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Opening salvos

The best and worst of the playoffs' opening weekend

Posted: Monday April 24, 2006 10:27AM; Updated: Monday April 24, 2006 12:47PM
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On Saturday, the Cavs' LeBron James became only the third player in history to open his playoff career with a triple double.
On Saturday, the Cavs' LeBron James became only the third player in history to open his playoff career with a triple double.
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If you thought (hoped?) that Champs and Chumps would end when the Warriors and Hawks of the world called it a season, you'd be horribly mistaken. Let's take a look at the weekend that was.

Washington at Cleveland

Champ: LeBron James

By now, LBJ's debut performance has been broken down ad nauseam, and there's very little to add beyond the awe that a 21-year-old superstar notching 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his first playoff game inspires. A fawning reaction? Yes. Let's just chalk it up to the fact that people like watching their wildest dreams come true. After the failings of many a Baby Jordan, it's pretty cool seeing a performer like this rise above and beyond the occasion.

Chump: Antawn Jamison

Though he's improved a bit on last season's blithely overrated performance (topped off with a strange All-Star selection), Jamison has seemed out of sorts since 2005-06's opening tip. He played every game and averaged 20 points a contest, but he appeared to drag a bit at times, and some of his lapses (bad passes, poor defensive rotations and step-happy footwork) reminded us of his frustrating rookie year. All of these shortcomings were on display in Game 1. Jamison played 42 minutes but pulled in only seven rebounds while shooting 4 of 13 on his way to 11 points.

Ruminations: Nobody does extremes like Eddie Jordan and his crew of crazies. By and large, E.J. appears to be on top of things, but there are times when the Wizards play like out-and-out scatterbrains. Scatterbrains, I tell you! Harsh language aside, Jordan is the coaching equivalent of Andre Miller. He'll run a good show for most of the game, but when the wheels come off, there will be some passes flying into the 14th row.

Sacramento at San Antonio

Champ: Tony Parker

From the start of Game 1, Parker made it clear that if the Kings were going to have any chance of drawing a tie out of his point guard battle with Mike Bibby, they were going to have to make major adjustments in how they defended the fifth-year waterbug. Parker scored 25 points in the game's first three quarters, making mincemeat out of the Kings' defense while barely having to think about throwing anything up from outside the paint.