After racing out of the blocks in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bucks suddenly found themselves on the wrong end of a 16-2 Toronto Raptors run, giving the Canadian outfit their first lead of the night midway through the second quarter.
The Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers both prioritized the present over the future this season. By sacrificing continuity and steady progression for star power, both have transformed their rosters over the last 12 months to become true contenders. And after a chaotic six games between the two Eastern Conference heavyweights, they are each four quarters away from triumph or disaster.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics both swept the first round to set up a rematch of last year’s series between the pair in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. How each team defends the other’s superstar, coaching strategy and injuries will all play a significant part in this highly-anticipated clash.
There is more skepticism around the Denver Nuggets than your typical two-seed. Despite challenging the Golden State Warriors for the top spot in the West for much of the year and finishing with a 54-28 record, the Nuggets’ inexperience led to many questioning their playoff acumen, especially when they matched-up against the wily, veteran-laden San Antonio Spurs in the first round. And although the Texas outfit forced a game seven last night with a 120-103 victory at home, the performance of Nikola Jokic should give Denver heart that they have a superstar who can shine in the postseason for years to come.
We keep waiting for the post-Kevin DurantOklahoma City Thunder to become true contenders, but their hopes of a title are, if anything, dwindling by the year. And after a season which once promised so much, they find themselves on the brink of a third consecutive first-round playoff exit. So, has this iteration of OKC reached their peak?
The playoffs are only just underway, but after a wild opening weekend, a few interesting statistics have emerged. With each team having played their first game of the postseason, what can be learned, or ignored, by the numbers from the eight exciting game ones?