The seeding games have been completed, and the playoff field is now set.
After Portland’s thrilling finish to the regular season, barely holding on to defeat Brooklyn to make the play in, they managed to once again claw their way to victory late against a hungry Memphis Grizzlies team.
CJ McCollum was incredible down the stretch, and Carmelo Anthony put the icing on the cake, with a 3 in the corner to give them a 6 point lead and 20 seconds left to all but send Memphis packing.
Looking ahead now to each match up, there should be some absolute belters coming up!
Milwaukee (1) v Orlando (8):
Blink and you’ll miss it. With all due respect to the Orlando Magic, Milwaukee will not be wasting any time with this match up knowing what is ahead for them.
Giannis won’t be in the mood for playing around in this contest, and after losing his cool against the Wizards with a suspension, he will be looking to make it up to his teammates and get this team back on the right track for Championship glory.
Toronto (2) v Brooklyn (7):
Most would think this is just going to be a walk in the park for Toronto. Wrong. It’s hard not to be impressed with how this Brooklyn team has played without so many of
their big names. Caris LeVert has been a stud in the bubble, and you wouldn’t be shocked if this team can get a game or 2 in this series.
Knowing Toronto will more than likely have Boston in their next matchup, they, like Milwaukee, will not be taking the foot off the gas and will want to finish this one as quickly as possible. They’ll just have to work a little harder for it than the Bucks will.
Boston (3) v Philadelphia (6):
This had 7 games written all over it prior to Ben Simmons going down with a season-ending injury.
Boston are now starting to get healthy, and any of their big 4 can go off at any moment. It almost makes this too tall of a task for an extremely inconsistent Philadelphia team. Joel Embiid is going to have to go for 30+ a night to give them any shot at being competitive in this round.
Additionally, Tobias Harris was paid an exorbitant amount in the offseason, and his matchup against the likes of Tatum and Brown may go a long way to telling us if they made the right decision in paying him over Jimmy Butler.
Indiana (4) v Miami (5):
This is going to be a sneaky good series. Miami has been impressive in the bubble, and with Jimmy fairly well-rested, they’ll have a good feeling going into this series.
TJ Warren had been the talk of the bubble in the first week, but running into Jimmy Butler in the 2nd week quickly stopped that. He sat out the last couple of games with a foot injury, so it’ll be interesting to see if Bubble TJ gets his mojo back in time to help this Indiana team create upset over the favoured Heat outfit.
LA Lakers (1) v Portland (8):
The Lakers had a longer wait than most other teams to learn who they’d be facing. They had the 1 seed wrapped up earlier on in the bubble, and have been fairly lackluster since. Their opponent, on the other hand, has been playoff-ready from the get-go. Portland were in must-win mode as soon as they entered the bubble and not one of their wins were wrapped up before the closing minutes (or seconds for that matter).
This isn’t your typical 1 v 8 match up. Portland have dealt with injuries all season long, and this is the last team the Lakers wanted to match up against, given at full strength, this Blazers roster is a top 4 outfit in the West.
LeBron and AD v Dame and CJ. Sign me up!
LA Clippers (2) v Dallas (7):
The playoff debut of Luka Doncic. This series should be fairly entertaining, even if it only lasts for 4-5 games.Dallas can score the ball, but can they get enough stops to keep this a series…the answer is simply no.
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard will mean business in this series, and there’s every chance either will want to step up and take the young Mavs Phenom out of his rhythm and welcome him to playoff basketball.
Denver (3) v Utah (6):
The news this morning of Mike Conley having to leave the bubble for the birth of his newborn son has shifted this series in favour of Denver. Conley may miss the first game or 2, and in a fairly even contest, giving an opponent an advantage early on in a series is huge.
We’ve seen in the past how heavy a load it’s had on Donovan Mitchell being the primary source of offence, and now not having his running buddy with him for the opening stages of this series may just be the final nail in the Jazz season.
Like Portland, at full health, this Utah team is dangerous (already missing Bojan Bogdanovic), so it’s going to take something special from them to steal a game or 2 in Conley’s absence against the likes of Jokic, Murray and the rising star Michael Porter Jr.
OKC (4) v Houston (5):
There’s slightly more at stake in this game than just a meeting with the Lakers/Blazers. CP3 was dealt to OKC at the beginning of the season for Russell Westbrook, so there is going to be a little feeling in this series.
Westbrook is expected to miss the opening stages of this series, so if there was ever a chance for a Thunder team to jump at the opportunity, now is the time!
Luckily enough for Houston, James Harden is still around to carry the load, however, he'll be getting a lot of attention from a tough old school OKC defence. The role players for the Rockets will have to be ready to go, as they may be getting a lot of open looks early on in this series!
Which match up are you looking forward to the most? Let me know in the comments below 🏀