2019 NBA Playoffs- Eastern Conference Round 2 Reaction
2019 NBA Playoffs-Eastern Conference Round 2 Reaction
Whew!! The second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs was exhilarating. After a horrendous first round the NBA really bounced back with riveting game play in round two. The Bucks and the Celtics, maybe the most intriguing series coming in was the most lopsided of the bunch. The Warriors and Rockets heated rivalry may have culminated this year in same fashion as every other time, this time with the injury bug on the other foot. Then we got two Game 7s on Mother’s Day. The first between The Blazers and the Nuggets and the second between the Raptors and the 76ers.
I couldn’t have been anymore wrong about Bucks and the Celtics series. I thought the Celtics would win a tough series in 6. Clearly I was wrong. A Lot of that has to do with two men. Giannis and Coach Budz. Going into the season I said the biggest offseason move wasn’t a player or a trade it was Coach Mike Budenholzer. Coach Budz did a great job in Atlanta. He won 60 games and took them to the Conference finals. His obstacle there was the same as everyone else’s in the East in the 2010s, Lebron James. Coach Budz came in this year and expanded the offense, led the team to 60 wins, and now another conference finals appearance for him. However, this time it may be different. He has Giannis Antetokounmpo who is averaging 28 points and 11 boards throughout the playoffs. That man has been the best player on the court in most games he’s played in this season and absolutely dominated the Celtics. Giannis isn’t alone he has had good help, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe both have averaged upwards on 16 points each and the defense has really stepped up.
For as well as the Bucks played in this past series the opposite could be said about the Celtics. They were dominated and lost by double digits in three of their games, including twice at home, before just giving up in the second half of Game 5. Kyrie Irving led the team averaging 21 points and 7 assists but the Celtics just seemed out of sync. It’s going to be an interesting off season for them. Some say Boston is a better team without Kyrie. I disagree with that. After this year’s debacle things are going to be shaken up in Boston. I expect Kyrie to be a member of the Knicks entering the 2019 season and I’d expect Tatum and Brown to be implemented as the men in Boston.
Outside of the Bucks domination of the Celtics, the rest of the series in the second round were incredible. The 76ers and the Raptors battled hard on both sides of the floor in a great series that came down to a miracle, quadruple doink off the rim and in for Kawhii Leonard and a Raptors Win. This series was so much fun and the players on display were great to see. You had Embiid, Simmons, Butler, Leonard, and Siakim showing the league what they’re made of. Watching Kawhii and Jimmy Buckets work on both sides of the floor was a piece of art.
This series showed so much passion and emotion on both sides. The Raptors were struggling offensively yesterday, especially Kawhii, entering the fourth quarter but like most clutch superstars do, he saved his best for last. He went 6 of 9 from the field for 15 points and the game winner. Kawhii has been the best player in the playoffs so far. He’s averaging 37 points on 57 percent shooting so far. The Raptors also got a huge effort out of Serge Ibaka yesterday giving them 17 and 10.
The story flips however when you look at the 76ers. Watching Joel Embiid walk off the court with tears streaming down his face was beautiful. That was pure emotion and even if he wanted to he wouldn’t have been able to hold those tears back. He embodies everything I love in an athlete and he will come back better from this loss. The 76ers have a lot of offseason decisions to make. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris are free agent. Will they retain Brett Brown? Can Ben Simmons continue to get better? The 76ers have a great young foundation with Embiid and Simmons and I think they will both continue to get better but with Giannis and KD potentially coming East, has their time already passed them?
The Eastern Conference finals are going to be awesome. Giannis versus Kawhii, arguably the two best players in the East are going to go head to head. Siakim, Middleton, Bledsoe, Lowry, and so many more good players on both sides are going to compete and give it their all. I can’t wait to watch it. I said the Raptors are going to the finals when they traded for Kawhii and I’m not going to steer away from that now. Give me the Raptors in 6.