First Games of the 2011 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference

# 8 Memphis Grizzlies @ #1 San Antonio Spurs –
All-Star forward, Zach Randolph had carried his Memphis Grizzlies into the playoffs after the injury to Rudy Gay in March, and to much of the NBA’s nation, Randolph led them to their first ever playoff victory in the franchise’s 16 year existence. The Spurs led by four going into the fourth quarter, but Randolph, Forward, Shane Battier, and Center, Marc Gasol, were too much to handle, as the Spurs found themselves desperately trying to hit a game-tying three in its final seconds but could not connect on a Richard Jefferson buzzer-beater. MEM 101 – SA 98
*12-year NBA point guard Jason Williams retired once again after his second stint in the NBA, a day after the Grizzlies’ victory.
Memphis Leads 1-0

#7 New Orleans Hornets @ #2 Los Angeles Lakers –
All-Star point guard Chris Paul defined why he is one of the best point guards in the league, draining 11 field goals – two from behind the arc – and added 14 assists and 7 boards in New Orleans’ surprising defeat of the defending champions. Kobe Bryant led the way for the Lakers, putting up 34 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Key statistics to the game were bench points (NO – 39, LA – 21) and turnovers (NO – 3, LA – 13). NO 109 – LAL 100.
New Orleans Leads 1-0

#6 Portland Trailblazers @ #3 Dallas Mavericks –
In the match-up that had many critics choosing the Trailblazers to upset the No. 3 seeded Mavericks, veterans Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd took over in the fourth quarter to power Dallas to an 8-point victory. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trailblazers in scoring with 27, but it wasn’t enough to comeback. Portland was miserable from beyond the arc (2-16), however Dallas had great success dropping 10 out of 19, helping lead the Mavericks to victory. DAL 89 – POR 81
Dallas Leads 1-0

#5 Denver Nuggets @ #4 Oklahoma City Thunder –
In a highly-anticipated match-up – the surprising emergence of the Carmelo Anthony-less Nuggets and the Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrooke-led Thunder – the game did not disappoint as it ended in controversial fashion. Tied late, Oklahoma City missed a jumper to take the lead, however Center Kendrick Perkins was able to connect on a put-back tip-in to take the lead. However, the ball was still above the rim when Perkins tipped-in the ball, which is goal-tending. The referees did not see this and Oklahoma City went on to win, backed by Kevin Durant’s game-led 41 points. OKC 107 – DEN 103
*After the game, Kendrick Perkins noted that the shot was indeed goal-tending.
Oklahoma City Leads 1-0

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