The second weekend of the NBA playoffs was dominated by drama, ejections, egregious fouls, and injuries.
The only other team to make it to the conference semifinals is Philadelphia. With Joel Embiid struggling with a damaged right knee, the Sixers are hoping for the later start date so Embiid has more time to heal. The second round will begin either on Saturday or May 1.
One series is 2-2 (Golden State-Sacramento), two are 2-1 (Los Angeles Lakers over Memphis, Miami over Milwaukee), four are 3-1 (Denver over Minnesota, Phoenix over the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston over Atlanta, and New York over Cleveland).
Prior to Game 3, the trash-talking between Dillon Brooks and LeBron James dominated the conversation, but Brooks’ ejection for hitting James in the groyne area on Saturday stole the show.
Dejounte Murray of Atlanta is also potentially facing suspension from the NBA following his altercation with a referee following the Hawks’ loss to the Celtics on Sunday.
RJ Barrett, Knicks of New York
The All-Stars for New York are Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, but the Knicks also need Barrett’s offence. Barrett’s effective offence, particularly from inside the 3-point arc, has helped the Knicks win the last two games and lead the series 3-1. In Games 3 and 4, Barrett combined to go 17 for 30 from the field, including 14 for 18 from behind the arc, for a total of 26 points.
the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards
Although Denver and All-NBA centre Nikola Jokic had been dominant in the series, Anthony Edwards’ 34 points in a 114-108 overtime victory kept the Timberwolves alive. Late in the fourth quarter, Minnesota blew a 12-point lead, but Edwards scored five points in overtime, including the game-winning 3-pointer.
This is the finest postseason series thus far, tied at 2-2, with great games (one decided by a point, one by three points) and outstanding individual performances from Steph Curry and Draymond Green of the Warriors and De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, and Malik Monk of the Kings.
76ers of Philadelphia
The Sixers won their first series sweep since 1991, and for a few different reasons, they now want the Boston-Atlanta series to stretch at least six games. Allow those two teams to tyre out so that the Sixers may rest some players and, in the case of Embiid, allow him to recover from the right knee strain he sustained in Game 3 of the series.
Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker
In the Suns’ three victories over the Clippers, Booker has averaged 34.8 points, which is his highest postseason average, while shooting 57.1% from the field and 43.5% from beyond the arc. The main winner from Kevin Durant’s presence on offence is him. Additionally, Booker’s defence has been excellent with 11 steals and 5 blocks.
Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler.
Butler scored 35 and 30 points and shot 58.7% from the field on 27 of 46 shots in the Heat’s victory over Milwaukee in Games 1 and 3, giving them a 2-1 series lead. Butler is Miami’s Mr. Do It All, and he must play like that for the Heat to pull off this 8 over 1 upset.
New York Nets
With Philadelphia lacking a star in Games 3 and 4, they had two excellent chances to win. The Nets lost Game 3 despite blowing a 96-91 lead with 2:15 remaining in the fourth quarter despite James Harden being sent off in the third quarter. The Nets were unable to take advantage of Embiid’s absence in Game 4 with their season on the line. The Sixers completely defeated the Nets.
Clippers of Los Angeles
2019 saw the addition of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but all they have to show for it is a trip to the Western Conference finals. They were defeated by the Suns 3-1 this season after losing in the conference semifinals in 2020 and the conference finals in 2021. They missed the playoffs last season. Leonard and Charge have played together in just 107 games across four seasons and 308 regular-season contests, including none last season due to Leonard’s injury. Leonard missed Game 3 of the Suns series, and George is most likely out. Their collective record is excellent (83-35). They don’t play in enough games together on the floor.
Memphis Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks
Brooks yelled at LeBron James, the star of the Lakers, both during and after Memphis’ victory in Game 2. Brooks claimed that he enjoys poking the bear. He ought to be more wise. Lance Stephenson, Joakim Noah, and Klay Thompson are just a few of the many individuals who have jabbed James in the wrong places. In Game 3, Brooks was not at his best; he was ejected for striking James in the groyne area and finished with just seven points on 3-for-13 shooting as the Lakers won 111-101. At least for this series, Brooks would benefit by concentrating on basketball.
For the Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell
Mitchell scored just two points on 1-for-9 shooting in the second half of Game 4 on Sunday. His first basket came with 2:13 remaining in the fourth quarter after he missed his first eight attempts of the half. He only managed 11 points overall on 5-for-18 shooting, including 0-for-4 from beyond the arc. Mitchell committed six errors as well. Mitchell, who will be selected to the All-NBA team this season, is aware that the Cavaliers cannot win if he continues to play that way.