With that we have a few interesting matchups. All the series have started and we’ll take a look at some of the upcoming games in both Eastern and Western Conferences.
Both Teams from Los Angeles Expected to Advance
When the season first began, the Lakers and Clippers were expected to meet in the Western Conference by both fans and bookmakers alike. Before we can get the much-anticipated showdown, both of the teams from Los Angeles will need to take care of business in the Western Conference Semifinals. These two teams are probably the best bet on teams of all of the NBA playoff picks available.
The Lakers will take on the Houston Rockets in what has to be the most intriguing matchup of this round. We know what the Rockets do and it will be interesting to see how the Lakers counter that. The Lakers do not have nearly as many shooters as Rockets so they will probably have to play at a much faster pace than they would prefer to. Anthony Davis should have a huge advantage against P.J Tucker and it will be interesting to see if they match up Covington with LeBron.
Speaking of matchups, the Lakers might have an issue with James Harden and Russell Westbrook. It’s not anyone can really guard either of them but other than Danny Green, L.A doesn’t really have another guy to throw at those two. All of these weird individual duals is why this matchup could potentially be exciting. I feel LeBron’s championship pedigree along with Anthony Davis’ talent on both ends of the floor will be the difference here. The Lakers will win this series in 7 tough games.
Clippers Have Big Advantage Over Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets completed an epic comeback after going down 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz. It was a series for the ages and both teams looked spent by the end of Game 7. Meanwhile, the Clippers were watching and waiting after defeating the Dallas Mavericks in 6 games. It was obvious how tired Denver’s players were after the game and I fully expect that grueling series to come back to haunt them against the Clippers.
The other problem for Denver is the same that has been the issue since they arrived in the Orlando bubble. Denver has been by far the worst defensive team both in the seeding games and in the playoffs. Although they managed to slow down the Jazz in the last three games, I think that has more to do with the Jazz limited offensive options then Denver’s defense.
In terms of matchups, they have nobody that matches up with Kawhi Leonard or Paul George in terms of size. On the other end, as hot as Jamal Murray has been, he will not have to contend with Patrick Beverly who is back for this series. This one looks like it could be over in as little as 5 games with the Clippers moving on to the Western Conference Finals to face the Lakers.
Milwaukee Is in a Lot of Trouble
The team with the best regular-season record in the NBA over the past two years finds themselves down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference SemiFinals. The Milwaukee Bucks have championship aspirations but the Miami Heat doesn’t really seem to care too much about that. Miami is a hard-nosed team with a fantastic mix of hard-nosed veterans and exciting young talent. They have more of a by-committee approach with 8 players that average double figures on the team.
Giannis Antetokounmpo might be the best player in the series by far, but Miami has done a fantastic job in slowing down the reigning league MVP. The Heat are employing a zone that has at least slowed Giannis enough to allow them to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. Milwaukee will have to win 4 out of the next 5 games to avoid another humiliating early playoff exit. Milwaukee is the better team and losing this series would be a disaster that could have huge offseason ramifications. Milwaukee wins this series in 7 grueling games over the Heat.
O.G Anunoby Gives Raptors New Life
O.G Anunoby said that he wasn’t surprised that the biggest shot of his career went in because in his words “I don’t shoot to miss”. Call it lucky but Toronto suddenly has life in a series that looked all but over with 0.5 left on the clock. That shot won’t mean much if the Raptors don’t win the next game.
In order to do that, they will need Pascal Siakam to show up at some point. He looks nervous and a shell of the player who was voted to the All-Star team. The Raptors don’t have enough scorers to have their best player not show up. Toronto will probably win another game in this series but ultimately, the Celtics probably win in 6 games.