The second spherical of the NBA playoffs was hyped as much as be one of the vital entertaining we’ve had in years. Thus far, they haven’t fallen in need of expectations. We knew that Houston and Los Angeles’ battle of reverse philosophies would make for some twists and turns. We knew that Boston and Toronto would duke it out in an Atlantic Division showdown. We knew that Miami would push Milwaukee to new heights. We didn’t actually know if the Nuggets would give the Clippers an excellent collection, however the truth that they’ve up to now has made an intense postseason all of the extra gripping.
Anyway, in the present day we’re getting two video games from two collection in utterly reverse locations. The Lakers and the Rockets will face off for the collection lead, whereas the HEAT will attempt to end off the Bucks as soon as and for all. Beneath, we’re going to give attention to two groups who’ve a person star that both could also be extra flawed than we thought or one which is probably not as flawed as we thought.
Bucks vs. HEAT: Giannis is nice and all, however…
All of us just about knew this was going to be an excellent collection. We didn’t anticipate this.
The excitement surrounding Bucks v. HEAT was that Miami was going to make Milwaukee earn each win they received on this collection. If that was the plan, then Miami has failed miserably, as a result of till Khris Middleton went supernova on them on Sunday, Milwaukee had come up terribly brief.
Let’s first give Miami the credit score that they’re due and extra. With Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler alone, Miami was going to be a tricky matchup for Milwaukee – however to see the Bucks all however roll over on this collection is an disagreeable sight. Buying Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala has paid enormous dividends and it’s displaying. There are different components concerned, however Miami’s defensive efforts have restricted Giannis to 21.8 factors a sport and that’s performed a task within the HEAT being within the driver’s seat of this collection.
Talking of Giannis Antetokounmpo, this collection has not been an excellent search for the Defensive Participant of the Yr. Particularly because it seems to be like his second consecutive MVP (presumably) is true across the nook. So, to see each him and Milwaukee, as soon as an unstoppable drive with out an immovable object in sight, get stopped by a sturdy however not immovable squad is saddening.
Almost a yr in the past, Basketball Insiders in contrast these present Bucks to the Dwight Howard-led Orlando Magic from the late-2000’s/early 2010’s. To oversimplify issues, each have been contenders led by a famous person with a uncommon physique that made them powerful to cease. To place the famous person in the most effective place, they surrounded them with playmakers and three-point shooters.
Whereas the groups’ roster constructions weren’t precisely the identical, their strengths as a group actually have been. Now we’re seeing the Bucks’ flaws simply as we did the Magic 10 years in the past. In case you have the personnel to make the lone famous person uncomfortable, the group doesn’t operate as effectively.
Giannis is close to unattainable to cease, however the one main flaw is that in the event you take away his capability to drive and drive him right into a jumper, he loses his rhythm. Even when his shot is on – by no means a assure – his opponents will let him beat them that manner till he makes them pay. Hardly any group can decide on this, however the HEAT are considered one of them, and now they’re one win away from their first Japanese Convention Finals since LeBron James took his skills out of South Seashore.
This in the end is what places Antetokounmpo beneath the likes of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard for now. These guys are uncommon bodily specimens like him, however their elite video games don’t revolve solely round their pure items as he does or Dwight did. At 25 years outdated, there’s loads of time for him to alter that and, for all we all know, he’ll, however to see him wrestle at a time when the convention was presupposed to run by means of him has ignited tons of questions.
Milwaukee’s technically not out but, however they’ve proven their mortality towards Miami. If this actually is it for them, then they’ve received to discover a fast repair for this downside as a result of in the event that they don’t, then the unspeakable could occur.
Lakers vs. Rockets: Westbrook has been unhealthy and all however…
Shaking off the rust and recovering from a balky knee could be powerful for anybody. For Russell Westbrook, it’s killing his productiveness and, in flip, the Rockets’ playoff possibilities. He’s averaging 15.6 factors on 39/16/47 splits with a most up-to-date 10-point, 4-of-15 effort from the sector which included seven turnovers and air balling wide-open threes protruding like a sore thumb.
It additionally doesn’t assist that he’s taking part in the Lakers of all groups. When Westbrook has been in, the Lakers have taken benefit of his shortcomings offensively and it reveals each on the courtroom and the stat line.
Most of Westbrook’s injury is hurting Houston on the offensive finish. With the All-Star guard within the sport, Houston is minus-13.7 with him on the courtroom, the worst offensive score on the group. The 12 turnovers he’s coughed up on this collection most likely have one thing to do with that.
With Westbrook’s struggles and his predecessor Chris Paul coming off of his greatest particular person season since 2016, this, in fact, has led to many second-guessing the swap final summer season. Or let’s rephrase that: Folks have been second-guessing that commerce for the reason that second it was introduced and, in mild of latest occasions, they’re piling on now greater than ever.
Possibly they’re proper. Even after taking part in within the NBA for over a decade now, Westbrook nonetheless hasn’t confirmed that he can management himself sufficient to succeed in his potential as a group participant. We’ve seen glimpses. Then again, Paul confirmed that he can nonetheless decide aside defenses whereas holding his personal on that finish.
However changing Paul with Westbrook was Harden’s thought. He didn’t wish to play with Paul anymore and selected to play with considered one of his closest pals. It’s possible you’ll suppose that the higher match is what’s greatest for the group, however we’ve seen the injury that may occur when your group’s greatest gamers have friction with each other. It damage Utah this season. It damage Boston final season. It destroyed the Lakers again in 2013. There’s no telling what it may have completed to Houston this season.
Moreover, we all know that as unhealthy as Westbrook has been, he’s able to being higher. Not a knockdown shooter, not even an environment friendly scorer, however he has completed higher prior to now when the main focus was on him. The extra days he takes to shake off the rust from his knee, the extra optimistic the Rockets should be.
The Rockets need to take the glass-half-full on this one as a result of they don’t actually have a alternative in any other case.