Sorry I didn’t have an article up yesterday! Hockey and fatherhood got in the way. Let’s get into it and have a quick look at the 8 games from yesterday and today.
Are you ready to panic about the Bucks yet? A monster game from Giannis was all for naught as the Orlando Magic knocked off Milwaukee by 12 points. Aside from Antetokounmpo, no one really contributed any thing for Milwaukee. Is Khris Middleton ever going to step up and silence his critics? I did not see enough from him in this game. Khris Littleton, am I right? So much for my prediction of the Lopez boys taking Vucevic out of the contest. More like the other way around! I’m curious to see if that trend continues or if Milwaukee can flip the script. Nice double double for DJ Augustin. I swear everywhere I look is a former Bull succeeding in the league. Every game that passes, it’s getting harder to believe the Bucks will turn this around.
Miami took care of business after an early exit from Oladipo. Hopefully he is back for game 2 after an injury to his left eye. Strong performances from Butler, Adebayo and Dragic. If Miami can continue to get strong performances from others, it’ll help keep Jimmy fresh for games later in the series. Nice effort from Indiana but they just looked to be outmatched in this one.
First game of the day I actually got to watch was OKC and Houston. And what a disappointment that was! I did not enjoy this game at all. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like watching the Rockets type of basketball. Can’t deny them though, they took care of business against OKC. Pretty poor showing on the Thunder’s part. They looked disjointed most of the game. Strong performance for Paul but the other guys need to get going. Adams should of been way more dominate in this game, he has a huge height advantage and needs to make the most of that. Gallinari put up the points but everyone else was very disappointing for OKC. Gordon had a very good game for Houston, hopefully that continues. Jeff Green was also pretty good, I don’t think that will continue. Harden was Harden, just with a few less points. That didn’t hurt the Rockets at all though. Good win by Houston, OKC need to make lots of adjustments and wake up if they want to take the next game.
Wasn’t the day to be the number 1 seed. The Portland Trail Blazers took care of business against the Lakers and took game 1. It was hard to call this an upset. It’s no secret the Lakers have struggled offensively and managed a measly 93 points against a mediocre Portland defense. Looking at the box score, James was huge for the lakers (23 points, 17 boards and 16 assists) but he didn’t look dominate on the court. It’s hard to say it but he needs to be better. Why does AD insist on playing basketball like he is 6’0″? He frustrates the heck out of me. As for the rest of them, I’m pretty sure I would of played better if I was out there. Shout out to KCP for posting a triple single. Danny Green was inconsistent again. At least he is consistent in that regard. What happened to Caruso? Kuzma needs to do way more. I’ve been singing his praises all year. He needs to be better. Portland didn’t score as much as I thought they might but a good team performance from them. Lillard, McCollom, Anthony, Whiteside and Nurkic all had great games for Portland. If that keeps up, they might actually win this series.
Props to Toronto for not giving up in this game. They could of easily thrown in the towel, got some rest and moved on to game 3. But they stuck with it and were rewarded with the win. I don’t want to say it, but I think this might be a sweep. Especially now that Joe Harris has left. How good is Fred VanVleet? I feel like he hasn’t missed a shot for a year now. More double/doubles for the Toolman and LeVert. I can’t see them not getting that. Add one for Harris. Not a bad game for TLC but I expected a little bit more (remember what I said about former Bulls?) That was about it though. If the Nets have any chance they need to shoot better from outside. It’s as simple as that.
Why are the Nuggets and Jazz so hard to predict? Thats kind of a rhetorical question. The answer is obviously inconsistency. I will give points if you answered laziness as well. The Jamal Murray rule continued. Less than 18 points today and the Nuggets lost. 0-8 when he scores less then 18, 8-0 when he scores 24 or more. Strong game by Jokic, but unfortunately not strong enough. Good to see MPJ got it going. A much better team performance from the Jazz. The only real question is will it continue? Who knows?
I’m feeling pretty smart by calling a sweep in the Boston and Philly series. Tatum scored really well again and helped lead the Celtics to a very convincing win against the Sixers. Tatum looks unstoppable with Simmons out and the Celtics just look far too strong in this series, even with Hayward out. I don’t think it matters if Embiid posts a 50/20 game, I’d still back the Celtics. Brett Brown might be on his last couple games as head coach of Philadelphia. Might we see Embiid or Simmons traded?
Last but not least, the Clippers vs the Mavericks. How good is Luka? As soon as Porzingis was cleared to play, it felt like the Mavs were going to come out and take this. The Clippers never let Dallas completely run away with it, but Dallas never lost their composure. They always managed to rebuild the lead. You have to wonder if KP wasn’t ejected in game 1 are the Mavs up 2-0 in this series? Once again, Dallas impressed me on both sides of the basketball. They played good defense but LA also seemed to struggle to hit anything. George was not good at all. What I want to know is how come Joakim Noah isn’t getting minutes? They are getting carved up on the inside. They need a good defender like Jo. He checked in for the final minute and Dallas didn’t score again. Just saying. They need to try something different. I Noah guy that could help! Luka got to sit majority of the fourth quarter as well. That’s huge that they can get him such significant rest in a game of this importance. That will pay dividends later.
That’s a wrap on day 2 & 3 in the finals. I am overreacting to think that both LA teams and maybe even Milwaukee might not make it out of the first round? Probably. But you never know! The way things are going now, it’s hard to say otherwise. Maybe get your bets in early for a Dallas and Toronto finals, Raptors in 6!