The NBA is headed from arguably its best season ever into potentially its best playoffs season ever. Here are the opening match-ups. Play begins Saturday April 14th …
(1) Raptors vs. (8) Wizards
(2) Celtics vs. (7) Bucks
(3) 76ers vs. (6) Heat
(4) Cavs vs. (5) Pacers
(1) Rockets vs. (8) Timberwolves
(2) Warriors vs. (7) Spurs
(3) Trailblazers vs. (6) Pelicans
(4) Thunder vs. (5) Jazz
And here are the main stories headed into the “second season” …
Celtics have had no Irish luck this year. Hayward and Kyrie are out for the playoffs.
Curry is out for the first round with a knee MCL thing. He could be back for a game 6 or 7 of the first though.
Harden (easily the MVP) and the Rockets are the best team in the league. Regular season wise. The Warriors were a distant second. Toronto third.
Durant is now considered a top DEFENSIVE player. He will be in the running for the defensive player of the year.
Durant and Harden are not guard-able. There is nothing you can do but hope.
LeBron has a new team as of February. A younger and much more athletic team. Larry Nance Jr. should make noise in the post-season with his running mate Bron. Love has been en fuego recently.
Ben Simmons wants to win the championship this year. Ben Simmons thinks he’s Magic Johnson I guess. Embiid should be back for the 1st round after his teammate cracked his eye socket. I’m looking forward to a pretty awesome looking mask!
Toronto is first in the East, considered to have the best bench in the NBA and DeRozen has been consistently amazing. But the East has talent this year. The Cavs, Pacers, and 76ers are loaded with talent. If Embiid is ready to kick ass I’d expect to see the Sixers in the conference finals.
Anthony Davis is an MVP candidate and has some good talent alongside him in New Orleans. His PG is Rondo who somehow becomes both LeBron and Curry when the playoffs start. Rondo will be a problem for the Pel’s first round opponent.
Damien Lillard should be a top 4 MVP candidate. He might be the best player in the league come playoff time. Watch out for Dame!
Something is a-brewin in Indianapolis. Something strange happening, or is it just outstanding front office management? They staged a coup in the off-season by loading up on talent in highway-robbery fashion (Oladipo and Sabonis in particular), and mixed with their existing talent they’re poised to be as ready to go in the first round as any team in the NBA. Watch out LeBron!
Rookie Donovan Mitchell is one of the best scorers in the league. Mitchell’s team (Utah) is one of the best defensive teams in the league. They lost Hayward in the off season but are now 5rd best in the West. A well rounded team, they play OKC first round – how will Westbrook deal with Gobert’s crazy tall and quick rim-defending swipage?
Kawhi Leonard has been out all season except for 9 games. He looked great in those games. The team looked great when he was on the floor, though he was a little heavy and a bit slow. He’s been nursing his quad injury, I think, so he could play in the playoffs. If he plays they might be the best team in the league. Aldridge has been incredible.
OKC – Westbrook recorded his second triple double season in a row and will be a beast for whoever he goes up against. Paul George and Steven Adams have been excellent counterparts, but unless those two really step up and play like all-stars this team does *not* seem poised to win a 4 out of 7 game series. They open against the Jazz. Good luck!
Wolves sneak in like dogs. Really – this is how they got in. Like dogs. Undeserving until Jimmy Butler returned for the last 2 or 3 games. Butler has every reason to take over and become the LeBron of the Lakes. Why hasn’t he done this already? Why isn’t he consistently taking over every facet of the game already for that team? Does he care? Will he wear his game face? Can he Bring It?!