(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (1) Cleveland Cavaliers: Warriors in 5 Continue reading “NBA Finals – Results”
Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120: The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers to win the 2017 NBA championship. This is the first championship for Finals MVP Kevin Durant. Although this helps his legacy, it’s hard to overlook that he joined the best team in NBA history (a team that he lost to in the playoffs) to win the title. Durant was fantastic in these finals, scoring 30 or more points in all five games. He finished this game with 39 points on 14-20 shooting from the field. Stephen Curry added 34 points of his own. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson didn’t consistently put up points, but they were fantastic on the defensive end of the floor all series. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love picked a bad day to struggle. Although Irving’s 26 points seems impressive, he struggled down the stretch when his team needed him most. Kevin Love finished the game with only 6 points. That’s not even close to good enough. J.R. Smith backed up his “Cavs in 7” tweet with a fantastic game, scoring 26 points on 9-11 shooting from the field. He shot 7-8 from three-point range. LeBron James was the best player in this series. He became the first player in NBA Finals history to average a triple-double. He’s now 3-5 in his 8 Finals appearances, but it’s hard to blame him. He’s been the underdog in six of the 8 Finals matchups. LeBron finished game five with 41 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists. Congrats to the Golden State Warriors!
Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Cavaliers in game five of the NBA Finals. After losing their first game of the playoffs, the Warriors have a chance of winning the championship in front of their home crowd. Now up 3-1 in the series, the Cavaliers hope to have the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history, just one year after having the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history. Imagine if the “Warriors blew a 3-1 lead” turned into “Warriors blew a 3-0 lead.” Although it’s unlikely, nothing is impossible for LeBron James. He’s the best player on the planet. The Warriors will try to force someone else to step up, something that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are capable of doing. This will either be the last game of the NBA season, or a horrifying reminder to the Warriors that a series isn’t over until it’s over.
Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Golden State Warriors 137-116: Well, I was wrong. Although the series is still likely over, the Cavaliers should be proud of the fight they put up in game four. The Cavaliers scored an NBA Finals record 49 points in the first quarter. If they didn’t miss a bunch of free throws, they could’ve scored nearly 60 points. They ended up leading 86-68 at halftime, which was also a record for most points in the first half of a Finals game. To put that into context, scoring 68 points in a half is extremely impressive. But the Warriors were losing by 18! WOW! Kevin Durant had another fantastic game, scoring a team-high 35 points. Draymond Green got two technical fouls, but for some reason wasn’t ejected. Zaza Pachulia punched Iman Shumpert in the groin, but for some reason wasn’t ejected. This officiating crew should be suspended and ashamed of themselves. The NBA has to take action, watching the game made me extremely angry. Stephen Curry had 14 points on 4-13 shooting, and nobody was talking about it. If LeBron James had a similarly horrible performance, the media would never forget it. Talk about double standards. The aforementioned James had 31 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds. Kyrie Irving had 40 points of his own. Kevin Love had 23 points. Tristan Thompson finally showed up, only scoring 5 points but was dominant rebounding the basketball and playing defense. Now that the Warriors are up 3-1 in the series, cue the “Warriors blew a 3-1 lead jokes.” With Golden State hosting the next game, the Cavaliers will need a herculean effort to push the series to a sixth game. These two teams will play game five on Monday in Oakland.
Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers host the Warriors in game four of the NBA Finals. The Cavaliers will need to win the last four games of the series to win their second consecutive championship. But they won’t, the series is over. Golden State is too good. Thanks Kevin Durant for ruining the competitive balance in the NBA. Even the second best team in the league looks like a high school team against the Warriors. It’s over, better luck next year. But if Durant is still on the Warriors next year, then the same thing will happen. Lame.
Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 118-113: The Warriors stole game three from the Cavaliers to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Warriors were losing after three quarters, but outscored the Cavaliers 29-19 in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. The Warriors would score the game’s final 11 points. LeBron James had a fantastic game, but seemed to run out of gas down the stretch. He hasn’t gotten enough help from his teammates. LeBron’s stat line of 39 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists shows how much of the burden he had to take offensively. Kevin Durant has been better in this series, but he’s had a lot more help than LeBron. Durant finished the game with 31 points and 8 rebounds. Klay Thompson has found his stroke after a disappointing first game. He finished with 30 points and played stellar defense once again. Stephen Curry had 26 points and a staggering 13 rebounds. Kyrie Irving finished with 38 points, but his “hero ball” mentality at the end of the game cost the Cavaliers. Kevin Love only had 9 points, which was a major disappointment for Cleveland. Irving and Love haven’t been able to both put together great games in the same game. LeBron needs them both to play at an extremely high level to beat the Warriors. But for all intents and purposes, this series is over. These two teams will play game four on Friday in Cleveland.
Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers host the Warriors in game three of the NBA Finals. After losing the first two games on the road, the Cavaliers return home and need to use last year’s Finals as an example of what they need to do this year. The Cavaliers were blown out in the first two games of last year’s Finals before winning the championship. But this is a different year and a different Warriors team. Last year’s team may have broken the regular season record for victories, but they didn’t have Kevin Durant. This year’s Warriors look poised to win their second championship in three years. The Cavaliers will need to find a way to slow down Durant and get some quality production from their bench. Otherwise, they will get embarrassed once again. This is a must win game for the Cavaliers.
Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 132-113: The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals. With the Warriors holding serve at home, both teams will fly to Cleveland to play games three and four of the series. The game was close at halftime, but the Warriors took over in the second half. LeBron James had a great performance, but was outplayed again by Kevin Durant. James has a lot less to work with, so it takes more out of him to outplay Durant than vice versa. LeBron had a triple-double, scoring 29 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds. James was in attack mode in the first half, which was both effective and impressive to watch. He was in facilitator mode in the second half, which was somewhat impressive and extremely ineffective. LeBron didn’t seem to have the energy to attack the entire game due to the hectic up-and-down pace both teams were playing at. Kevin Love had an impressive game, scoring 27 points on 12-23 shooting from the field. Kyrie Irving had an awful night, scoring 19 points but shooting an abysmal 8-23 from the field. Durant scored a game-high 33 points on 13-22 shooting from the field. Curry almost matched his total with 32 points. Draymond Green had a nice all-around game. Klay Thompson broke out of his shooting woes and dominated on both ends of the floor. He scored 22 points on 8-12 shooting from the field, including making four of his seven three-point attempts. Neither bench was extremely productive, but the Warriors got more out of their bench than the Cavaliers did. J.R. Smith was terrible once again. He scored zero points, and has more turnovers than points in this series. Iman Shumpert didn’t shoot well, but played his usual tenacious defense. He should probably start in game three instead of Smith. These two teams will play game three of the Finals on Wednesday in Cleveland.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Cavaliers in game two of the NBA Finals. After a dominating win in game one, the Warriors will attempt to take a 2-0 lead and keep home-court advantage in this series. The Cavaliers will be looking to even the series at one game apiece with an upset win in Oakland. LeBron James had a poor performance in game one, and will need to rebound and be the best player on the court if the Cavaliers are going to keep the game competitive and possibly steal a game on the road. They’ll also need to find a way of slowing down Kevin Durant, who was unstoppable in game one. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but it’s a pivotal game that could set the tone for the remainder of the series.
Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 113-91: The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in game one of the NBA Finals. Although the first half of the game was relatively close, the Warriors took over in the third quarter and never looked back. LeBron James’ stat line of 28 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists looks impressive, but they don’t coincide with the performance he put out on the court. James was responsible for 8 of Cleveland’s 20 turnovers and struggled on the defensive end of the floor. On the contrary, Kevin Durant had 0 turnovers in 38 minutes of play. His impressive stat line of 38 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists matched what I saw during the game. He was clearly the best player on the court. In order for the Cavaliers to win, LeBron needs to be the best player on the court. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson struggled with their shots, but played stellar defense all game long. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love had solid games, but nobody for Cleveland stepped up besides their big three. The Cavaliers will need a bigger contribution from their other two starters and bench players. These two teams will play game two on Sunday in Oakland.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Cavaliers in game one of the NBA Finals. This is the third consecutive year that these teams are meeting in the Finals, which hasn’t ever happened before in NBA history. The Warriors haven’t played in more than a week, and the Cavaliers haven’t played in exactly a week. Since both of these teams dominated in their prior playoff series, they’ve been used to the long layoffs before starting the next series. The key to this game will be how each team is affected by the long layoff. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game will set the tone for the rest of the series.
(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (2) Cleveland Cavaliers: Warriors in 5 Continue reading “NBA Finals – What I expect to see”
(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (2) Cleveland Cavaliers: Cavaliers in 7 Continue reading “NBA Finals – What I want to see”
Golden State Warriors defeat San Antonio Spurs 129-115: The Warriors completed their third consecutive series sweep to return to the NBA Finals for the third straight year. The Spurs weren’t the same team in the last 3.5 games without superstar Kawhi Leonard. Gregg Popovich is a genius, but he wasn’t able to come up with a game plan to defeat the Warriors without his star. LaMarcus Aldridge had another terrible performance, scoring just 8 points in 22 minutes. He’s been a major disappointment since joining San Antonio. Manu Ginobli scored 15 points in possibly the final game of his illustrious career. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant scored 36 points and 29 points, respectively. They’ve both been dominant throughout the playoffs. The Warriors will face the Cleveland Cavaliers or Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.
Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs host the Warriors in game four of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are looking to sweep their third straight series. This will be Golden State’s third straight NBA Finals appearance. Kawhi Leonard is not expected to play, which is detrimental to San Antonio’s chances of extending the series. LaMarcus Aldridge will need to step up in Leonard’s absence, which is something that he’s been unable to do during the playoffs. The Warriors are heavy favorites to finish the sweep. This is a must-win game for the Spurs.
Golden State Warriors defeat San Antonio Spurs 120-108: The Warriors defeated the Spurs to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs were playing without their superstar Kawhi Leonard for the second consecutive game. They weren’t able to win the game, but they put forth an impressive effort without their leader. The Spurs were counting on LaMarcus Aldridge to bounce back from his pitiful game two performance. He led the Spurs with 18 points, but wasn’t effective enough to help lead San Antonio to victory. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry were dominant, scoring 33 points and 21 points, respectively. The Warriors look poised to advance to their third straight NBA Finals. These two teams will play game four on Monday in San Antonio.
Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs host the Warriors in game three of the Western Conference Finals. After losing the first two games, the Spurs need to win this game to keep their NBA Finals hopes alive. Kawhi Leonard will not play in this game, which seriously cripples the Spurs’ chances of defeating the heavily favored Warriors. The Spurs need LaMarcus Aldridge to step up in Leonard’s absence. Golden State hasn’t lost a game in the playoffs, and looks like a team on a mission to redeem themselves from last year’s collapse in the NBA Finals. In all likelihood, the Warriors are going to win and it won’t be close. Hopefully the Spurs can keep the game close, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Golden State Warriors defeat San Antonio Spurs 136-100: The Warriors dominated the Spurs to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. The Spurs have looked shell shocked after their superstar Kawhi Leonard re-injured his ankle in the first game of the series. Jonathon Simmons was the only player that stepped up for the Spurs, leading the team with 22 points. LaMarcus Aldridge only scored 8 points. He’s been a major disappointment since joining the Spurs. He looked timid all game. He’s the best player on the Spurs now that Kawhi Leonard is injured. His lackluster performances this postseason are inexcusable. The Warriors dominated the game from the start. The game was over before halftime. The Spurs will need to step up their intensity in game three if they want to keep their season alive. These two teams will play game three on Saturday in San Antonio.
