NBA Playoffs: Best Teams Ultimately Rule in Surprising First Round

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With so many first-round series going the distance in this year’s NBA playoffs, it almost feels like the defending champion Miami Heat — the only team to sweep its opening-round matchup — haven’t played since the regular season.

Aside from Miami disposing of the Charlotte Bobcats in a supremely efficient four games, this spring’s first round saw other favorites being pushed to the limit quite often in what was arguably the most captivating initial playoff round in league history.

A Stunning Opening Round to Remember (at First)

Apr 28, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard C.J. Watson (32) dribbles the ball with Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) defending during the third quarter in game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Hawks won 107-97. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

In fact, this year’s opening round already tied the record for producing the most Game 7s for an entire playoff year and the success that road teams had for the majority of the first round was unprecedented.

It took until the 13th day of the playoffs for home teams to sweep games on the same date, when San Antonio, Toronto and Houston successfully defended their home courts with victories on April 30.

The top seed in each conference — Indiana in the East and San Antonio in the West — were each taken to seven games before they finally ousted eighth-seeded upstarts Atlanta and Dallas, respectively. And through Memphis’ win in Oklahoma City on April 29, road teams were a shocking 21-14.

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