A extremely eventual first spherical of the NBA Playoffs has come and gone, that noticed a convention champion within the East getting swept, a defending champion shockingly defeated, and capped off with an epic seven-game sequence from a rematch from final season’s playoffs. Now that the smoke has cleared, eight groups have superior to the second spherical and it’s already underway. Which groups will earn the suitable to achieve the Jap and Western Convention Finals?
(1) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (5) Atlanta Hawks:
Each Philadelphia and Atlanta made fast work of the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks of their respective first-round sequence and focus now getting previous the opposite in what must be a skirmish of a sequence. Yesterday’s sport noticed Joel Embiid make fairly an entrance after struggling an harm. The Sixers can’t afford to lose key gamers for this sequence, particularly in opposition to a younger Hawks workforce, led by Trae Younger.
The Hawks managed to steal Recreation 1 from the Sixers, who rallied late within the fourth quarter, however the primary focus of the sequence will see how Philadelphia’s protection can include Atlanta’s offense. The Sixers managed to make some pressing defensive performs to attract shut, nevertheless, they may look to construct upon that protection, primarily with pestering steals. The Hawks’ offense regarded strong in Recreation 1, however they might want to match their protection to the extent of their offense.
Within the common season, Atlanta received the sequence in opposition to Philadelphia and appears to do the identical. The Sixers will want the size of Embiid, Simmons, and Dwight Howard on protection to make a distinction within the sequence.
Prediction: A six-game sequence.
(2) Brooklyn Nets vs. (3) Milwaukee Bucks:
Welcome to the marquee matchup of the second spherical. All through the season, all eyes have been on Brooklyn, who managed to accumulate some key gamers, together with Blake Griffin, to bolster their depth for his or her playoff run. Milwaukee, alternatively, was quietly including items to their roster like P.J. Tucker. The Nets received in opposition to the Boston Celtics in 5 video games, whereas Milwaukee impressively swept the Miami Warmth within the first spherical.
In Saturday’s sport, Brooklyn introduced the Bucks right down to earth by incomes a Recreation 1 victory, however at the price of shedding James Harden attributable to a hamstring harm. Although Recreation 2 is tonight, the one query for Brooklyn is which participant from the bench will step up in Harden’s place? Brooklyn does have a workforce that was made to be a high-scoring workforce, but when Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton can make the most of not having to face Harden for the rest of the sequence, then the Bucks will use that as their X-Issue.
Within the common season, Milwaukee received their sequence in opposition to Brooklyn. Milwaukee will look to rebound after the Recreation 1 loss on Saturday and can look to convey the identical depth that that they had within the earlier sequence.
Prediction: A six-game sequence.
(1) Utah Jazz vs. (4) Los Angeles Clippers:
The Los Angeles Clippers survived an epic seven-game sequence rematch encounter in opposition to a Dallas Mavericks workforce that was trying to get Luka Doncic to the subsequent stage. Whereas the Clippers such be sighing in aid, it must be a really fast one as they now face the primary seeded Utah Jazz. The Jazz received in 5 video games in opposition to one other younger workforce within the Memphis Grizzlies, after Donovan Mitchell was scratched off for Recreation 1 of that sequence.
Leap to now and Mitchell seems to be greater than as much as the duty of taking Kawhi Leonard’s protection. By way of difference-makers, the Clippers should depend on Paul George, Rajon Rondo, Reggie Jackson, Patrick Beverley, Nic Batum, and Serge Ibaka. The Jazz, in the meantime, could have difference-makers within the type of Jordan Clarkson, Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Joe Ingles.
This can be one other epic sequence for the Clippers if they will handle to tug off one other upset. In any other case, Utah will head to the Western Convention Finals for the primary time since 1998. Within the common season, Utah received the sequence over the Clippers, and the home-court benefit will serve the Jazz an awesome deal.
Prediction: Six or seven-game sequence.
(2) Phoenix Suns vs. (3) Denver Nuggets:
The Phoenix Suns despatched shockwaves all through the basketball world after soundly eliminating the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers within the first spherical. Now, they face a Denver workforce that might play spoiler to the Suns’ hopes of reaching the Convention Finals since 2010. The Nuggets are not any stranger to enjoying spoiler, as evidenced in final season’s playoff run the place they got here again down three video games to 1 each occasions in opposition to Utah within the first spherical and the Clippers within the second.
Search for Nikola Jokic to provide Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Ayton their cash’s value of double-double and triple-double performances on this sequence. Nonetheless, the Suns have an X-Issue that may decelerate Jokic a bit in Jae Crowder, who was instrumental in serving to Phoenix defeat the Lakers. Within the common season, the Nuggets received their sequence in opposition to Phoenix and can look to do the identical within the postseason.
Prediction: A six or seven-game sequence.
The second spherical of the NBA Playoffs is already underway, however the motion continues to warmth up. Which workforce will make it to the Convention Finals and go all the way in which to the large stage? Discover out and watch every sport unfold on TNT, ESPN, ABC, and NBA TV.