- Boston Celtics
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Phoenix Suns
- Sacramento Kings
- Orlando Magic
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- New York Knicks
- Dallas Mavericks
- Sacramento Kings
- Charlotte Hornets
- Detroit Pistons
- Denver Nuggets
- Miami Heat
San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Spurs in game two of the Western Conference Finals. After a controversial game one, the Warriors look to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. The Spurs will be playing without superstar Kawhi Leonard because of an ankle injury that he re-aggravated in game one. Zaza Pachulia injured Leonard on a questionable play that many people (including myself) think was dirty and intentional. Given Pachulia’s history, he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. The Warriors were being dominated before Leonard’s injury. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were fantastic in game one, and will have a better chance of dominating again without Leonard’s presence on defense. This should be an easy win for the Warriors.
Draft Lottery: The NBA Draft Lottery will determine the draft order for the 2017 NBA Draft. The Miles Files will have all of your NBA Draft needs covered.
Golden State Warriors defeat San Antonio Spurs 113-111: The Warriors defeated the Spurs in game one of the Western Conference Finals. Down by more than twenty points, the Warriors outscored the Spurs by 22 points in the second half to steal the game from the San Antonio. Kawhi Leonard re-injured his ankle in the third quarter when Zaza Pachulia contested his jump shot. With the way that Leonard was dominating, it seems curious that Pachulia’s foot ended up under Leonard’s foot. Although Pachulia and Leonard both claim it was an accident, the move by Pachulia didn’t seem natural or accidental. The Warriors dominated the Spurs once Leonard was ruled out for the remainder of the game. Hopefully Leonard will be able to return for game two. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant scored 40 points and 34 points, respectively. The Spurs will need to limit their impact in the series if they want to pull off the upset. These two teams will play game two on Tuesday in Oakland.
San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors host the Spurs in game one of the Western Conference Finals. After missing game six of their last series, Kawhi Leonard should be healthy enough to play in this game without any limitations. The Warriors swept their first two series, and are heavy favorites to advance to the NBA Finals. The Spurs have Gregg Popovich, arguably the best coach in NBA history. Although they have the coaching advantage, the Warriors have the personnel advantage. If the Spurs are going to win this series, they’ll need to steal a few games in Oakland. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game can set the tone for the rest of the series.
Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 121-95: The Warriors completed a four game sweep of the Jazz to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The Jazz were playing without point guard George Hill for the third straight game. Shelvin Mack scored 18 points in his absence, but wasn’t able to provide the leadership that Hill does when he’s on the floor. Gordon Hayward scored 25 points in potentially his final game as a member of the Jazz. Although he had a decent game offensively, his team was outscored by 32 points with him on the floor. Hayward is set to become a free agent. Getting swept by the Warriors doesn’t help Utah’s chances of signing him to a long-term contract. Draymond Green had another fantastic game on both ends of the floor. He registered a triple-double and only had one turnover. The “splash bros” backcourt of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson scored 30 points and 21 points, respectively. If the Warriors’ starters continue playing at a high level, they’ll likely coast to the championship. The Warriors will face the San Antonio Spurs or Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.
Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz: The Warriors look to sweep the Jazz in Utah. The Jazz have dealt with injuries all season, and have missed their point guard George Hill in the last two games. He may return for this game, but it’s too late to make much of a difference. No team has ever won a seven game series after losing the first three games. It’s hard to imagine that the Jazz will pull off this feat against the heavily favored Warriors. Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert have played at a high level during this series, but they haven’t gotten enough help from the Jazz’s role players to win any of the first three games. The Warriors haven’t been consistent in this series, but they have enough stars on their team to overcome these inconsistencies. This is a must-win game for the Jazz if they want to keep their season alive.
Horse Racing – The Kentucky Derby:
Always Dreaming was the winner of the 143rd Kentucky Derby. This is the fifth straight year that the favorite has won the Kentucky Derby. The results from the Derby are as follows:
- Always Dreaming
- Lookin At Lee
- Battle of Midway
- Classic Empire
- Practical Joke
- Irish War Cry
- J Boys Echo
- Fast and Accurate
- State of Honor
- Thunder Snow
Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 102-91: The Warriors took a commanding 3-0 series lead against the Jazz in Utah. Kevin Durant was the most dominant player on the floor. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson struggled all game, so Durant picked up the slack and led the Warriors to victory. Steph Curry scored 23 points, but he had an off-night shooting the ball. He shot 6-20 from the field and 3-11 from behind the three point line. The Jazz really missed George Hill in this game. They kept the game close until the fourth quarter, but Durant and Curry were too much to overcome. Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert scored 29 points and 21 points, respectively, but that wasn’t enough to overcome Durant’s performance. The Jazz’s bench only scored 10 points in this game. Utah will try to become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit. These two teams will play game four on Monday in Utah.
Horse Racing – The Kentucky Derby:
The most exciting two minutes in sports will be held at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby has been run every year since 1875. It’s the first leg of the American Triple Crown. The Miles Files will have all of the Kentucky Derby analysis that you’ll ever want!
Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz: The Jazz host the Warriors in a must-win game for Utah. Although they are at home, they’ll be underdogs against the NBA’s best team. The Jazz had flashes of brilliance in the first two games of the series, but they weren’t able to limit Golden State’s runs. There are multiple times in every game that the Warriors go on crazy runs full of three pointers and fast break dunks. Their high-octane offense is hard to stop, so it’ll be a challenge for Utah to slow them down. George Hill missed game two and should be returning for game three. They don’t have any chance of winning this game without him. The Warriors haven’t lost a game this postseason, so Utah will need multiple players to step up. Gordon Hayward is extremely talented, but he cannot win this game by himself. If the Warriors win this game, they’ll have a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Jazz need to play their best game of the season if they want to keep their championship aspirations alive.
