The regular season is over, records have been set, players have gone surprisingly uninjured (until last week), and round one of the playoffs has come to a close.
For those who don’t follow the NBA, this has been a historic season. A team has finally proven itself to be better than Michael Jordan’s 96-97 Chicago Bulls team, with Steph Curry leading GSW to 73-9 for the season, doing one better than the Bulls did almost 20 years ago.
To put this into perspective, this is like a premier league team winning all but one game throughout the season, and the chances of someone doing it again are so slight that there is more chance of Elvis Presley coming back from the dead. True story. So we thought given this incredible storyline we would have a look at the playoffs and all you need to know about them. This way you can hold a decent conversation with any NBA fan you come across.
Steph Curry is injured (right now)
Well, kind of. A spot of sweat on the floor two weeks ago cause him to roll his ankle and ensure he didn’t play the rest of round one. Luckily, the Warriors have Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to carry the team, and haven’t seemed to slow down. Although they got a bit of a scare yesterday against the Trail Blazers, the Warriors have had no troubles so far this post-season and breezed past the Rockets even without Curry.
Unfortunately, we experienced the saddest moment in Clippers franchise history last week. Within 30 minutes they went from the most likely to knock the Warriors out of the playoffs, to having no chance of progressing from the first round. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin each injuring themselves meant that the team had no firepower, whatsoever.
Raptors v Heat
This is a huge matchup. Last night Kyle Lowry hit a buzzer beater from half court to force overtime, but Wade and the Heat overcame a strong Raptors offence to take a win on the road. It's a win so gutting that Kyle Lowry went back to practice his shooting alone in the stadium at 1 in the morning.
This series is going to be insane, and totally leans on Derozan and Lowry and how they operate on the offensive end. With Chris Bosh now out indefinitely it means the Heat will need to rely on Wade’s leadership and the defensive efforts of Whiteside in order to pull this out.
Will we see a Cavaliers v Warriors rematch
This years playoffs are more up in the air than ever before. With Curry on the sidelines, we will have to see whether or not they have the power to overcome whoever they face next (either the Spurs or Thunder). If they face the Spurs, then we are going to be in for an interesting match up as these teams split the season series in the regular season. If they face OKC then it will totally depend on how Durant and Westbrook play, and if they stay healthy, my pick is that OKC will force 7 games against the Spurs, but eventually the Spurs will go up against the Warriors in the conference final, and Golden State will charge on.
However, whether or not we get a finals rematch this year depends on whether or not the Raptors or Heat have the will to overcome LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference final. LeBron needs to win this championship in his hometown in order to secure a spot as one of the best ever. I personally don’t think we will see this rematch because I feel the Raptors have an edge over the Cavaliers, but we will just have to see how it plays out.