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Around the League: NBA Playoffs

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Let’s take a quick run around the playoffs, shall we?

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Morning everyone. Get your fresh thread here!

Let’s catch ourselves up on all of the non-Wolves doings in the playoffs.

Eastern Conference

Toronto Raptors lead Washington Wizards 2-1

The Raps got rid of their first game curse and won both of their home games. Things were looking grim for the Wizards, where their seemed to be some dissension. They managed to work it out for at least one night, however, with a big 122-103 win in last night’s game three. Their offense was clicking to the tune of 55% shooting, with Bradley Beal and John Wall each scoring 28. The Raptors usually potent bench couldn’t make up the difference.

Boston Celtics lead Milwaukee Bucks 2-1

A similar situation is playing out in this series, where the Celtics handled the Bucks in the first two games in Boston, but the Bucks blew them out in game three last night in Milwaukee. The Bucks shot 57%, but it was finally their ability to get some stops and win the turnover battle that got them their win.

I’m looking forward to game four of this one. The Celtics are made vulnerable by their injuries, but Brad Stevens is a fantastic coach who will make the needed adjustments.

Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers lead Miami Heat 2-1

This has been pretty tasty. Things definitely got a bit heated in the Sixers win in game three in Miami, with plenty of trash talking on both sides. The Sixers broke open a close game in the fourth quarter, however, because they simply would not miss a shot and outscored the Heat 32-14. Game three also marked Joel Embiid’s playoff debut after missing the two games in Philly as he recovered from his orbital fracture. He led the Sixers with 23 points.

The Heat managed a split in Philly in the first two games, slowing the Sixers in game two when they had a terrible shooting night, while Dwyane Wade found the wayback machine. Miami will play hard and defend, and they are very well coached, but they appear outgunned in this series and have no answer for Ben Simmons, who is averaging 20-10-9.7 so far.

Indiana Pacers lead Cleveland Cavaliers 2-1

This has been something. Game one featured an unready Cavs team being jumped on early by the Pacers, led by Victor Oladipo. The Cavs couldn’t overcome losing the first quarter by 19 points, and the Pacers stole the home court advantage.

Game two was all about the King. LeBron James exploded for 46, but ultimately it was a bit disquieting, as the Cavs barely hung on to win by three points, and nobody else really showed up for the home team. It looked a bit like some of his Cavs teams from the first go-around in Cleveland.

Last night, the Cavs opened a big lead and were up 17 at halftime, but completely fell apart in the second half under a barrage of Bojan Bogdanovic three pointers (he finished with 30 points on the night.) LeBron could not stop the tide and the Pacers blew past them in the fourth quarter.

The Cavs are still fully capable of winning this series, but they are looking nothing like a contender at the moment.

Western Conference

Golden State Warriors lead San Antonio Spurs 3-0

This one is likely to be over tomorrow. The Spurs simply can’t keep up with the Warriors, even without Stephen Curry, and appear ready to call it a season. Gregg Popovich missed game three following the death of his wife, and the team, already over-matched in this series, don’t seem particularly engaged in this post-season.

On the court, the Spurs just don’t have the offensive weapons to keep up with the Warriors. LaMarcus Aldridge has been their primary source of scoring, but even he has struggled, and they really have nowhere else to turn to. Meanwhile, the Warriors have Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson rolling, and their ball movement involves everyone else as well.

New Orleans Pelicans lead Portland Trailblazers 3-0

I didn’t see this coming. Not so much the Pelicans winning, but just rolling through a Blazers team that seems helpless. Jrue Holiday has been fantastic, defending the potent Blazers back court to a standstill (along with the resurgent Rajon Rondo) and pouring in 23 a night. The Blazers have no way to deal with Anthony Davis, who is playing Jusuf Nurkic off the floor.

This one could end today, though it wouldn’t completely shock me if the Blazers have one in them. At any rate, the Pels look to be moving on, and the Blazers will be left with big questions heading into the off-season.

Oklahoma City Thunder tied with Utah Jazz 1-1

Fun first two games of this series saw a split in OKC. The Thunder got a huge game from Paul George in game one, as he went off for 36 and made some ridiculous shots in leading them to a win.

The Jazz responded in game two with a huge Donovan Mitchell fourth quarter and big games from Derrick Favors and Ricky Rubio. These two evenly matched teams now shift to Utah, starting tonight.

The first two games have been tight, with little separating the teams overall. Each of the four factors are very close, and it seems that a key run is deciding these games and perhaps this series. For the Jazz, getting Joe Ingles going is key, although he’s played well he has not scored much so far, and they will need some shots to go in for him. For the Thunder, Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple double over the first two, but is also shooting 38 percent from the field. He’s capable of winning a game, or even a series, himself, and the Thunder are going to need some heroics.

Today’s games:

Sixers at Heat
1:30 pm CDT
TNT

Blazers at Pelicans
4:00 pm CDT
TNT

Rockets at Wolves
6:30 pm CDT
ESPN
(We’ll be back later with a preview of course)

Thunder at Jazz
9:00 pm CDT
ESPN

Enjoy your playoffs Saturday.