Washington Wizards defeat Boston Celtics 116-89: The Wizards defeated the Celtics in a must-win home game to win their first game of this series. After losing the first two games in Boston, the Wizards needed to fight back (I see you Kelly Oubre) against the heavily favored Celtics. All five Wizards starters scored in double figures, led by John Wall’s 24 points. The Wizards’ starters needed some help from their bench, and Bojan Bogdanovic stepped up to the challenge. He scored 19 points on 4-7 shooting from behind the three point line. Isaiah Thomas struggled all game after scoring 53 points in game two. Thomas scored just 13 points on 8 shots. He’ll have to put up more shots in game four if they want to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Washington will need another strong performance to even the series at two games apiece. These two teams will play game four on Sunday in Washington.
Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 115-104: The Warriors defeated the George Hill-less Jazz to take a 2-0 series lead. Draymond Green played another fantastic game, scoring 21 points to go along with his 7 rebounds, six assists, four steals, and stellar defensive effort. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson all played at a high level, but none of them dominated on both ends of the floor like Green. Gordon Hayward bounced back from a disappointing game one to score 33 points on 11-21 shooting from the field. Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 16 rebounds to go along with his stellar defensive play. Utah missed their floor general George Hill in this game, and will need him going forward if they are going to pull off this monumental upset. After a terrible first quarter, the Jazz outscored the Warriors by seven points in the final three quarters. They showed that they can play with the Warriors if they limit their fast break offense. But that’s much easier said than done. These two teams will play game three on Saturday in Utah.
Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards: The Celtics look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead against the Wizards. Since no NBA team has ever won a seven game series after losing the first three games, this is a must-win game for the Wizards. John Wall has been fantastic in the first two games, but he hasn’t gotten much help. He’ll need his backcourt mate Bradley Beal to be more consistent for the rest of this series if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Wizards have one of the worst benches in the NBA, so they’ll have to play above their talent level to defeat the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas has been fantastic all postseason, which has been extremely impressive to watch due to the difficult circumstances affecting his personal life. Thomas has gotten help from him teammates in ways that John Wall hasn’t, which is why the Celtics have a 2-0 series lead. The Wizards need to defend their home court to keep their chances alive of advancing the Eastern Conference Finals.
Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Jazz. Both teams had poor performances in game one, but the Warriors still won the game comfortably. The only chance that the Jazz have of winning against this stacked Warriors team is by playing at a high level during an off night for Golden State. If both teams play at a high level, the Warriors will win convincingly. If both teams struggle, the Warriors will win convincingly. The Jazz have the personnel to give the Warriors fits, but cannot win if Gordon Hayward has another poor performance. George Hill is arguably their most underrated player, and he won’t play because of a toe injury. This is a huge blow to the Jazz. They have enough problems trying to beat Golden State when healthy, so losing a key starter will make this a nearly impossible task. If they are able to even the series without Hill, they should be confident going into game three. If Utah struggles again, Golden State might put the game away in the first half.
Boston Celtics defeat Washington Wizards 129-119 (OT): The Celtics defeated the Wizards in one of the most exciting playoff games in recent memory to take a 2-0 series lead. This was the battle of the point guards, in which Isaiah Thomas and John Wall combined for 93 points. All five Wizards starters scored in double figures, which was impressive because Markieff Morris was playing with a bad ankle sprain. The Wizards were worried that he wouldn’t be able to play. Otto Porter and Bradley Beal scored 13 points and 14 points, respectively. But Wall needed more help from Porter and Bradley. John Wall scored 40 points and had 13 assists, but seemed to tire towards the end of the fourth quarter and overtime. Isaiah Thomas single-handedly led his team to victory by scoring a game-high 53 points. He played his best basketball when his team needed him most – in the fourth quarter and overtime. Thomas didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates, but they did just enough to win the game. These two teams will play game three on Thursday in Washington.
Golden State Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 106-94: The Warriors won the first game of this series at home against the Jazz in a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggests. Neither team played a great game, but the Warriors did enough to maintain a double-digit lead throughout most of the second half. George Hill and Gordon Hayward both struggled with their jump shot. They combined to score 19 points on 7-24 shooting from the field. Rudy Gobert scored a team-high 13 points, which isn’t nearly enough to challenge the heavily favored Warriors. Steph Curry scored a game-high 22 points, but could’ve scored a lot more if the game was close. The Warriors spread out their minutes and points because they had a comfortable lead for the majority of the game. Draymond Green was the best player in the game, dominating on both ends of the floor. These two teams will play game two on Thursday in Oakland.
Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Wizards will look to rebound after losing game one of this series in Boston. After falling behind 16-0, the Celtics were unstoppable offensively in the final three quarters. Both teams have defensive stoppers on their roster, but nobody decided to play defense in the first game. Both teams will try to make adjustments to their defensive strategies, and the team that makes the better adjustments should win game two. Isaiah Thomas was unstoppable for the Celtics, so the Wizards will need to come up with a game plan to limit his impact. Thomas is undersized, so their plan should include being physical with him. The Wizards have one of the best starting units in the NBA, but they’re a very top-heavy team. They’ll need to get more contributions from their bench if they want to pull off this upset. Markieff Morris sprained his ankle in the first game, and may not be able to play in game two. If he does play, it’s safe to assume that his mobility will be limited. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game will determine which team has the home-court advantage in this series.
Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors: The Jazz and Warriors begin their second round playoff series in Oakland. After sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, the Warriors had time to rest heading into this series. Coach Steve Kerr is still sidelined indefinitely because of complications from his back surgery, but Mike Brown has done a stellar job in his absence. Superstar Kevin Durant was injured in their first round series, but he should be fully recovered by now. The Jazz needed seven games to eliminate the Clippers in their first round series. They have dealt with injuries all season, and unfortunately those injury problems have continued in the playoffs. Rudy Gobert missed multiple games with a knee injury, and still seems a bit limited in his movements. Derrick Favors stepped up admirably in his absence, but he’s dealing with nagging injuries too. Even if the Jazz are at full strength, they’ll be heavy underdogs in this series.
