BDCi’s NBA playoffs week 3
(BDCi) — Playoff basketball is just so exciting. The intensity, the drama and there is so much pressure. The hardest part is trying to close out a series and not allow it to continue. For some teams, that is easier said than done. With the first round of the playoffs still going on as there will be four Game six’s going on Friday night, it is just getting better. Teams do not want to leave the playoffs and they fight trough injury and illness to do whatever they can for their team. As they say, win or go home.
EASTERN CONFERENCE MATCHUPS FIRST ROUND
(1) Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks MIA wins 4-0
This was pretty obvious as Miami is the better team and really had no threat from the Bucks. The Bucks actually fired their head coach after this series was over, so you can tell how badly it was for them. Miami will now wait to find out whether they will play Brooklyn or Chicago who have to play a Game 7 on Saturday. Miami will host Game 1 of their second round series on Monday.
(2) New York Knicks vs. (7) Boston Celtics NYK leads 3-2
This series should have been over in Game 5. The Knicks were on their home floor, decided to wear black jerseys, which was a mistake and did not perform they way they should have. Boston has won Games 4 and 5 and they should feel great going into Game 6 at home. For Boston, time is running out for them. The Big three era ended this season when Ray Allen left for Miami and this team will be drastically different when the season is over. This is the last hurrah for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. It will come down to the Celtics supporting cast helping them force a Game 7. For the Knicks, I would worry about Jeff Green who has destroyed them the past two games. Also the Knicks should keep their mouths shut because all their trash talking before and during Game 5 just fueled the fire and gave Garnett and Pierce just what they needed to win. The Knicks need to move the basketball as they had just 21 assists combined in the past two games. It should be a great Game 6. The winner of the series will meet either Indiana or Atlanta in the next round.
(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks IND leads 3-2
This has been exactly the series everyone does not enjoy. Two teams playing inconsistent basketball and there really is not a lot of excitement with them. The Pacers won the first two games only to have Atlanta win the next two on their home floor. The Pacers made a statement by blowing out the Hawks at home in Game 5. Now, they have to figure out a way to win on the road otherwise they will be playing a Game 7 at home, not something they want. The Hawks were just looking to make some noise in the postseason as most of their players are in the final year of their contracts. The Hawks would love to force a Game 7 and at least go down with a fight rather than lose Game 6 on their home floor.
(4) Brooklyn Nets vs. (5) Chicago Bulls Series tied 3-3
This series has certainly been a dogfight with plenty of drama, injuries and illness. The Brooklyn Nets were able to win Game 6 on the road to force a Game 7 in their beautiful Barclay’s Center. The Bulls were without Luol Deng (illness) and Kirk Hinrich (calf) plus Nate Robinson was throwing up on the bench and Taj Gibson was not feeling well either. Yet for the Bulls they gave everything they had and almost pulled out Game 6 losing by three. If I were the Nets, I would be worried as they easily could have blown the game wide open by kicking their opponent while they were down. Brooklyn didn’t really have the daggar and was lucky to come out with the victory. For the Bulls, they gave a lot in Game 6 even with a short handed team and it remains if they have enough in the tank to win Game 7 or will it just be too much. Either way, Chicago will fight to the bitter end and it should be fun to watch. Game 7 will be Saturday.
WESTERN CONFERENCE MATCHUPS FIRST ROUND
(1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (8) Houston Rockets OKC leads 3-2
This has been a great series as the more experience Oklahoma City Thunder are up against the young Houston Rockets who have held their own. For the Thunder, they really missed not having Russell Westbrook in Game 5 as they could not close it out. For OKC, here is where trading away James Harden has really hurt them, literally. Harden scored 31 points including seven 3s in the Game 5 win. He seemed to always have an answer whenever the Thunder tried to get back into the game. If the Thunder had Harden, the loss of Westbrook would not be as bad. Yet, the man the Thunder got for Harden, Kevin Martin is nothing like Harden and hasn’t given them the scoring they need. Kevin Durant cannot do it alone and it seems that he does not have a good supporting cast around him plus he is playing the point forward which is not a position that is comfortable for him. If the Thunder cannot figure out a way to run their offense effectively without Westbrook, they could be in for a major upset. For the Rockets, they just need to keep doing what they are doing and that is a collective effort from everyone not just Harden but Harden makes them go. If he is on, it will get others involved. Game 6 on Friday in Houston should be a close one. If the Thunder do not close it out in Game 6, they will have a tough time winning Game 7 even if they would be at home.
(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers SAS wins 4-0
This series was over before it even started. The Lakers just kept raking up more injuries and Game 4 ended on Sunday with a thud. Now, the Spurs will get to play the Golden State Warriors starting on Monday. They have had plenty of time to rest.
(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Golden State Warriors GSW wins 4-2
This was a great series between two solid teams. The Warriors were lucky to win Game 6 because if you saw how Game 6 ended, you would understand. The Warriors in the last three minutes made every mistake you can think of between not getting the ball inbounds to throwing it away but somehow the Nuggets could not make them pay and now the Warriors are the unlikely team that is moving on to the second round. For the Nuggets, they had a great season but they ran into one of the best shooters in the game, in Stephen Curry who really shined in his first playoff series. However, do not count the Nuggets out as they will be back next season. For the Warriors, their reward will be the San Antonio Spurs.
(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies MEM lead 3-2
This has been everything we hoped it would be. These two teams met in last year’s playoffs with the Clippers winning Game 7 in Memphis. Here the tables have turned as the Grizzlies are probably playing the best basketball of any team in the Western Conference. The Clippers are dealing with injury as Blake Griffin sprained his ankle before Game 5 and was not effective against the two-headed monster that is Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. They are playing phenomenal and are the reason why Memphis is up in this series, For the Clippers, their backs are against the wall as Chris Paul did everything he could in Game 5 but it was not enough. Paul will be a free agent after the season is over and if the Clippers lose this series, Paul may look to go somewhere else to win a championship. It is also could be the last game for head coach Vinny Del Negro as after advancing to the second round last year, losing in the first round this year would be a major step back. So, the pressure is on the Clippers as they would have more to lose if they get ousted in the first round. For the Grizzlies, they look like the best team in the West now that the Thunder don’t have Westbrook. This could be a golden opportunity for them to compete for a championship. If Memphis wins this series, they would face either Oklahoma City or Houston in the next round. Game 6 has a lot on the line for both teams.
WESTERN CONFERENCE MATCHUP SECOND ROUND
(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (6) Golden State Warriors
This series will begin on Monday in San Antonio. While the Warriors were able to squeak by Denver on Thursday, they will have their hands full with a more experienced San Antonio Spurs team. Golden State cannot make the same mistakes they made against Denver in Game 6 because the Spurs will make them pay. The Spurs have been here before many times with their big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobilli. The young athleticism of the Warriors could give the older Spurs some trouble as Stephen Curry can shoot from anywhere and his backcourt mate Klay Thompson is not bad either. However, this series will come down to playoff experience and the Warriors are just too young and the Spurs should win this series in five, maybe six as the Warriors will put up a good fight.