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Hawks, fellow road teams dominate day 1 of NBA playoffs

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The NBA playoffs started unusually on April 19. It may not be a harbinger of things to come, since the NBA playoffs usually end with predictable results and champions. Nevertheless, there may be some speed bumps along the way for the favorites, as three out of four road teams won on the first day of the postseason -- although the Atlanta Hawks were the only ones to pull a real upset of sorts.

The Brooklyn Nets and their experience ultimately won out in Game 1 over the Toronto Raptors by 94-87, followed by the Golden State Warriors escaping the Los Angeles Clippers by 109-105. But although the Nets and Warriors were No. 6 seeds, it was already obvious they were capable of beating these No. 3 seeds.

On the other hand, the No. 8 Hawks were no one's choice over the Indiana Pacers, even with Indiana's recent struggles. Yet the Pacers just couldn't flip the switch, especially in the second half. The 38-44 Hawks opened up a lead in the third quarter and never looked back, en route to a 101-93 victory.

Under normal circumstances, even this would be a mere bump in the road for the Pacers, but nothing is guaranteed for Indiana now. It's no sure thing that the Pacers will even survive this sub .500 Hawks team, let alone potential playoff matchups with the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat or a Western Conference champion.

The last No. 1 seed in the NBA to lose in the first round was the Bulls in 2012, but they had the excuse of losing Derrick Rose before they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers' only excuse for their Game 1 loss -- and all their other losses in the last month-and-a-half -- was just ugly, unintelligent play.

The Oklahoma City Thunder coasted for a stretch against the Memphis Grizzles in the last game of the day, but only after building a 25-point lead. The Grizzlies cut the lead to two points in the fourth quarter, yet one last run by the Thunder gave them breathing room and a 100-86 victory.

Other than that, having home court advantage didn't pay off on day 1 of the NBA playoffs, despite how the Raptors, Clippers and Pacers spent 82 games earning it. The Bulls, Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets will try not to throw it away as much on April 20.



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