NBA PLAYOFFS – REACTION TO NBA PLAYOFF ACTION – PART ONE – SATURDAY GAME 1’S

The first weekend of round one was a blast. Don’t worry if you missed a game or two or all of them. I’ve got you covered with the biggest takeaways from all 8 games from this weekend. What teams did right and what teams will need to change going forward if they want to move on. Scroll on down through all 8 games or just find your favorite team to get caught up.

Spurs vs. Warriors

Well, it is confirmed that this series will more than likely be a snooze fest. San Antonio can’t score and Golden State is gearing up on the defensive end.

Takeways

  • Golden State locked in on Defense.
    • Draymond Green showed up in this game and not only him but Durant did as well. The rest of the guys typically don’t have the choice to disengage, but when both of these guys are locked in then it has a serious positive affect on everyone else. Any team would have difficulties scoring on the GSW defense that came to play in this first round game
  • LeMarcus Aldridge struggled scoring and shot a low percentage from the field.
    • Aldridge couldn’t really take advantage in the post in this game. He scored 14 points on 41% shooting which were mainly inside shots. He struggled scoring last playoffs against Golden State and if he does the same this series will be over quick.

Conclusion

The Spurs have been terrible on the road all season long. I don’t expect that to change. Kawhi is clearly not coming back. Those are both large nails smashed into the Spurs coffin. I don’t put anything past Popovich, but I can’t fathom the Spurs taking more than 2 games in this series. I’m expecting another blowout tonight and then some harder fought wins to finish a sweep for the Warriors.

Wizards vs Raptors

DeRozan and Lowry didn’t disappear and John Wall and company didn’t get into a hissy fight on the other end.

Takeways

  • DeRozan and Lowry were awesome
    • After the first half of this game I was a little worried about these two. On one hand they were sharing the ball and staying true to playing the same way they had all season which had brought them a lot of success. When things got tough they kept on trusting their teammates and it was paying off. On the other hand they had only 7 points on 8 shots combined. I was afraid until the moment the second half started. Lowry and DeRozan put up 8 of their first 10 points to begin the half. From here out they led the way on both ends of the floor.
  • Toronto’s support players were not afraid of the spotlight
    • Toronto’s support players were amazing as well. Even without Vanvleet they had a number of guys step up. Anunoby had 8 huge points in the first quarter. Poeltl came off the bench and provided a defense of presence and recorded 2 blocks. Delon Wright provided 18 points on 75% shooting from three point land. CJ Miles was able to knock down some deep threes and wound up 4/7 from three with 12 points.

Conclusion

Washington is going to need Wall to play up to his potential. He played well in the first half with 13 points and 10 assists but his shooting fell off in the second and wasn’t moving the ball as well. Toronto will be locked in and more confident from here on out. Don’t expect Washington to go down easily, though.

Heat vs 76ers

Are you still doubting Philadelphia? Who am I kidding. We’re all on that bandwagon.

Takeaways

  • Ben Simmons is really good
    • I haven’t got to see a whole lot of Ben Simmons this year. I am really impressed. His ability to get into traffic and score or find the open man is supernatural.
  • Sixers fans owe Bryan Colangelo a thank you for Illyasova & Belinelli
    • Both of these players have been a huge asset to the 76ers. Their ability to knock down threes and IQ have really complemented what this team is trying to do with Simmons. Since signing both of these guys Philly is 21-3.

Conclusion

Spoelstra is going to have to pull something out of his for this series. I wouldn’t count Miami out. The inexperience of the Sixers and the experience of the Heat makes me cautious to give this series to Philly too quickly.

Pelicans vs Blazers

Anthony Davis will be the best player in this series and the Pelicans may need some huge games from him before it’s all over.

Takeaways

  • Jrue Holiday led the way in containing the Blazers guards
    • New Orleans won this game by not letting Lillard or Mccollum take over. Jrue Holiday had a fantastic game guarding Lillard and came up with some huge plays late. If Holiday continues this defensive effort the Pelicans may walk away from this series sooner than they expect. Dame only shot 26% from the field while CJ was 39%.
  • Anthony Davis was the best player on the court
    • AD asserted himself on both ends of the floor. Everyone knows what his potential is. It is just up to him to bring it night in and night out. Tonight he brought it.

