A ridiculous number of Game 7s and consecutive overtime games had us wishing for the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs to never end.
Alas, all awesome experiences must eventually come to a crash, and the opening round officially came to a close with the San Antonio Spurs toppling the Dallas Mavericks in their do-or-die duel, 119-96. But cheer up, hardcore NBA fan. The NBA has just the thing for anyone who's already missing the great first round battles of the postseason: the second round!
But before the Conference Semis begins, let's look back at the best action from the week that was with the FHM First Round Awards!
The Step-Up All-Stars: Paul George, Kevin Durant, Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Joe Johnson
What do these five players have in common? Apart from the fact that none of them needs a ladder to change a light bulb in your house, all these guys participated in a Game 7. And boy did they participate.
Paul George clocked in his sixth double-double of the postseason with 30 points and 11 boards. Kevin Durant followed up a 36-point 10-rebound effort in Game 6 with a 33-point 8-rebound outing in the deciding game. Tony Parker, who hasn't been at his most consistent the past few games, had a breakout performance at just the right time with a net-scorching 32-point effort. Chris Paul, amid the Sterling controversy, showed his superstar mettle with 22 points and 11 assists. Last but not the least, Joe Johnson gave his Russian billionaire owner his money's worth by contributing a team-high 26 points.
These players shushed the banging noise of a Game 7, and pulled their teams out of the first round. Now, how 'bout a round of applause for these fellas?
Gising Na Ang Higanteng Natutulog Award: Roy Hibbert
At 7'2" tall, Pacer center Roy Hibbert has literally been the biggest joke of the opening round with his general unimpressiveness on the court. He has shown the confidence of a teenager who's just had his first major acne breakout.
Seriously, big guy. It's the Playoffs. Wake up!
(Photo from Roy Hibbert's Instagram page)
The dude scored just 20 points in the first six games combined, which was seriously in Luc Longley/Greg Ostertag territory.
In Game 7 though, Hibbert finally managed to—well, we wouldn't exactly call it a breakout—do something worthwhile to the tune of 13 points, seven boards and five blocks. Keep it up, big guy.
People Who Will Miss The First Round of the Playoffs The Least: Frank Vogel and Scott Brooks
Entering the Playoffs, the Pacers and Thunder were expected to reach the Conference Finals, and make short work of their supposedly lowly first-round opponents. The latter didn't happen, and as Game 7 dawned for these coaches, it wouldn't have been too ridiculous to start looking at new jobs.
Nope, that won't save you from the job-sucking vampire, Coach!
(Photo from sbnation.com)
When teams with tremendous expectations fail, the head coach is usually the fall guy. Having survived the first round, now they get the chance to fight for their job for another round! Sounds like a dream job to us!
Player Most Likely To Ask, "Am I The Only One Who Isn't Feeling The Excitement Yet?": LeBron James
With all the Game 7s, buzzer-beaters, coach-firing rumors, a racism scandal, and all the crazy four-point plays around, it's easy to forget that, yes, the defending champs and their alpha dog are still in the postseason. The Miami Heat have been in semi-hibernation mode after sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats last April 29 (Manila time) in a series whose biggest highlight was this supposed LeBron staredown of Michael Jordan: