NBA Playoffs and the Long Weekend. Name a better duo I’ll wait…
We have ourselves a mouth-watering weekend of NBA Playoff Hoops and it all kicks off with our very own Ben Simmons and his Philadelphia 76ers looking to take back home court with a win in Atlanta.
Atlanta v Philadelphia Game 3 (Series Tied 1-1).
Atlanta have battled hard in the opening 2 games of this series, giving Philly an almighty scare in Game 2 and looked to take a 2-0 lead going back home to Atlanta.
Enter Shake Milton.
Milton was huge in Game 2 for Philly, and has got himself back into the rotation with a stellar display to give his team a big win and grab momentum back in this series.
Joel Embiid has been nothing short of dominant in a series he was meant to do things a little tougher, being guarded by one of the best defensive centres in the game in Clint Capela.
Embiid posted 40 Points along with 13 Rebounds in Game 2, and he will look to continually stamp his authority and deliver a win over the Hawks in Game 3.
The Hawks will need Trae Young to get back on track at home, after their star guard was held to 21 points (1-7 from 3).
Atlanta had a raucous home crowd in their series against the Knicks, and they’ll need that in droves against the heavily favoured 76ers over the next 2 games!
Denver v Phoenix Game 3 (Phoenix Lead 2-0).
Speaking of raucous home crowds, Phoenix has had their building absolutely rocking, as they delivered 2 huge home wins against the MVP-led Denver Nuggets.
Devin Booker and Chris Paul have been on another level in this series, with CP3 “The Point GOD” showing us why he will go down as one of the very best PGs of all time.
CP3 went for 17 Points and 15 Assists. Good numbers some would say. ZERO TURNOVERS!
With their floor general looking after the pill in this fashion, it’s hard for the Nuggets to get out and run a whole lot, which gives this great Phoenix defence a chance to set and play them in the half court.
Speaking of tough home courts, there’s none tougher than playing at altitude in Denver, and this crowd will be ready to go, as Nikola Jokic will be receiving his MVP Award before opening tip.
The Nuggets may get this next one at home, but there’s no doubt they look out of their depth in this series.
Given the cards they’ve been dealt with all their injuries, you can’t exactly blame them.
Austin Rivers and Facundo Campazzo are their starting back court in the playoffs. With all due respect to them, they’re no match for Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
The fact they got this far (and overcame a potent Blazers offence) is a great enough effort in itself.
It’ll take a Nikola Jokic masterclass to win this series!
LA Clippers v Utah (Utah leads 2-0)
This was a series that had 7 games written all over it, and so far I’ve seen nothing that could prove that wrong.
Utah’s home court is incredibly loud, and they’ve willed their team to two big wins without their All-Star point guard (Mike Conley).
Donovan Mitchell has been phenomenal, going off for 37 points in Game 2, but was seen hobbling late in the game after a hit by Paul George.
One to watch in Game 3 for sure!
Speaking of Aussies, Joe Ingles has been brilliant in the opening two games of the series without Conley, having a cool head in late game situations, and came up huge down the stretch in Game 2, posting 19 Points of his own.
Utah’s other two award winners, Rudy Gobert and Jordan Clarkson, have showed us why they were awarded for their great regular seasons.
Rudy made a huge play defensively to end game 1 (whilst also going for 13 pts and 20 rbs in Game 2), and Clarkson giving Utah a huge push off the bench scoring 24 points of his own!
The Clippers will need Kawhi to lift at home, as their superstar has looked fatigued in the opening 2 games of this series, coming off a gruelling come from behind series win against Dallas.
Kawhi carried the Clippers in their round 1 series win, so it’s time for Paul George to step up to the plate and play like the superstar he’s been known to be and get this series back on level pegging heading back to Utah!
Milwaukee v Brooklyn Game 4 (Brooklyn leads 2-1)
If you’re an early riser like me on Monday morning, set your alarm for this one tipping off at 5am!
Milwaukee got a very scrappy win in Game 3, but that’s all they needed as a W is a W!
The Bucks jumped the Nets from the get go but went into a hole midway through the game, as the Bucks couldn’t get anything going on offence other than Giannis and Middleton.
It was Jrue Holiday who made the go ahead bucket, with a brilliant spin move to the baseline, saving face for a Bucks team who once led by as much as 21 points in the opening term.
KD was at his brilliant best late in the game to almost steal it for the Nets, going for 30 Points and 11 Rebounds (11-28 from the field), but he’ll need a little more help from his shooters in Game 4, in particular Joe Harris (1-11 from the field).
More concerning for the Bucks, KD, Kyrie and Harris combined for 21-61 from the field to only lose by 3 (and have a shot to tie it at the buzzer).
If James Harden is added to the mix, it could be good night for Milwaukee if they can’t capitalise on poor shooting nights from the Nets stars, and their own box score themselves is comical enough (Giannis 35, Middleton 33) next best Holiday with 9!
Giannis needs his team mates to knock down shots, as once again in Game 3 (particularly after the first qtr) the paint was clogged and became far too predictable guarding the Bucks superstar!
Monday also gives us Game 4 of the Denver Phoenix series.
Enjoy the long weekend, stretch out on the couch and watch some quality hoops!