The NBA Playoffs continue this week with the Conference Semi-Finals getting underway. Catch our best bets for some of the key matchups right here and good luck if following!
Philadelphia 76ers cruised their way through their first round matchup with Washington to win the series by four games to one. The big talking points however, is the meniscus injury that Joel Embiid picked up early in the series, which has cast doubt over his team’s championship aspirations.
Atlanta Hawks made relatively light work of the New York Knicks in their first round matchup despite being the lower seed. The Hawks defence was first class throughout the whole series, particularly on the Knicks best player in Julius Randle who barely got an open look in the five games.
The meniscus tear Joel Embiid suffered will give the Hawks some encouragement as they look to upset the 1 seed in the East; however, we believe the 76ers still have enough depth to take care of the Hawks in a best-of-seven series and expect them to wrap this up in six games or less.
Phoenix Suns would be thrilled with how they performed in their trick first round matchup with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns fell behind 2-1 after Game 3, but an injury to Anthony Davis really changed the series and helped them win the next three games to send the Lakers packing.
Denver Nuggets went into their first round matchup with the Trail Blazers as the slight underdogs despite finishing with the much higher seed. It was expected that the Nuggets would struggle to win four games without Jamal Murray carrying them on offence, however, Nikola Jokic put his teammates on his back and carried them home in six games.
Both teams would be pumped that they were able to negotiate series wins in the first round despite being underdogs; however, the Suns played the much better and sustainable basketball of the two and have more upside with Chris Paul getting some much-needed rest on his shoulder injury. We’re expecting another competitive series, but for the Suns to get the job done with a game or two to spare.
Los Angeles Clippers had to fight and claw their way through their first round series with the Mavericks, which they ended up winning 4-3 after trailing both 2-0 and 3-2 at different stages. In the end, the Clippers better all-around team performance was the difference as Luka Doncic of the Mavericks was left to do too much himself.
Utah Jazz found themselves in a surprisingly competitive series against the Grizzlies. Despite it being the 1v8 seeded matchup, the underdogs won the opening game on the road before the Jazz were able to steady the ship and reel off wins in the next four games to take it out 4-1.
These teams played each other three times this season in what was a competitive season series. The Jazz won the first two games by an average margin of 12 points, but the Clippers got one back on them later in the season with a four-point win at home. All signs lead to another very competitive series here, but have to give the edge to the Jazz simply due to them having both home court advantage and a little bit more rest on their side.
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