Column: NBA playoffs off to fast start

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) goes to the basket between Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton (2) and Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the first half of Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Monday, April 18, 2016, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

The NBA playoffs are officially in full swing. This is my favorite professional sports postseason because there is never a break in the action. With games almost every night there is always something new and exciting happening. Here are some of my reactions to the first round of this year’s playoffs.

The Thunder need to respond to being struck

After their complete demolition of the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1, it looked like this team was going to seriously make a challenge at the top two teams in the Western Conference, the Spurs and the Warriors.

They completely blew Dallas off the court, 108-70, in the first outing as they were clearly the hungrier, more athletic and more skilled team. Everything was looking good heading into Game 2. Then the pre-game dustup happened between Russell Westbrook and Charlie Villanueva.

Villanueva interrupted Westbrook’s elaborate pre-game dance ritual just before tip-off. Now, I am not one to be the fun police, especially when you are able to back up your play on the court. Now just as Westbrook has the right to dance before the game, the Mavericks have the right to make him not want to be dancing when the final whistle blows. And that is exactly what they did by gutting out a tough 85-84 victory to send the series to Dallas tied at 1-1.

Dallas responded to the antics that they did not like the best way possible: on the court. More teams should look into doing that when they find themselves whining about the happiness of their opponents.

Steph Curry’s ankle

This is what we all feared. Steph Curry has a history of ankle problems so any time you hear anything involving his ankle there is reason to be worried. We do not want to see the reigning MVP join the long list of players who were hampered by chronic injuries throughout their career.

Now there have not been any reports of any serious damage to Curry’s ankle but he sat out of Game 2 as a precaution. The Warriors were able to beat a bad Rockets team regardless and they are very likely to sweep the series without needing Curry in the next two games.

Golden State is back in action tonight and while I would like the chance to watch Curry whenever possible, it is really not worth the risk unless they are assured that he is 100 percent healthy, or as close to 100 percent healthy as you can be this late in the season.

Welcome back playoff Paul George

Indiana Pacers' Paul George (13), Monta Ellis (11) and George Hill (3) celebrate after defeating the Toronto Raptors 100-90 in Game 1 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs in Toronto, Saturday, April 16, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) ]

Man, it feels good to see Paul George back on the court in the playoffs for the Indiana Pacers. After dealing with a horrific injury that caused him to miss almost all of the 2014-2015 season, George returned to the playoffs with a bang.

He scored 33 points in 38 minutes in Game 1 on the way to a 100-90 victory in Toronto. The Pacers lost Game 2 but George once again played well, scoring 28 points.

As the series shifts to Indianapolis, the Pacers have a golden opportunity to take control of the series and pull of the upset. The home crowd will be excited to see George back on the court and the energy in the building will be electric. If George puts in another strong performance and gets enough help from his supporting cast, they have a good shot at pulling off the first upset of the playoffs. 


Spencer Mayfield is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women's basketball. He can be reached via email at spencer.mayfield@uconn.edu.