Crowder is still trying to obtain back to full speed after a sprained right ankle kept him out for eight games close the finish of the regular season.

Boston is anxious to crack a six-game losing streak in the postseason, its latest playoff triumph coming on May one, two thousand thirteen, against the Knicks.

"Somehow, we've just got to win," Celtics star Isaiah Thomas said. "We've got to obtain the monkey off our back and win a game."

Atlanta will likely attempt to exploit Bradley'south absence with the dynamic point guard duo of Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder. Teague scored twenty-three points and dished out twelve assists in Game 1, taking control down the stretch after his primary defender went out. The Hawks might even consider a rotation that gets both players on the Ct for extended periods.

Meanwhile, Hawks lead helper Kenny Atkinson got some excellent news in the center of the series. It was announced Sun he'll become the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, but only after Atlanta'south season is over.

"He'south going to wish to create sure we're doing everything we can to advance and do as much as we can before he takes that following step," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "Kenny understands it. We're confident that Kenny will be totally focused, just love our players.

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Grizzlies at Spurs, San Antonio leads 1-0. 9:30 p. m., TNT

If the short-handed Grizzlies are going to create this series even remotely interesting, they've to obtain Zach Randolph going.

The Grit-n-Grind Grizzlies have been anchored for years by Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. But Gasol and Conley are out with injuries, leaving Z-Bo to fend off for himself with role players Tony Allen and Matt Barnes against the mighty Spurs.

Randolph was held to just six points on 3-for-13 shooting in Game 1.

Spurs stopper Kawhi Leonard, who won his second straight Defensive Player of the Year award on Monday, played a large role in making things miserable for the Grizzlies' undermanned offense.

"Keep their head up," Randolph said. "We're going to forget about it. Keep this one in the backwash and obtain prepared for Tuesday."

The only thing that went incorrect for the Spurs in Game 1 was a unhurried start, when they'd just twelve points in the first nine minutes of the game.

"It just takes a tiny while to obtain going," Tim Duncan said. "Whatever you wish to call it, playoff jitters. It just took us a quarter or two to obtain our rhythm going."

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