NBA Playoff Recaps: Teams Hope for Great Start to Season 

NBA Playoff Bracket./Courtesy of CBS Sports

By Sean Markisic 


    The second round of the NBA playoffs is officially underway, and there are plenty of teams going head-to-head to win the NBA Championship. The second round started on Saturday, May 5. The playoffs started with sixteen teams and are now down to eight: four from the Eastern Conference and four from the Western Conference. When the NBA finals start in June, it will be an Eastern team against a Western team. All NBA playoff matchups are played in a best of seven series. 

     To recap the first-round action in the Eastern Conference: the Knicks defeated the Sixers in six games, the Pacers defeated the Bucks in six games, the Celtics defeated the Heat in five games, and the Cavaliers defeated the Magic in seven games. 

   In the Western Conference, the Nuggets defeated the Lakers in five games, Timberwolves defeated the Suns in four games, the Mavericks defeated the Clippers in six games, and the Thunder had an impressive series against the Pelicans, winning in only four games. Lots of star players from the remaining teams are still relatively young, and each believes their team can go on to win the championship.  

   In round two, the Denver Nuggets played the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves started the series by completely dominating the Nuggets on both sides of the court. The advantage for the Timberwolves was set by their young star Anthony Edwards, who scored a total of 70 points in the first two games. Other Timberwolves stars like Jaden McDaniels and Rudy Gobert led on the defense, completely taking Denver out of their element. 

   The Nuggets are well known for their ability to make in-game adjustments on the fly, but in the first two games, all of Denver’s attempts were immediately shut down by Minnesota. The Nuggets won the championship last season, and Minnesota is throwing everything their way to ensure Denver will not win the championship back-to-back. 

   In the second-round of the Western Conference series, the Oklahoma City Thunder played three games against the Dallas Mavericks, and Dallas held a 2-1 series lead. Both of these teams score at a high level; however, both teams play at different paces. In the first game, the Thunder moved up and down the court quickly, aiming for open shots. 

   Dallas wasn’t prepared for that style of play, as their star player Luka Doncic slowed the game down for himself and played in the half-court. Doncic was able to play in the half-court in the second game, getting others involved, such as players Tim Hardaway Jr and Daniel Gafford. Doncic’s co-star Kyrie Irving was effective in the second game as well, which led to a winning formula for Dallas. They were able to tie the series at one apiece, heading into the third game in Dallas. 

   Over in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics sought for a win in game one as they played in their comfort zone, characterized by constant movement on the offense. This generated three-pointers all game, which subsisted them throughout the season. 

   In game two, the Celtics played against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Boston’s method proved to be inefficient during this game, and Cleveland’s best player Donovan Mitchell took advantage of Boston’s poor defensive effort by scoring 26 points in the second half. The series was tied at one game apiece as they headed into game three in Cleveland.

      The New York Knicks led 2-1 over the Indiana Pacers and were led by their star point guard Jalen Brunson, who put up five 40-point games in this postseason alone. The Knicks have other good players, such as Donte DiVincenzo, who is a lethal three-point shooter, and Josh Hart, who is crucial to the game. 

   The Indiana Pacers are a team that plays fast and shoots a lot of three-pointers, a strategy that has been highly effective for them thus far. All three games have gone down to the wire, and have seen great offense played by both teams. 

   The NBA playoffs are going by quickly, and before fans know it, the NBA finals will begin on Thursday, June 6.

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