New York Knicks at Miami Heat (7:00EST on TNT): Heat lead series 1-0
- Stat: With Iman Shumpert on the floor this season, Dwyane Wade averaged 10.1 more points and shot 7.5 more free throw attempts per 36 minutes than he did when Shumpert was on the bench.
- Take: Shumpert’s season-ending ACL tear in Miami’s win on Saturday was an obviously devastating loss for the Knicks, but not for the reason most think. The story goes that without Shumpert – a rare defensive plus on the perimeter as a rookie – Wade will be free to exploit Landry Fields, JR Smith, and anyone else New York sends his way. But the statistics tell a different story; Wade was much more productive and efficient offensively when matched up against the aggressive rookie. The sample size here is admittedly small, but the idea remains that the Knicks might be just as adversely affected on offense as they are on the other end without Shumpert. Though hardly a marksman from long-range, he fared much better than Fields in that regard this season, and his absence means the already limited floor-spacing for New York will be even more scarce.
Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers (7:30EST on NBATV): Magic lead series 1-0
- Stat: In Saturday’s 81-77 home loss, the Pacers made just 11 of their 28 attempts at the rim for a mark of 39.8%.
- Take: Dwight Howard sure did a great job protecting the rim and affecting shots in his team’s win on Saturday. Wait… That Dwight-less Orlando was able to so effectively bother Indy’s shots in the paint is a great indicator of future success in this series. The Magic blocked eight shots on Saturday – almost double their 28th ranked season-average of 4.2 – with Earl Clark swatting four and the vertically challenged Glen Davis getting three of his own. The Pacers shot just 58% at the rim this season (good for 29th in the league), so their struggles here are hardly new. But their inaccuracy in-close was as bad as it gets in game 1, and credit goes not only to Clark and Davis but also Orlando’s general aggressive and scrappy defensive disposition when Indy got the ball in the paint. If the Magic can continue to wreak collective havoc when the much longer Pacers are at the rim, they’ll have a distinct advantage most everyone thought would be the opposite when this series began.
Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder (9:30EST on TNT): Thunder lead series 1-0
- Stat: With Jason Terry on the bench, the Thunder have a defensive rating of 90.0 against Dallas this season. When Terry is on the floor, that number jumps all the way to 103.2.
- Take: That stark contrast in OKC’s defensive efficiency is hardly surprising – a nuanced veteran with the shot-making skills of Terry will always give the occasionally undisciplined Thunder fits. Terry had 20 points on 8-10 shooting Saturday in addition to five assists, posting the Mavericks’ best plus/minus number (+8) along the way. He hurt Oklahoma City most in primary and secondary transition situations where the Thunder routinely struggle to get back on defense and locate the opposition’s biggest threat. Terry has one of the quickest releases in the game, and OKC’s preoccupation with Dirk Nowitzki and the unparalleled distribution skills of Jason Kidd make help make him a very tough cover for the Thunder. He was held in check down the stretch on Saturday, though, as Russell Westbrook devoted full attention to not allow Terry space and used his superior size and strength to push Terry from his most comfortable spots on the floor. Nowitzki, obviously, is what makes the Mavericks go, but the play of Terry will mean just as much in deciding the ultimate outcome of this series.