When the regular NBA season ended on Wednesday, April 10, anticipations were running high in the air for the Playoffs—the best-of-seven elimination series, held annually, among sixteen teams of both Western and Eastern Conferences to figure out the league’s ultimate champion. This star-studded event has been underway since April 13 and nearing the semi-finals at the end of this week. Surprisingly, this year, the Playoffs have taken place without the involvement of LeBron James, a participant in the past thirteen seasons and straight eight-times finalist. Regardless of that, you can sense the NBA fan corridor abuzz with activity around this week’s games between the seeded teams. Who’s been defeated and who’s still fighting? Check out the highlights below.
FYI, you can catch these Playoff round games on four cable channels (ESPN, NBA TV, ABC, and TNT), or you can stream them online over watchESPN.com and some such streaming site for a more time-flexible play. The only requirement, in the latter case, would be a strong internet connection, like the one offered in Internet packages and bundle deals. Now, continue checking out this week’s Playoff highlights.
Celtics vs Pacers (April 21)
First round on the Eastern front showed a clean sweep victory by Boston Celtics 110-106 against Indiana Pacers. Though initially succeeding with a 21-23 score, the Pacers saw an odd turn of events with the Flagrant 1 Foul ouster of their guard, Cory James. This is when Boston powered up behind its group of polished veterans and finished the job. With 6:45 left on the clock, Tatum made free throws, giving the Celtics an 83-82 lead. Upon the next possession, Horford made a free throw, Morris knocked a three, and Hayward did a three-point play to push Boston to 90-80 with 4:15 on the dial. The next three-plus minutes showed Hayward and Morris undertaking three more 3s giving Boston a 102-90 lead with only 1:04 left. Even when Bogdanovic and Evans from the Pacers made final salvaging shots, they still couldn’t save the game, and Sunday saw Celtics closing up with its first 4-0 victory in 8 years.
Bucks vs Pistons (April 22)
For the first time since 2001, the Milwaukee Bucks can be seen advancing towards the second round of the Playoffs after a pronouncing victory over the Detroit Pistons this Monday—a nice 127-104 overall score! The game began with Detroit in the lead and R. Jackson scoring 20 out of 26 points during the first half. Then, the tables turned in favor of the Bucks as Griffin fouled out at 7:06, and Antetokounmpo scored one free throw after another, totaling to a 16 in that particular quarter. Though the Pistons covered 62-56 at halftime, they still couldn’t stand a chance against the Bucks, who took the game home by a total of 95 points.
76ers vs Nets (April 23)
Two words: constant dominance. That’s exactly what the Philadelphia Sixers exhibited in the Tuesday Playoff at Wells Fargo Centre against the Brooklyn Nets. Scoring the first fourteen points of the game, the Sixers didn’t let the drowning Nets resurface even once during the 122-100 playout. The first half positioned the two competing teams at 31-2, where the team was given a standing ovation as they headed into the locker room. Embiid and Simmons stole the show with their thunderous moves, where the former scored 23 points and 13 rebounds in just under twenty minutes during the fourth game, and the latter finished with 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 13 points in almost half an hour. Though the Russel-Dinwiddie duo of the Nets was expected to give a thunderous competition to Philadelphia, yet nothing uproarious came from them. So, Sixers gave the best starter offensive and took the game home.
Clippers vs Warriors (April 24)
Defeating a two-time champion team at its own game is no easy feat, yet the Los Angeles Clippers brought an extraordinary vigor to the Arena against the Golden State Warriors and came out victorious with a 129-121 close score. Key moments for the Clippers included the fadeaway jumper by Lou Williams at 1:29, who scored 33 points and 10 assists, saving the Los Angeles some grace after the clanked shots in the second half. The big charge by Patrick Beverly against Klay Thompson at 1:40, scoring 17 points and 14 rebounds, setting a powerful tone. The authority shots of Danilo Gallinari, adding 17 points and 26 rebounds, stymying the Warriors comeback and taking LAC into the next round.
Nuggets vs Spurs (April 25)
Predictors give the Denver Nuggets about 84% chance of becoming victorious over San Antonio Spurs at today’s game, as they’re seen to lead the series by 3-2. If the Nuggets do succeed, this will be their 3rd consecutive win, taking them into the second round of the Playoffs. In the meanwhile, let’s see what happens.
So, overall, we have the Clippers, Bucks, Sixers, Rockets, Warriors, T.Blazers, Raptors, Celtics, Raptors and Sixers still running in the game. Each battling on the terrain of elite basketball to come out on top, and become the ultimate Playoff champion.