We are more or less at the midway point of the NBA Playoffs and while we have seen some great games and even better moments, the best is likely yet to come. We’ve been following those games and moments throughout the post-season and we’re continuing to do that through the back-half of the second round.
Kicking Their Feet Up
As predicted, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors coasted through the first two rounds of the NBA Playoffs and did so in historic fashion. The Cavs and Dubs are the first two teams in NBA history to start the playoffs 8-0 and judging by how they’ve played through those first eight games, they could be the first two reach the NBA Finals unscathed and a perfect 12-0 before playing each other in the championship for the third straight year.
Best of the Rest?
Cleveland and Golden State are clearly on another level but who is the third best team in this year’s playoffs? That standing seems to be changing on a night-by-night basis and last night, it looked like the San Antonio Spurs. With their best player, Kawhi Leonard, injured and on the bench for overtime, the Spurs outlasted the Houston Rockets to take a decisive 3-2 series lead.
But How Injured?
Midway through the 3rd quarter in last night’s Spurs vs. Rockets game, Kawhi Leonard went down with a left ankle injury after stepping on the foot of James Harden while running down the court. While he did re-enter the game, he was borderline ineffective and then ended up sitting much of the 4th quarter and then the entirety of overtime. ESPN reported today that Leonard said, “I’m going to be able to play.” after last night’s win but just playing isn’t going to be enough for the rest of the post-season. While the Spurs may beat the Rockets without Leonard and may now win the series, they are drawing dead against the Warriors if Leonard isn’t at 100%.
Magic in the East
The Boston Celtics won both games at home before the Washington Wizards used home court to even the series at 2-2. The Wizards now head back to Boston for tonight’s crucial Game 5 match-up with all the momentum. The testy and physical series has been excellent to watch but it is likely going to be the flashy guard play of John Wall and Bradley Beal, not their physicality, that win the series for the Wiz. Unfortunately, their Eastern Conference run will be short lived, as the Cavaliers will counter any magic the Wizards throw at them in the next round.