Conclusion

This series could turn out to be the most exciting one of the entire playoffs. Both teams are giving it their all on the defensive end. I wouldn’t expect Lillard and Mccollum to be denied like they were in this game the rest of the series. I certainly expect a struggle but they should hit a stride in one of these next couple games and look to turn the momentum in their favor.

NBA NIGHTLY PREVIEW – GAMES TO WATCH FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT – 4/11/18

It would only be appropriate to cap off this season with a giant exclamation point, and that is exactly what’s happening tonight with so many important games lined up. There are all kinds of reasons to tune in tonight, from meaningful games for teams like Denver to meaningful games for individual players like Russell Westbrook. Scroll through below and I’m sure you’ll find a game worth watching.

Utah Jazz @ Portland Trail Blazers

10:30 PM (east) – ESPN

Maybe the most underrated game of the night is this one. All eyes will be on Denver and Minnesota, and rightfully so. But this game will have plenty of meaning as well. The winner determines the 3 seed in the West as well as who will face Houston in the 2nd round. This isn’t win or go home but it may be the next best thing. Both of these teams will be fighting for that 3 seed which will hopefully lead to a scrappy and desperate final game of the season.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder

8:00 PM (east) – FS Oklahoma

I don’t always advise people to watch Grizzlies games, but when I do you can be assured that something crazy may happen. Russell Westbrook needs just 16 more rebounds to average a triple double for the second consecutive season in a row. You can be confident you’ll see Russ stealing rebounds and maybe even requesting a few of his own players to take some “ill” advised shots. Outside of this the only reason to watch this game would be if you’re a pretty dedicated Thunder fan. If the Thunder somehow manage to lose this game they will be stuck with the 8 seed.

Denver Nuggets @ Minnesota Timberwolves

8:00 PM (east) – FS & ATL

The last season a team had a play-in scenario was in 1997. The Nuggets and Wolves will have one tonight. This is basically the first playoff game of the year. The tension will be high. The feel at the Target Center in Minnesota will be exciting and new. This is win or go home. Minnesota hasn’t been to a playoff in 14 years, and I can assure you that Denver doesn’t care. In fact they would love to make it 15 years.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Philadelphia 76ers

8:00 PM (east) – ESPN

The fourth game that needs to be on your radar tonight is this one. Milwaukee has all kinds of incentive to win and lose this game. A 76ers win would put the Bucks in position to lose their draft pick as they would be tied with a few teams for the 17th best record in the NBA. Currently, their pick will convey to the Suns if it falls in the top 10 or 17-30 range. If the Bucks do win this game it will put them in position to potentially play the Cavaliers in the first round (as long as the Cavs can handle the Knicks). Losing this game will give the Bucks the 7 seed and they will in turn play the beat up Boston Celtics in the 1st round. Watching this game to see what the Bucks decision making process will look like could be worth it alone. The 76ers have all the incentive to win as it would wrap up the 3 seed.

San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans

8:00 PM (east) – FSSW & FSN

Both teams should have incentive to win tonight. A win for either team would position them with the 5th seed in the west. A loss could potentially put either squad in the 8th seed and facing the Houston Rockets. Although, a loss for the Jazz would mean that the one of these teams will be running into a buzz saw in the first round. A loss for the Blazers would be more favorable as they seem to have cooled off towards the last couple weeks. This should be another hotly contested game as both teams will be fighting for the best position they can get.

Toronto Raptors @ Miami Heat

8:00 PM (east) – TSN & SUN

The final game to keep a tab on would be the Raptors and Heat. A Heat loss here could mean this same match-up would occur in the first round of the playoffs. There are also other scenarios that keep the Heat at the 7 seed. The Raptors are safe at the 1 seed but if they would prefer to play the Heat in round 1 over the Wizards or Bucks then a win tonight would give them the best opportunity for that to happen.