Thursday, April 20, 2017
THE NBA post season has started and most of the favored teams have prevailed over their rivals, some in demolition jobs more thorough than the nation’s anti-squatting clearing operations. The Playoffs are supposed to be close fights but it seems like some teams are simply overmatched, basing on first game results. There were upsets, close games and some injuries but the show must go on, so here we go.
As a continuation to last week, let’s have the Eastern Conference pairings. Yes, these are my personal observations but results may be different.
BOSTON vs CHICAGO – Despite the death of his younger sister and in obvious grief, Celtics star Isaiah Thomas put up impressive numbers but they still fell to the Bulls in Game 1. Boston’s starting unit were productive but their bench were outscored by Chicago’s reserves. The Bulls’ backcourt is controlled by experienced champion vets Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo and it showed in Game 2. The Celtics must find an answer to Jimmy Butler and big men Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez. Bobby Portis can deliver the points at any given time. Celtic bigs Al Horford, Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk must impose their will inside the paint. Both teams only have about seven productive players and it’s just a matter of who’s having a good night. Boston should have made some adjustments for tomorrow’s Game 3. I say the Celtics in seven games.
CLEVELAND vs INDIANA – Had CJ Miles made that shot in Game 1, the Pacers would have evened things with the defending champions. Indiana had a more balanced attack but like the rest of the league, a solution is still to be formulated for a terminal problem called LeBron James. The second game is more or less as close as the previous game but Cleveland’s Big 3 were really big. The Pacers are playing without a seasoned center since Myles Turner is still a rookie, but he’s having a huge introduction to the ways of the post season. The Cavs can’t seem to pull away from Indiana but as soon as JR Smith, Richard Jefferson and Kyle Korver find their rhythm, Cleveland will be unstoppable. And don’t forget Deron Williams. The Pacers could get a win at home today but the series goes to the Cavs in five.
TORONTO vs MILWAUKEE – The Raptors had this habit of losing their first playoff game and starring The Greek Freak, the Bucks dropped the upset axe on the Raptors with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way. Three other starters and two reserves from Milwaukee scored at least ten points or more as to Toronto where only DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka scored in double figures, combining for 46 points. Kyle Lowry and Corey Joseph put up big numbers in their Game 2 win to make up for a so-so Game 1 performance. Jason Terry is Milwaukee’s seasoned veteran and also acts as Coach Jason Kidd’s on-court adviser. Still recuperating from ACL surgery, Milwaukee badly needs Jabari Parker’s 20pt, 6reb average but rookie Malcolm Brogdon is playing good. I have a feeling the Bucks will advance in six games.
WASHINGTON vs ATLANTA – The Wizards played like they’re supposed to – as a higher seed than the Hawks and their game showed it. Their starting unit combined for 99 points of the Wiz’s 114 winning score. Atlanta needs more help from their bench as Dwight Howard is on regress mode and was effectively contained by Marcin Gortat. Kent Bazemore has to put up more numbers to ease the load on Dennis Schroeder and Paul Millsap. If the trio of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris continue with their ways and with ample backing from the rest of the Wizards, Washington will win the series in five games.
LeBron and his Cavaliers are the heavy favorites to repeat as the Beasts of the East but Washington could be their biggest obstacle./PN