Basketball

NBA Playoff Recap and Adjustments

As the teams finish Game 2 of Round 1, Lets look into tied series and series leaders before Game 3 begins tonight.

Tied Series

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets (1-1)

In Game 1, the Nets came out strong, defeating the 76ers in an upset 111-102 in Philadelphia. The 76ers responded in Game 2, blowing out the Nets 145-123. What adjustments will need to be made on either side to win? For the Nets, their lineup is everything. They have one of the deepest benches in the NBA, with at least 2 of their best players coming off the bench. Maybe moving Spencer Dinwiddie or Caris LeVert to the starting lineup would be the answer because defensively, the Nets haven’t been able to respond to 76er’s Joel Embiid. Stopping Ben Simmons will be the real test. In Game 1, the Nets were able to shut him down and take the win. In Game 2, Simmons ruled the court and completely neutralized the Nets defense, using Joel Embiid and JJ Redick as screens to drive the ball in. Tune in to Game 3 in Brooklyn tonight to see what happens next on TNT at 7 pm central.

Denver Nuggets vs. San Antonio Spurs (1-1)

In another Game 1 upset, the San Antonio Spurs held their own and defeated the Nuggets 101-96. In Game 2, the Spurs held the lead until Jamal Murray went on a scoring spree and got the Nuggets the victory 114-105. Denver had the home court advantage in the first two games, but in Game 3, they will be in Spurs territory. The Nuggets have the second worst road record during the regular season at 20-21. The Spurs, however have the one of the best home records at 32-9. On paper, Denver has the stronger talent but the Spurs have the experience. If the Spurs can overcome the inconsistency of their role players Rudy Gay and Bryn Forbes, they might have a chance to slow down the Nuggets momentum in Game 3. Watch the game tonight on NBATV at 8 pm central to see who takes the lead.

Golden State Warriors vs. LA Clippers (1-1)

To no one’s surprise, the Warriors took Game 1 in Oakland 121-104. Game 2 was a completely different story. Five minutes into the 1st quarter, DeMarcus Cousins went down with a torn quadriceps. This didn’t affect the team through the half, as they maintained a strong lead. With 7:31 left in the 3rd quarter, the Clippers were down by 31 points but then the unthinkable happened. The Clippers made the greatest comeback in NBA history, scoring 72 points in 19 minutes, winning 135-131. It helped that the Warriors had 22 turnovers. The reigning NBA Champions were suddenly a mess defensively and the Clippers took full advantage of this. The Warriors will have to find someway to slow down the pick and rolls that Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell have been committing. Patrick Beverley has been a nightmare for the Warriors as well, especially Kevin Durant. Bev is the type of player that will stay in your ear all night. He’s abrasive and aggressive. His antics caused a riff between him and Durant in Game 1, resulting in both being ejected. This match up became far more interesting after Game 2. Lets hope the excitement continues into Game 3, tonight on TNT at 9:30 pm.

NBC Sports

Toronto Raptors vs. Orlando Magic (1-1)

Underdogs, the Magic were able to defeat the Raptors in Game 1, 104-101. The Raptors set the tone for the next game, aggressively defending. The Magic missed six shots and had four turnovers before even getting a score up. Kyle Lowry stepped up for Game 2, after failing to get any points in Game 1. Lowry and Kawhi Leonard, were an unstoppable duo. The Raptors blew out the Magic in a 111-82 win. Toronto has the advantage in almost every way, from their star players to their depth off the bench but Orlando has proved to be a formidable contender when the Raptors are failing to hit their shots. The Magic will have to more aggressive on defense and find a way to stop Leonard, who scored 37 points in Game 2. The Raptors will needs to stay focused and play with the same energy the came out with in Game 2. The series will continue tomorrow night at 6 pm on ESPN.

Series Leaders

Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers (2-0)

The Celtics have now beaten the Pacers in Game 1 and Game 2. The Pacers have kept the games close, even leading for most of Game 2 but in both games have collapsed during a late quarter. The shots just weren’t falling for the Pacers but an even bigger problem for them was Kyrie Irving who scored 37 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds in Game 2. The Pacers will have to stay locked in throughout the whole game, find a way to stop Kyrie and a way to overcome the Celtics’ suffocating defense when they’re hot. Game 3 is tomorrow night at 7:30 pm central on ABC.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (2-0)

The Thunder lost Game 1 to the Trail Blazers simply by not getting their shots. Shooting at 15.2% from behind the arc, the Thunder failed to be able to produce enough shots to catch the lead. The Trail Blazers, however, did not have the same problem. CJ McCollum scored 33 points in Game 2 and Damian Lillard had 29. Offensively and Defensively, the Trail Blazers are firing on all cylinders. Russell Westbrook has struggled in this series, specifically Game 2, scoring only 14 points. 14 points isn’t exactly bad, but it’s not the level Mr. Triple Double has been scoring at all season. OKC will have to simply make their shots if they don’t want to get swept. Westbrook will have to outplay Lillard. Check out Game 3 tomorrow night on TNT at 8:30 pm central.

Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz (2-0)

The Rockets have blown out the Jazz by 20 points twice now in Houston. The Jazz just don’t have an answer for James Harden’s offense. They have tried pushing him to his right which sometimes works in stopping his shot, but not often. They have tried double teaming him, leaving other players wide open for a 3. Another thing the Jazz didn’t anticipate was the Rockets defense, who fought for loose balls and rebounded aggressively. The Jazz will need to keep a better hold of the ball, limiting turnovers, and be responsive to the Rockets offensive plays. The next two games will be in Utah, a hostile fan environment for the Rockets. See if the Jazz can bounce back in Game 3 on Saturday night at 9:30 pm central on ESPN.

David J. Phillip, AP

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons (2-0)

Predictably, the Milwaukee Bucks have won the first two games of the series against the Pistons. Detroit had an unfortunate loss in Blake Griffin who is out for the first round of the playoff series. Griffin is currently listed as a game time decision on the injury report due to a knee injury. The Pistons played better in Game 2 even taking a one-point lead into the half, but ultimately were brought back down by the bucks who scored 35-17 in the 3rd quarter. The Pistons have to find a way to stop Giannis Antetokounmpo if they want to have any chance at avoiding a sweep. Game 3 will tip off at 7:00 pm central on Saturday on ESPN.

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Featured Photo Credit: Nba.com

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