For the first three games of the 2014 NBA Playoffs, ALL the road teams won marking an opening day ruled by underdogs.
Lower-seeded squads Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks pulled off the upsets away from how as the Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Clippers and Indiana Pacers failed to live up to expectations of being the “better” team on paper and now the latter group has lost their homecourt advantage in this postseason.
Brooklyn Nets 94, Toronto Raptors 87
Brooklyn took the first quarter, 29-21 and had to hold off the Canadian team’s repeated rallies before netting the 94-87 road victory. The Nets were the slight underdogs at 2.5 points pregame but used their defense to beat the Raptors, which shot only 39.4 per cent from the floor overall (28/71 FGs).
On offense, Brooklyn turned to Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, both of whom had 24 points apiece to lead the Nets, which also got 15 points from Paul Pierce and 10 points from Shaun Livingston.
The Nets are seeded 6th in the Eastern Conference while the Raptors are seeded 3rd for winning the Atlantic Division.
Golden State Warriors 109, Los Angeles Clippers 105
Another sixth seed won over the third seed later on Sunday as the Golden State Warriors beat the Los Angeles Clippers in a close affair, 109-105.
The Warriors actually trailed after the first canto, 29-24 but fought back to tie the game by halftime at 52-all. Surprisingly, it was Stephen Curry’s team which had more fire after the break as Golden State won the third, 35-27 to get the 87-79 lead entering the fourth.
Curry finished with just 14 points missing 10 of 16 shots but the Warriors got a big lift from Klay Thompson (22 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists) and David Lee (20 points and 13 rebounds) down the stretch.
Jermaine O’Neal added 13 points in lieu of Andrew Bogut at the starting center spot and Harrison Barnes contributed 14 markers off the bench.
Atlanta Hawks 101, Indiana Pacers 93
Meanwhile, 8th seeded Atlanta completed the first day underdog hat trick winning at Indiana, 101-93. The game was tied at the half, 50-50 but the Hawks dominated the third quarter, 30-16 to deal the Pacers the blowout loss.
Jeff Teague (28 points and 5 assists) and Paul Millsap (25 points and 8 rebounds) starred for the Hawks, which also got big help from the rest of the starters. Kyle Korver had a dozen points with two 3-pointers, Demarre Carrol had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds while Pero Antic added 8 points and 7 rebounds from the center spot.
Pacers starters had their moments but were ineffective. Paul George finished with 24 points but missed 12 of 18 shots; David West and Roy Hibbert combined for only 16 points and 11 rebounds.
View the slideshow for more images from Day 1 of the 2014 NBA Playoffs.