The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
For the third straight season, the Raptors lost a disappointing Game 1 in the playoffs. James Herbert digs into the familiar feeling in Toronto’s locker room and how this season compares to the last two. To be fair, Toronto has its best team of the three by far this season, and should be in much better shape to pull out the series. Still, poor shooting from Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan continued from last season and combined with an inability to slow down Paul George. If Lowry can’t somehow match Paul George’s play in this series, the Raptors are once again in big trouble.
A nice roundup of all of day one’s action from Ricky O’Donnell and Jesus Gomez at SB Nation. They first take a look at that Raptors-Pacers game, where it really was a pleasure to have Playoff Paul George back in action. Golden State was far too much for the Rockets, even with Stephen Curry sitting out nearly the entire second half. James Harden only scored 17 points. Hawks-Celtics is going to be an awesome series, as Game 1 was a thrilling one point victory for Atlanta. Mavs-Thunder looks like a snooze, as Oklahoma City has far too much firepower for Dallas.
Late in Game 1 of Hawks-Celtics, Avery Bradley suffered a painful hamstring injury and had to be helped back to the locker room. After the game, it was reported that Bradley heard a pop, an ominous sign for muscle injuries. Kevin O’Connor breaks down the impact of this injury for Boston, and how they can still find a way without one of their best players. If Bradley is forced to miss any games, Marcus Smart and possibly Terry Rozier will have to step up.
Let’s cheer things up a bit for Boston fans. Jae Crowder has emerged as a near All-NBA level contributor this season and the Celtics’ best player. After bouncing around the league his first few years, Crowder finally got a chance to shine under Brad Stevens and has developed into an elite 3-and-D player. Jay King has a fantastic deep dive into Crowder’s journey from the bottom to the top. A player who’s been doubted every step of the way — even his “fat” new $35 million contract severely underpays a player of his caliber — Crowder has finally found his place.
Kobe Bryant’s 60-point final game was a storybook ending to what can only be described as a terrible season. While the Lakers will likely retain their top draft pick, a huge priority, everything surrounding the on-court product this season was just sad. Darius Soriano digs into Byron Scott’s tough season at the helm and his future status as the Lakers’ coach. It’d be a shock if he came back.