Toronto Raptors defeat Milwaukee Bucks 118-93: The Toronto Raptors took a 3-2 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks with a dominating win in game five. The Raptors got off to a fast start and never looked back. The Raptors didn’t get much of a contribution from their bench, but all five of their starters scored in double figures. The “trash bros” backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan played their second consecutive great game, even though Lowry was playing through a back injury. The Raptors were led by Norman Powell, who scored 25 points on 8-11 shooting from the field. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 30 points on 12-19 shooting. He had a great all-around game, but didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates. Khris Middleton had another terrible game. He scored only 8 points and looked out of rhythm throughout the game. Milwaukee needs to win the last two games of the series if they want to advance to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs. These two teams will play game six on Thursday in Milwaukee.
Atlanta Hawks defeat Washington Wizards 111-101: The Hawks defeated the Wizards at home to even the series at two games apiece. Although the Wizards have the better starting unit, all five of the Hawks’ starters scored in double figures. The Hawks also got bench contributions from Kent Bazemore and Jose Calderon. The Wizards were led by their backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, but didn’t get help from the rest of their starters. After a terrible game three, Beal bounced back to lead the Wizards with 32 points. John Wall scored 22 points, but wasn’t as efficient in game four as he was in the first three games of the series. Although the Hawks won both games at home, they are still the underdogs in this series. These two teams will play game five on Wednesday in Washington.
Golden State Warriors defeat Portland Trail Blazers 128-103: The Warriors completed a four game sweep of the Trail Blazers with a convincing win in Portland. The Warriors got off to a fast start by scoring 45 points in the first quarter. Damian Lillard was dominant again for the Trail Blazers, but he didn’t get help from anyone besides Al Farouq Aminu. C.J. McCollum had his worst game of the series, scoring just 6 points on 2-12 shooting from the field. Although this was Kevin Durant’s return game, he only scored 10 points in 20 minutes of play. The Splash Bros picked up the slack by combining for 55 points. The Warriors were playing for coach Steve Kerr, who has missed the last few games because of complications from back surgery. Hopefully he’ll be able to return to coaching during the second round of the playoffs.
Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors: The Bucks and Raptors are playing a pivotal game five in Toronto which will break the 2-2 series tie and give one of these teams an overwhelming advantage to win the series. Although the Raptors are favored to win this game and the series, the Bucks proved they can win in Toronto when they won the first game of the series. The Raptors were outplayed in each of the first three games, but were able to steal game two despite a poor performance from their backcourt. Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have lived up to their “trash bros” nickname during the playoffs, but are still in the driver’s seat to advance to the second round. They both had their first great game of the series in game four, which happened to be the first game that Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled. This game will come down to the two stars for each team. If Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton dominate, the Bucks will win game five. If Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan dominate, the Raptors will win game five. The stars for both teams will be under enormous pressure to help their team win and become overwhelming favorites to advance to the second round to face the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks: The Wizards and Hawks will play a crucial game four in Atlanta that could possibly decide the series. If the Wizards win game four, they’ll take a 3-1 series lead back to Washington. In all likelihood, the Hawks won’t win the series if they lose this game. If the Hawks win game four, they’ll even the series at two games apiece. Either way, the Wizards will still be favored to advance to the second round. John Wall has been fantastic in all three games, but didn’t get any contribution from his teammates in game three. If the Hawks are able to shut down John Wall’s teammates again, they’ll have a great chance of winning this game. If Wall and his teammates are able to play their style of basketball, they Hawks will be in serious trouble. For all intents and purposes, this is a must-win game for the Atlanta Hawks.
Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers: The Warriors look to complete the sweep of the Trail Blazers in Portland. The Warriors have dominated the series, even with superstar Kevin Durant missing games two and three. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have been dominant in two of the three games, but it ultimately hasn’t mattered because they haven’t gotten any help from their teammates. Jusuf Nurkic tried to play in game three and was ineffective. He won’t play in game four and likely won’t return later in the series (if the Trail Blazers win this game). The Splash Bros have been dominant all series, and have gotten large contributions from their teammates to win all three games. Portland will try to become the first team to win a seven game series after losing the first three games, but they probably won’t even win this game. This isn’t a must-win game for the Warriors, but they’d like to win and get some rest. Hopefully they’ll be able to get Durant and coach Steve Kerr back during the playoffs, but they probably won’t need either of them to advance past Portland to the second round.
Toronto Raptors defeat Milwaukee Bucks 87-76: The Raptors defeated the Bucks in a defensive struggle that evened the series at two games apiece. The Raptors were able to regain the home-court advantage by shutting down Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Khris Middleton also struggled with his shot all game, which caused the Bucks to lean on their role players. Tony Snell was their best player all game, but he doesn’t have the talent of Antetokounmpo or Middleton to lead the Bucks to victory. Both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry had a great game for the Raptors. This was the first game in the series that both of their stars showed up. These two teams will play game five on Monday in Toronto.
Atlanta Hawks defeat Washington Wizards 116-98: The Hawks dominated the Wizards to win their first game of the series. They outscored the Wizards 38-20 in the first quarter and never looked back. Dennis Schroder, Paul Millsap, and Taurean Prince all had huge games for the Hawks. The Wizards were switching every pick and roll all game long, which ended up being a failed strategy. The Hawks were attacking the mismatches and scored at will. The Wizards’ starting unit struggled all game. John Wall was fantastic again, but didn’t get any help from the other four starters. Wall had the highlight of the game when he went coast-to-coast and dribbled the ball behind his back before dunking on Kent Bazemore. That was the only highlight of the game for Washington. These two teams will play game four on Monday in Atlanta.
