What better way to kick of this year’s playoff campaign than a brawl and a few flying elbows eh? The playoffs are back and so is Mr. Kevin Douchebag Garnett. As you can see from this video, Garnett’s actions were completely unprovoked, or at least provoked only by a few soft words from Q-Rich. Either way, he’s sure to miss at least one game for this.

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This was the only blemish on what was otherwise, a pretty exciting day of playoff basketball. Even though all the favorites won, each game gave the losing side (and us fans) hope that we’ll get some feisty, competitive series. Chicago didn’t meltdown when Cleveland threatened to go nuclear, the Bucks forced Atlanta to take them seriously after a storming third-quarter comeback, Miami was winning for most of their game, while the Jazz managed to put up 113 points in a loss thanks only to some crazy JR Smith antics.

Regular readers will be familiar with the routine now. Every playoffs we run our daily Playoff Diary featuring a 3-2-1 vote on the best players of the day, along with whatever else we feel like rambling about.  Last year April and May were two of the biggest months in NBAMate history, thanks in part to me travelling around the US, checking out live games and watching whole lot more on the tele. Well, I’m not in the US this year but as usual I’ll be checking out as many games as possible thanks to my trusty ILP Playoff Subscription. Also, Ant is going to be chiming in a couple of times per week so the diary doesn’t get too biased – not that I’ve ever been overly biased, right?

3 votes – Carmelo Anthony. If one performance stood out from Day 1 it’s Melo’s, thanks in part to Lebron being a little quieter than usual, Wade’s disappearing act in the fourth quarter, and the fact that Brandon Jennings’ team lost. Melo’s playoff career-high 42 points helped steady the ship for Denver through the first three quarters when the Utah Jazz were relentless.  18-25 shooting to go with 5 assists and 4 rebounds on Game 1 of the playoffs is flat-out amazing. The perfect start for Melo and his team.

2 votes – JR Smith. As I said, Melo steadied the ship for Denver through the first three quarters. In the fourth, JR blew the ship to high hell. In the span of 1 minute 41 seconds JR score 9 points on three triples, turning a 90-90 tie into a 99-92 lead. Denver never looked back. JR ended up scoring 18 of his 20 points in the fourth, a typical JR performance in so many ways. He couldn’t get anything to go over the first 30 minute of this game, but just kept jacking up crap. Eventually one went in, and then another, and then the transformation was complete. JR Smith had morphed into the hot-blooded sharp-shooting dickhead we all know and love.

1 vote – Brandon Jennings. I feel bad breaking the ‘votes awarded to winning teams only’ rule on Day 1, but I had no choice. No one from the Celtics was worthy of a vote (although Tony Allen was the game-changer for them), and Lebron got too much help from Shaq, Varejao, Mo and Jamison today. Jennings on the other hand got very little help (no other teammate scored more than 16) on his way to a game-high 34 on 14-25 shooting. Remember folks, this is a rookie in his first playoff game. Super impressive.

As usual, free free to post your own votes in the comments.

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