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2021 NBA Playoffs: Thursday Open Thread

The playoff schedule tonight includes three pivotal matchups for some of the league’s top contenders.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks

Alright, before we hop into breaking down real, live basketball, we must address the 1.5 billion pound elephant in the room:

(Mom, look away for a second...)

What a shit show.

OK, let’s regroup. According to the latest report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Meyer Orbach, the second largest shareholder in the Minnesota Timberwolves/Minnesota Lynx, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court recently alleging owner Glen Taylor’s pending sale of his two franchises is in violation of the partnership agreement. Moreover, the complaint states that Glen Taylor failed to honor the “tag along rights” for minority investors in the franchise(s), which essentially allows them to cash out their investment before Taylor sells his own shares.

At first glance, this is obviously another dumpster fire for the franchise, mainly because Glen Taylor is involved. With that said, and after speaking to a few people who know more than I do, this seems to boil down to two extremely wealthy individuals fighting over (additional) wealth, which usually escalates to including the legal system. Our good friend Jon Krawczynski (no, not the one from the upcoming movie A Quiet Place, II), did a great job of breaking down what exactly is going on with this latest ownership-related development:

For me personally, I’m to the point where I don’t really care about this story until it’s 110% done. Yes, the latest reporting from Woj includes somewhat new information about Glen Taylor not having specific relocation language in the agreement, but at this point I think it’s a waste of time to focus on that.

At this specific juncture, no one really knows how this will play out or what the next legal steps are, but it still seems inevitable that Glen Taylor will eventually hand over the keys to the Timberwolves and Lynx, which after this latest bit of news, is a god damn miracle. Now, will Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore use those keys to drive the team(s) to a new city? Who the hell knows, but for now I think it seems like the best (and healthiest) option to just ignore rich people fighting over money and focus on what really matters — the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

Thursday NBA Playoff Schedule

  • Bucks @ Heat (6:30PM CST)
  • Suns @ Lakers (9:00PM CST)
  • Nuggets @ Blazers (9:30PM CST)

As the schedule indicates, Thursday’s trio of games includes three pivotal matchups for some of the league’s top contenders. Things tip off with Bucks/Heat, with Miami returning to South Beach down 0-2 in the series. While I firmly subscribe to the notion that “a series doesn’t really start until a team loses at home,” what I’ve seen from Miami in the first two games is complete and thorough YUCK.

Yes, the Heat made an impressive run to the NBA Finals last year in the bubble, but unless things turn around tonight, that run might prove to be more of an aberration than a new norm for Heat Culture™. Despite paying roughly 102 draft picks to make it happen, the upgrade from Eric Bledsoe to Jrue Holiday is already paying extreme dividends for the Bucks, and if things break right tonight for Giannis and his teammates, Milwaukee may find themselves with a few extra days of rest before their heavyweight title fight against the Brooklyn Nets (who may somehow win their series against the Boston Celtics in three games).

As for the Western Conference, we have two juicy matchups tonight, both of which enter Game 3 tied at 1-1. The Chris Paul shoulder injury is one of the biggest bummers of the season, as it’s fairly clear CP3 just isn’t right and might not be for the rest of the playoffs. The Suns have gotten great production from guys like Cam Payne and DeAndre Ayton, but with the Lakers returning home to Staples Center this weekend, Phoenix will need to grab at least one of these next two games if they have any hopes of dethroning the defending champions.

Finally, Nuggets/Blazers should be a thrilling nightcap, with soon-to-be-named MVP Nikola Jokic trying to outduel Damian Lillard for control of this series. My original prediction of Blazers in 6 still seems extremely possible, but that could quickly change if Denver rolls into Portland tonight and takes back home court advantage.

Have a great night everyone and thank you basketball — you’re still the best.