Memphis Grizzlies defeat San Antonio Spurs 110-108 (OT): In the most exciting game of the playoffs, the Grizzlies defeated the Spurs in overtime on a last-second shot by Marc Gasol. The final few minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime were absolutely fantastic. This is what playoff basketball is all about. Kawhi Leonard was the best player on the floor and made his case for being the league’s MVP (although it is a regular season award). He hit multiple clutch shots in the final minutes to send it to overtime. A few times I caught myself calling him Kobe because his performance was mamba-esque. He led all scorers with 43 points and played fantastic defense all game long. Mike Conley played like a superstar point guard. He hit clutch shots down the stretch and helped rally his team when it seemed like Leonard was going to win the game singlehandedly. After Leonard hit a game tying shot in the final seconds of overtime, Marc Gasol put in an ugly looking game-winning shot with a second remaining. These two teams will play game five on Tuesday in San Antonio.
Golden State Warriors defeat Portland Trail Blazers 119-113: In a game that the Warriors were missing star Kevin Durant and coach Steve Kerr, Golden State took a commanding 3-0 lead in this series. The Trail Blazers got off to a fast start with a 67-54 halftime lead. But the Warriors came out in the second half and dominated to get the victory. Klay Thompson took over the third quarter by hitting multiple threes. The Warriors started getting stops defensively, which fueled their fast break offense. The Warriors have won both games without Kevin Durant, which shows how dominant of a team they are. Portland’s star backcourt put in a combined 63 points, but they were not enough to defeat the heavily favored Warriors. These two teams will play game four on Monday in Portland.
Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks: After a pathetic showing in game three, the Raptors will look to bounce back and even the series at two games apiece. The Raptors cannot afford to go down 3-1 in the series, even though they are the more talented team and have the potential to win three straight games against the Bucks. The problem with this Raptors team is their confidence. If they go down 3-1 in this series, they’ll have to win despite being a perennial playoff underachiever. They added Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline, which will end up being a huge waste if they don’t make it out of the first round (especially if both leave in free agency). The Bucks have outplayed the Raptors in all three games of this series. With this game being in front of their home crowd, they have a good chance of taking a commanding lead in this series. The winner of this game will be huge favorites to advance to the second round.
Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks are playing the Wizards at home in a must-win game. After losing both games in Washington, the Hawks cannot afford to go down 3-0 in this series. They’ve been competitive in the first three quarters of both games, but have struggled to close in the fourth quarter. John Wall has been the best player on the floor in both games. The Hawks don’t have a player that can stop him, so they’ll have to collectively try to limit his impact. The Wizards have the much more talented starting lineup, so the Hawks will need their bench players to rise to the occasion if they want to stay competitive in this series
San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies: After a convincing win in game three, the Grizzlies can even the series at home against the Spurs. After game two, the Grizzlies’ coach was critical of the referees. Although they won game three, the Spurs still received more foul calls than the Grizzlies. But that didn’t matter, because coach David Fizdale got his point across. He wanted his team to realize that they shouldn’t change their game plan because of how the refs were calling the game. The Grizzlies are a tough and aggressive team, and they cannot afford to stray from that style of basketball because they aren’t getting calls. Fizdale moved Zach Randolph into the starting lineup, which ended up being a fantastic decision. Although this game is extremely important for the Grizzlies, the Spurs will still be the favorites to win the series no matter who wins this game.
Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers: The Trail Blazers return home to Portland in this must-win game against the heavily favored Warriors. After an embarrassing loss in game two, the Trail Blazers’ star backcourt needs to bounce back and lead their team to victory. With Kevin Durant missing game two, the Trail Blazers had their best chance to steal a road game from the Warriors. The Warriors will be heavy favorites to advance no matter what happens in this game. Durant may miss this game too, which likely won’t end up mattering. Portland needs to win four straight games to make Damian Lillard’s “Trail Blazers in 6” prediction come true. If Lillard doesn’t have a stellar game tonight, the Warriors will take a commanding 3-0 lead in this series.
Washington Wizards defeat Atlanta Hawks 109-101: The Wizards defeated the Hawks in a back-and-forth game by dominating in the finals minutes of the fourth quarter. After an evenly matched first quarter, the Wizards dominated the second quarter to take a seven point lead at halftime. The Hawks dominated the third quarter to take the lead back before getting dominated in the fourth quarter. Although the back-and-forth style of game was exciting, it was ruined by the referees. It’s a common theme in the playoffs to see refs taking over the games, and it’s so damn embarrassing to watch. It seemed like the refs were calling fouls on every possession. Nobody paid money to watch you ref, we all want to see the players decide the game on the court. Luckily, the Wizards were the better team on the court and deserved to win. John Wall and Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 32 points and 31 points, respectively. Now that the Hawks are down 0-2 in the series, they’ll need to win game three in Atlanta. Neither of these next two games are must-win games for the Hawks, but they’ll have to dig themselves out of a serious hole if they aren’t able to even the series before heading back to Washington for game five. These two teams will play game three on Saturday in Atlanta.
Houston Rockets defeat Oklahoma City Thunder 115-111: The Thunder looked poised to steal this game on the road through three quarters, but weren’t able to hold on in the fourth quarter. The Rockets were able to get contributions from their role players, which is something that plagued the Thunder in this game. This was an issue partly due to Russell Westbrook’s “hero ball” that he played towards the end of the fourth quarter. He decided that he’d take over the game, but was missing a bunch of contested jumpers. His shot selection has always been an issue, and it plagued his team down the stretch when he went cold. But it’s hard to blame a guy who scored 51 points to go along with his 13 assists and 10 rebounds. This was the highest scoring triple-double in NBA playoff history. But these stats can be misleading. Westbrook shot an abysmal 17-43 from the field. Although he struggled down the stretch, the Rockets’ ability to make shots in crunch time was the most important deciding factor of this game. James Harden led the Rockets with 35 points, but he struggled shooting from the field. He scored 18 points from the free throw line. He was able to contribute in other ways and was uplifted by his teammates’ contributions. The Thunder return to Oklahoma City down 0-2, and they’ll need to win these two home games if they want to get back in the series. These two teams will play game three on Sunday in Oklahoma City.
