There has been endless talk and analyzation leading up to the 2011 NBA Finals. Past dominant teams mixed in with young powers and dark-horse contenders had led to a sense of March Madness excitement.
Day one did not let us down.
One of the most talked about series in this year's first round is the match-up between the Portland Trailblazers and the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas is beginning to look rickety and old, while Portland holds the league record by finding elimination at the first round in their last six trips to the Finals.
But, Portland is one of those dark-horse teams. The Blazers looked as if they would start the 2011 post-season script off right when they went up 72-66 with just under six minutes left in the games. Vets, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd refused to roll over. Kidd hit a step back jumper with 5:28 to go and the geriatric duo led the Mavs on a 23-9 run to win Game 1 in Dallas.
Dirk and Kidd finished the game with a combined 52 points and 15 rebounds.
As if to not be overlooked, Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls provided a late-game comeback win at home that would remind any fan of an intense Sweet 16 match-up. Once again, the underdog team had a lead in the final minutes of the game. The Indiana Pacers led 98-88 after a 3-point play from Tyler Hansbrough with only 3:38 left in the game.
Derrick Rose would not let his team lose at home. Rose scored a career playoff high of 39 points and found Kyle Korver for a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 48 seconds left, capping the outstanding comeback to give the Bulls 104-99 win, and a 1-0 lead in the series.
Miami and Atlanta also snagged victories in their first games over the Sixers and Magic respectively.
Day one is done and day two begins. We will have to watch and see if the other half of our 16 finalists can provide just as much early post-season excitement.
Photo Courtesy of: AP Images