I don’t know about the rest of you, but this year’s NBA playoffs have been some of the most enjoyable basketball I have seen in 2 years. A large part of that has to do with the fact that the Warriors have looked vulnerable and LeBron is nowhere to be found.
What I mean by that is LeBron has been torching the East since 2010 so it is nice to see some new blood. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy watching the career of one of the best ever unfold, but it got stale for me seeing him run the East. I wasn’t intrigued until the finals.
This year was a different story. There were so many questions and storylines leading up to the postseason and we got most of our answers. Would Boston finally pull it together with Kyrie? Does Russell Westbrook finally win a playoff series without Kevin Durant? Does Damian Lillard finally win a series without LaMarcus Aldridge?
So many great series thus far and a hell of a lot of entertainment.
Win or lose, this seems to be the hot button of the NBA playoffs in it’s entirety. In round 1, we watched them menace the Oklahoma City Thunder and dare Russ to shoot the ball. He did and Portland moved on. They capped off that series with a Damian Lillard buzzer beater from deep to send the Thunder home.
They follow up an impressive showing with the Thunder with a hell of a series against the Denver Nuggets that they had to scrap and claw for. They fought tooth and nail to defeat the Nuggets in a 4OT game 3 only to drop the next two. Facing a 3-2 deficit, they found a way to get it done.
What I love more about this team than anything is the duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The two of them play off each other well. They both will let the other take over if their counterpart has the hot hand. They both can get it done when it matters and they both do it unselfishly. It is truly a breath of fresh air in today’s NBA.
Golden State Warriors
Obviously, they are the team to beat and the team everyone is gunning for. That goes without saying.
For the first time in a while, they have looked vulnerable. However, not vulnerable enough. The Clippers were able to get in their heads early on, but the talent just wasn’t there to compete with them. The Rockets are a damn good team thanks to James Harden, but they just have the unfortunate pleasure of having to make it through the Warriors. They took it 2-2 before getting hammered. Once Curry hits the switch, game over.
Also side note, Chris Paul is such a little bitch. The guy literally blocked Steph from having a shoot around and Steph goes ham in the 4th to send them home. Buhbye.
The Warriors vulnerability comes from a complete lack of depth, which is why we have seen them running a 5 man show basically. With Kevin Durant missing time, they will need to spread the minutes much like they did in game 6 vs the Rockets.
Kawhi freaking Leonard, good lord. With a Lebronless Eastern Conference, they have finally broke in to the conference finals. They did so with the first ever game 7 game winning buzzer beater in playoff history. What a freaking moment! Kawhi is proving to himself and everyone that leaving San Antonio was good move for him as he has been out of control this entire playoff leading Toronto.
As a result, he finds himself deep into another postseason.
At this point, how are these guys not wanted for murder? They’ve been doing just that the entire season and postseason.
They became the 8th team in NBA history to notch 45 or more double digit victories during the regular season and the other seven have won titles.
Normally regular season success of that magnitude is a bit of a red flag for me because it is well known that teams play tighter defense in the post season and turn it on. We seee it happen all too often where teams do well in the regular season and just put up duds in the post season.
That being said, the Bucks smashed the Wizards in a sweep. They followed up with a loss in game 1 to the Celtics only to obliterate them in the next 4 to finish it off. This team is every bit as good as they were in the regular season.
Obviously thanks in large part to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has been the most efficient post player I have ever seen. There is a reason his name is Greek Freak. This team reminds me a lot like the Orland Magic with Dwight Howard, except way more efficient. The Bucks have surrounded Giannis with shooters much like the Magic did with Howard. The x-factor with Giannis is being able to take people off the dribble and isolate. One step and the guy pretty much is at the basket. Once he is there, bless your heart stopping him.
Western Conference Finals
Portland Trailblazers v Golden State Warriors
Winner: Warriors in 5
Maybe I am undervaluing the Blazers here, but if there is something you don’t want to do with the Warriors, it is try to outshoot them. It won’t happen over the course of 7 games with or without Kevin Durant. The Rockets who shoot the hell out of the ball from 3 couldn’t get it done, I just can’t see the Trailblazers getting it done. Unfortunately, the Blazers story ends here but they gave it a hell of a run. Lillard and McCollum are incredible together and I am glad the NBA finally got to see it in the postseason.
Eastern Conference Finals
Toronto Raptors v Milwaukee Bucks
Winner: Bucks in 5
Unfortunately, I think both series end in 5 just because of how overwhelming one team will be over the other. The Bucks are long and nasty on D and I just don’t know if there is anyone who can stop Giannis from getting to the rim. I just don’t think the Raptors have enough firepower to take down the Bucks.
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