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First Round Recap of the NBA Playoffs

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NBA playoffs first round is over and they're moving on to round two. Find stats and predictions on the Red & Black!

NBA playoffs first round is over and they're moving on to round two. Find stats and predictions on the Red & Black!

Photo by Creative Commons

Photo by Creative Commons

NBA playoffs first round is over and they're moving on to round two. Find stats and predictions on the Red & Black!

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The second round is set with Lebron James carrying the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Indiana Pacers. With that said, let’s see a quick rundown of which sixteen teams made it into the final eight and what had happened in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

EAST

Matchup One: Toronto Raptors (1) vs. Washington Wizards (8)

There were a lot of questions surrounding the Raptors this year concerning their ability to perform in the playoffs. Securing the first seed in the east normally solidifies a team’s status as the head honcho of the conference; however, remembering Kyle Lowry’s lack of presence in last year’s playoffs and Demar Derozan’s lackluster performances, the Raptors could easily have been one of the first teams out of this year’s playoffs. That was not the case in their first series as their added bench depth and a reemergence of Lowry and DeRozan lead the Raptors to a 4-2 win against a formidable John Wall/Bradley Beal powered Wizards.

Matchup Two: Boston Celtics (2) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (7)

The Celtics are yet another team whose potential seemed limited with the absence of both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. It also seemed dreary considering this was Giannis Antetokounmpo’s breakout year, with his name in the MVP race and a supporting cast of Kris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe. Brad Stevens, coach of the Celtics was fortunate enough to have Terry Rozier, a relatively unknown player who was the backup to Kyrie absolutely ball out. Not only that, but rookie Jayson Tatum, sophomore Jaylen Brown and veteran Al Horford helped pave way for the Celtics to edge out the young Bucks 4-3.

Matchup Three: Philadelphia 76ers (3) vs. Miami Heat (6)

Speaking of young, the Sixers who somehow turned themselves from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the best in the conference were simply too much for the Miami Heat who had admirable performances from Dwayne Wade, Kelly Olynyk, and Goran Dragic. Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and a group of shooters are all it took to take down the disappointing Miami Heat, 4-1.

Matchup Four: Cleveland Cavaliers (4) vs. Indiana Pacers (5)

At first glance, one might dismiss the once great Indiana Pacers but with Cleveland’s roster looking as weak as it ever has been, and Victor Oladipo this year solidifying his superstar potential, anything could have happened. For the first few games it appeared as though Indiana really could’ve dethroned the King with convincing wins and nail-biting losses but in the end King James is still King James and to say the least carried the Cavs over the Pacers. Oh, and I should probably mention that Lebron James swished a game-winning buzzer beater three in game 5 where it would end in a 4-3 finish.

WEST

Matchup One: Houston Rockets (1) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (8)

Karl-Anthony Towns vanished in games 1, and 2, but other than that the Houston Rockets showed the league why they’re the second-best team right behind Golden State with a convincing 4-1 win.

Matchup Two: Golden State Warriors (2) vs. San Antonio Spurs (7)

Are the Spurs a good team? Yes. Is Greg Popovich one of the greatest coaches of all time? Possibly. Are the Warriors weaker without Steph Curry? Also, yes. With all this in mind, you would think the Spurs could stand a chance right? Wrong. Without the 2x Defensive Player of the Year, NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Co. were helpless to the Curry-less Warriors as they only managed to steal one win away from the reigning champs in a 1-4 loss.

Matchup Three: Portland Trail Blazers (3) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (6)

With the unfortunate loss of Demarcus Cousins to an Achilles tear in the regular season many doubted how far Anthony Davis could take the Pelicans against the lethal scorers of C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard. Apparently, he was capable of taking them very far with the Trail Blazers trailing the entire series in a surprising 4-0 sweep. Hats off to Playoff Rondo and Jrue Holiday as they provided both offense and exceptional defense, limiting Cj and Dame’s contribution.

Matchup Four: Oklahoma City Thunder (4) vs. Utah Jazz (5)

The Oklahoma Thunder, the supposed dark horses for the Western Conference Finals, the team “capable” of going toe to toe with the Warriors got bounced in the first round by a solid Utah team. Notably, Donovan Mitchell Utah Jazz’s leading scorer is a 21-year-old rookie who managed to score against the likes of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George. However, it wasn’t just the Utah Jazz being a solid team but rather a horrid showing of Carmelo Anthony, who was supposed to comprise ⅓ of OKC’s “Big Three” but only managed to average 12 PPG on 38 % shooting…yikes. So, the Jazz sent the Thunder packing early, edging them out 4-2.

T-T-T-T-That’s all folks! That’s my quick summary of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Be sure to catch round two, and if you’d like to keep up with direct coverage from the NBA you can go ahead and click on this here.

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About the Writer
Justin Valverde, Staff Reporter & Co-Anchor
Gr. 12 “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”  ~Mahatma Gandhi
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First Round Recap of the NBA Playoffs