The 2016 NBA playoffs kicked off over the weekend with first round matchups and some killer highlights.
Stephen Curry’s ankle injury and LeBron James’ foul calls (or lack thereof, according to Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy) were the top storylines, but there was plenty more going on around the league. Here is a look at the top plays you need to see from the weekend:
1. Justise Is Served
The Miami Heat suddenly look like a team that can challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference after winning Game 1 against the Charlotte Hornets 123-91. One main reason why? Heat rookie Justise Winslow, who pulled off one of the best plays of the weekend with a slick Euro-step on Frank Kaminsky.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 17, 2016
Winslow is known more for his defensive skills, but he flashed some sick offensive moves on Sunday, which earned the approval of Heat superstar Dwyane Wade:
Now watch me work! pic.twitter.com/SrrgXKBVXV
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 17, 2016
2. Bye-Bye Birdie
The Memphis Grizzlies looked completely overmatched against the San Antonio Spurs, losing 106-74, and no play better encapsulated that talent gap than Tony Parker’s dazzling first-quarter layup that had Chris “Birdman” Andersen literally spinning in circles:
3. Stifling Defense
If there was any doubt that Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard earned the title of NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Monday, just ask Lance Stephenson for a second opinion. The Grizzlies guard found himself smothered by Leonard’s defense, flailing his arms in frustration after being unable to get open:
4. Griffin Goes for a Drive
The Clippers-Blazers matchup was the late game on Sunday, and anyone who stayed awake into the midnight hours got to watch some entertaining basketball. Blake Griffin had himself a dunk party during the game, going airborne multiple times to posterize the Blazers defense. One dunk in particular stood out—a one-handed slam over Mason Plumlee:
— NBA (@NBA) April 18, 2016
5. CP Calls the Shots
Clippers star Chris Paul went head-to-head with Blazers point guard Damian Lillard on Sunday, and Lillard won’t forget it anytime soon. Late in the third quarter while challenging Lillard on the wing, Paul taunted the budding superstar while appearing to say “I’m going to take the shot” before stepping back and draining the jumper:
0. Nothing But Air
DeAndre Jordan is known as one of the less capable free-throw shooters in the NBA, and it showed on Sunday night, as the Clippers center went 8-18 in the game against the Blazers. Oddly, that’s slightly better than his 43 percent free-throw shooting rate from the regular season.
The NBA playoffs continue on Monday with three games on the schedule:
Indiana Pacers vs. Toronto Raptors (IND leads 1-0)
Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC leads 1-0)
Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors (GS leads 1-0)