There are three games tonight as the NBA playoffs continue. In each game, the team with the home court advantage is looking to win their first game and swing back the series in their favor.
Bucks at Raptors. Bucks leading 1-0
Bulls at Celtics. Bulls leading 1-0
Jazz at Clippers. Jazz leading 1-0
Bucks vs Raptors
The Raptors have a less than stellar reputation in the playoffs and every year the team somehow looks extraordinarily disappointing in their first game of a series. This year, even with the additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, the Raptors were completely dominated by the Bucks and their superior length and athleticism. It’s unclear at this point what is really happening, as the Raptors are almost certainly a better team over the long haul. But there are quite a few possibilities, and almost none of them are good for the Raptors.
- The Raptors just had a bad game, albeit one that highlights their deficiencies that we already knew existed. The Raptors go on to win in 5-6 games
- The Bucks are simply a terrible matchup for the Raptors as the Bucks’ size does not allow the Raptors to get much usage out of their smaller lineups nor does the Bucks’ athleticism allow the Raptors to capitalize on their own “Stretch-fours”. This leads to close series, it’s a toss-up.
- The Bucks are having a coming out party in the playoffs and the Greek Freak is ready to stamp his name on the league. This leads to a close series, it’s a toss-up.
To be honest, I think any of these options are equally likely at this point, and this is the series of which is mostly likely to end in an upset. Serge Ibaka is also a game-time decision for tonight’s game, but is expected to play.
Bulls at Celtics
The Bulls simply out-rebounded the Celtics in Game 1 and Jimmy Butler put in a virtuoso appearance that helped the Bulls steal a game. Not to mention, TNT Bulls are a force to be reckoned with that the Celtics cannot ignore. However, it is unlikely over the course of a 7-game series that the Bulls will be able to keep this up. The Bulls lacked consistency all year, and while they are highlighting the problems we knew existed on the Celtics, it’s hard to imagine the Bulls are the team that will bring them down. I would bet on the Celtics getting on track tonight.
Jazz at Clippers
Rudy Gobert’s injury made this series a lot less exciting in the long-term than it would have been otherwise. Gobert is just so important for the Jazz team and if he misses more than a few games it is tough to see them not getting simply outplayed by the Clippers. The Jazz will certainly make this a tough series for them, but it is hard to imagine them succeeding without Gobert. Any team that loses their 1st or 2nd most important player in the opening minutes of an NBA series is going to have a rough go of it, those are simply the breaks of the NBA playoffs. It’s a marathon.
Not to mention, but the Clippers simply need to win these games. They cannot lose in the first round or else this team is getting completely blown up. There are too many veterans’ reputations and egos on the line for them to lay down to a hobbled Jazz team.
This will be the game thread for tonight’s slate of games.
Happy chatting away!