Thursday, April 20, 2017

Playoff szn: What We Know About the NBA Playoffs So Far {Game 3 Preview}

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east series: 

  • Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics
  • Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks
  • Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks
  • Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers

west series: 

  • Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers
  • Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah Jazz
  • Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
  • San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies
See full schedule here +

In the east, Chicago, Cleveland, and Washington are taking the lead at 2-0 in their respective series with Bucks and Raptors breaking even at 1-1. If we head west, Warriors, Rockets, and Spurs dominate at 2-0, Jazz and Clippers tied at 1-1. It's still too early-in my opinion-to make any rash decisions in terms of how this will unfold.

Highlight teams + Key players:

It's a rather interesting dichotomy that's happening right now. For instance, Celtics seem to be choking a bit, as everyone isn't playing the same way they were playing all season. We're haven't seen their normal hustle and grind from these effort teams; even the on court chemistry seems to be off. The best player being Isaiah Thomas, unfortunately, personal tragedy is hanging somewhere in the balance where his mind isn't totally there. All of this is giving Bulls a sort of advantage over them. Boston will really need to switch gears moving forward.

Photo credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Despite the Bulls looking like the better team right now and although Bulls' veteran: rookie ratio with D.Wade and Bobby Portis is entertaining to watch, I definitely see Celtics taking control of this series. Game 3 will either confirm or invalidate this. I will say though-if they do win and Wizards come out on top vs. Atlanta, which I presume they will-that will be a completely different monster to face for Boston.  

Bucks is a young team under a young coach with outstanding potential, especially with key players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, a rising star who is essentially at his peak right now, rocking the scoreboards. and both teams have a lot to offer on their rosters. This is one series I'm not exactly invested in per se, but I think Milwaukee has a fair shot at dominance over the Raptors.

Kawhi Leonard is the same way for the Spurs and I can see them flying past the Grizzlies. Again, it's too early  to really know and that opinion is probably a bias, simply because I think San Antonio is a better playoff team, historically.

Photo credit: Bill Baptist/Getty Images

As far as probably the biggest rivalry this year is OKC vs. Houston. It's pretty obvious that basketball fans and sports analyst are way more concerned with Russell Westbrook producing astronomical numbers than the team itself, him being the primary focus of MVP headlines and all. One blow out game and one close one against the Rockets, both games in Houston, there's no follow through on Thunder's end and Harden is absolutely taking advantage of the opportunity as much as he can. Regardless, I still think Westbrook is deserving of MVP; I just need his team to get it together while it still matters. 

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