Golden State Warriors defeat Portland Trail Blazers 110-81: In a game that the Warriors had to play without superstar Kevin Durant, the Trail Blazers came up flat when they had their best chance to steal a game on the road. If the Trail Blazers can’t win this game on the road, they don’t have any chance of winning on the road in this series. Portland was able to keep the first game competitive, so they should’ve had some confidence going into this game. Knowing that Durant wasn’t going to play should’ve made life easier, but the Trail Blazers fell flat on their faces. The star backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were incredible in game one, and they were incredibly bad in game two. They combined for 23 points, which is basically how many points each scored by halftime of game one. The Trail Blazers need to win both games at home to have a chance of winning the series, but that looks extremely unlikely. Damian Lillard’s prediction of winning the series in six games looks foolish now. They’ll probably end up getting swept. These two teams will play game three on Saturday in Portland.
Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards: The Hawks and Wizards will play game two of this series in Washington before heading to Atlanta. The Wizards were able to win game one at home thanks to a dominating third quarter. The Wizards are the favorites in this series, and are the much more talented team. John Wall was the best player on the floor in game one, and should be able to dominate again against a Hawks team that doesn’t have an elite defender to slow him down. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but whatever team wins this game will have the advantage in the series before heading to Atlanta.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets: After a dominating win in game one, the Rockets will try to keep the home-court advantage in this series before heading to Oklahoma City. The Thunder were completely outclassed in the first game. Russell Westbrook was outplayed by fellow MVP candidate James Harden, and the Rockets’ supporting cast outplayed the Thunder’s supporting cast. Westbrook is the star of the Thunder, and he doesn’t have much help surrounding him. He’ll need a herculean performance if they want to even the series before heading home to Oklahoma City.
Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors: The Warriors look to take a 2-0 series lead before heading on the road to Portland. The Trail Blazers kept the game close through three quarters due to their backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The Trail Blazers’ stars were dominant all game, but they didn’t get any help from their supporting cast. The Warriors have a lot more depth than the Trail Blazers, and got contributions from everyone that stepped on the floor. Draymond Green was the best player in game one, dominating on both ends of the floor. Kevin Durant is probably going to miss this game, which will give the Trail Blazers a better chance of winning. But even without Durant, the Warriors are one of the best teams in the NBA. With Durant’s injury, this becomes a must-win game for the Trail Blazers. If they cannot win this game, they don’t have a chance of winning any games in Golden State (and therefore can’t win the series because they don’t have the home-court advantage). The Trail Blazers need to even up this series otherwise they’ll make Damian Lillard’s prediction of winning in six games look like a bad joke.
Washington Wizards defeat Atlanta Hawks 114-107: The Wizards and Hawks played a tight game until the third quarter when the Wizards pulled away. All five starters for the Wizards were in double figures, which was a common theme this year. The Wizards’ starters played more minutes than any starting unit in the NBA. Teams typically play their bench less minutes in the playoffs, which should be an advantage for the top-heavy Wizards. But they could get worn out if their bench doesn’t give them any help. John Wall was the star of the game with 32 points and 14 assists. The Hawks’ starters didn’t play well enough to give them a chance. Their bench outplayed the Wizards’ bench, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to make a big enough impact on the game. These two teams will play game two on Wednesday in Washington.
Golden State Warriors defeat Portland Trail Blazers 121-109: The Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Trail Blazers in game one at home. The game was incredibly close through three quarters because of the scoring output of the Trail Blazers’ backcourt. C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard combined for 75 of Portland’s 109 points, but that wasn’t enough to defeat the heavily favored Warriors. Draymond Green was phenomenal on both ends of the floor. He had 19 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 blocks, and 3 steals. The Warriors have too much firepower for McCollum and Lillard to beat them singlehandedly. The Trail Blazers need other players to step up. If Jusuf Nurkic isn’t able to return during this series, the Blazers could be in serious trouble. Game two will be played on Wednesday in Golden State.
Chicago Bulls defeat Boston Celtics 106-102: The Chicago Bulls pulled off the upset on the road in game one of this series. The Bulls have the best player in the series in Jimmy Butler, who went off for thirty points. The Bulls also have two former champions in Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo who can provide valuable leadership. Bobby Portis was a major contributor off the bench with 19 points. Isaiah Thomas played a fantastic game just one day after the tragic death of his younger sister. Nobody knew if he would play going into the game, and nobody would’ve blamed him if he decided to sit the game out. Instead, he battle hard and led his team with 33 points. But the Celtics didn’t get enough of a contribution from the other starters. These two teams will play game two on Tuesday in Boston.
Houston Rockets defeat Oklahoma City Thunder 118-87: In the game that most NBA fans looked forward to more than any other playoff game, the Rockets dominated the Thunder in a game that wasn’t close after halftime. If this game was the deciding factor on who should win the MVP award (which it won’t be), James Harden would be walking away with the trophy. Russell Westbrook had a nice game with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists, but that isn’t up to the level he played at during the season. He also had 9 turnovers and was forcing up bad shots at times. James Harden scored a game-high 37 points, to go along with his 9 assists and 7 rebounds. His teammates also gave him more help than Westbrook’s teammates, which was a common theme throughout the season. Harden’s Rockets are a more talented team, which is why they are favored in this series. Russell Westbrook has to do everything for the Thunder if they want to win, which is something that he’s capable of doing at times. These teams will play game two on Wednesday in Houston.
Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards: The Hawks and Wizards will meet in Washington for game one of this first round playoff series. The Hawks are one of the hottest teams in the NBA during the last few weeks of the season, which could give them confidence heading into this series. The Wizards struggled a bit during the regular season’s last month, but are the more talented team in this matchup. The Wizards played their starters more than any team in the league, which could lead to them being worn out during this postseason run. Their bench is an issue, but teams typically play their bench fewer minutes in the playoffs. They definitely have the talent advantage over the Hawks, but Atlanta has enough firepower to keep the series close. Game one will be crucial in both teams’ efforts to advance to the second round.
Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors: The Trail Blazers and Warriors will meet in Golden State for game one of this first round playoff series. The Trail Blazers are one of the hottest teams heading into the playoffs. They are led by the duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. This backcourt is as talented as any in the NBA. After the addition of center Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers started playing up to their potential. Nurkic suffered an injury and may miss the series, which could be detrimental to their chances of pulling off the upset over the heavily favored Warriors. Golden State didn’t win as many games as last season, but they are a much more talented team because of the addition of superstar Kevin Durant. Lillard predicted the Trail Blazers would win the series in six games, so he’ll need to help his team pull off the upset in game one if he wants to make his prediction come true.
Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics: The Bulls and Celtics will meet in Boston for game one of this first round playoff series. The Celtics were able to take the number one seed after the Cleveland Cavaliers stopped trying to win during the last few games of the season. The Celtics have a lot of talent on both sides of the floor. Isaiah Thomas has been one of the best players in the league all season, and could take over the series if Chicago isn’t able to limit his impact. The Bulls are one of the most confusing teams in the league. They have the best player in this series in Jimmy Butler, and have playoff veterans in Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. The Bulls have the talent to beat the Celtics, but they’ve underachieved all season. This is an interesting 1-8 matchup, and it could be closer than most first round series that include the top seed.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets: The Thunder and Rockets will meet in Houston for game one of this first round playoff series. This is a dream matchup for all fans of basketball. Not only are Russell Westbrook and James Harden competing for the MVP, but they’re facing each other in the first round of the playoffs. These two MVP candidates were once teammates, but they weren’t even the best player on that team. The Thunder have been led by Russell Westbrook’s historic season. The Rockets are one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. Coach Mike D’Antoni brought his fast-paced style of basketball to Houston, and it has been run to perfection due to James Harden’s ability to adapt. He was a shooting guard before this season, but Harden has changed his game to become a point guard in D’Antoni’s system. These two teams are led by superstars, but Houston is the favorite because they have more talent around their superstar. This series will be must-see TV.
Miami Heat defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 124-121 (OT): For the second straight day, the Cleveland Cavaliers blew a fourth quarter lead before losing in overtime. This game was a lot different than Sunday’s loss against the Atlanta Hawks. The Cavaliers were tied with the Boston Celtics with the best record in the Eastern Conference before yesterday’s game, but decided to bench LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. If they didn’t rest their stars, the Cavaliers would’ve won and would likely be the top seed. But for some reason the struggling Cavaliers thought it was more important to rest their starters than try and gain home-court advantage. They dominated the Boston Celtics in Boston the last time they played, so it seems like they don’t believe they need home-court advantage to make it to the NBA finals. The Heat had to win this game in order to stay in playoff contention after both the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls won earlier in the day. The Heat need to win their last game and have the Bulls lose to make the postseason as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Milwaukee Bucks defeat Charlotte Hornets 89-79: The Milwaukee Bucks won their last home game of the season against the Hornets behind Giannis Antetokounmpo’s triple-double. With the Hornets having nothing to play for, this was a game that the Bucks couldn’t afford to lose. The Bucks are now a half game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the fifth seed and one game ahead of the Indiana Pacers for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. The last game for Milwaukee will be against the Boston Celtics, who currently have a one game lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. This will be a pivotal game for both teams.
Los Angeles Clippers defeat Houston Rockets 125-96: In a game that meant nothing to the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Clippers won in convincing fashion to stay in fourth place in the Western Conference. The Rockets already have the third seed locked up, so coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t play their key players their usual minutes. The Clippers were tied with the Utah Jazz heading into today’s game, but owned the tiebreaker over Utah. They will play each other in the first round of the playoffs, but the last game will decide which team will get home-court advantage.
Utah Jazz defeat Golden State Warriors 105-99: The Utah Jazz won against the NBA’s best team without their star player. Gordon Hayward didn’t play yesterday, but that didn’t stop the Jazz from pulling out the victory. Klay Thompson didn’t play for the Warriors either, but Hayward is a more important piece for the Jazz than Thompson is for the Warriors. The Warriors have already clinched the number one seed in the Western Conference, so this game was meaningless to them. With this victory, the Jazz kept pace with the Clippers after they defeated the Houston Rockets. With one game remaining for the Jazz and Clippers, Utah needs to win and have the Clippers lose in order to jump them in the standings. If both teams win or lose, then the Clippers will have home-court advantage over the Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat: The Cavaliers look to rebound after yesterday’s debacle in Atlanta. They are currently tied with the Boston Celtics for the best record in the Eastern Conference, but own the tiebreaker over Boston. The Miami Heat are tied with the eighth seeded Chicago Bulls but wouldn’t make the playoffs if they started today. Since the Bulls own the tiebreaker, the Heat will likely need to win their last two games to make the postseason. This is an extremely important game for both teams.
Charlotte Hornets at Milwaukee Bucks: This is an important game for the Milwaukee Bucks. The Hornets have already been eliminated from playoff contention, but are a talented team that many expected to make a postseason run before the season started. The Bucks cannot take these Hornets lightly. Milwaukee is currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. They are one game behind the fifth seeded Atlanta Hawks and one game ahead of the seventh seeded Indiana Pacers.
Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers (TNT): The Houston Rockets have already locked up the third seed in the Western Conference and will face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. The Rockets may decide to sit their starters for their final two games. The Clippers do not have that luxury. Los Angeles is currently in fourth place in the Western Conference with two games remaining on their schedule. They are tied with the fifth seeded Utah Jazz, but own the tiebreaker over Utah. They will face each other in the first round of the playoffs, and these last two games will determine which team will get the home-court advantage.
Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors: The Golden State Warriors have already locked up the number one seed in the Western Conference and will play the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs. The Utah Jazz are currently in fifth place in the Western Conference with two games remaining on their schedule. They are tied with the fourth seeded Los Angeles Clippers, but do not own the tiebreaker. They’ll face the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, but will have to end the season with the better record if they want home-court advantage in the first round.