These have been the most competitive playoffs in many years, with only two sweeps thus far as well as multiple 6/7 game series. The first two rounds resulted the Cavs taking on the Celtics in the East and the Warriors against the 1 seed Rockets. These teams have all looked vulnerable throughout the playoffs, but none more than Cleveland. The Cavs minus LeBron were abysmal in their first round match-up against the Pacers. The reason I say “minus LeBron” is because he quite literally put the team on his back, putting up an un-thought of 44-8-10 average stat-line while shooting above 50%. Many argue that this was the greatest individual playoff series ever by a player. Even with this historic performance, the Cavs were taken to a very close 7 against a team many thought would be swept. Cleveland was able to bounce back once production resumed from players not named LeBron, and they went on to sweep the 1 seed Raptors.
The Cavs conference final counterpart Boston Celtics also went to 7 in their opening round. The Celts were pushed over the Bucks after “Scary” Terry Rozier played lights out against Eric Bledsoe. They then went on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers in a 5 game series which had multiple games that could have gone either way. Nonetheless, this series is already 2-0 in favor of the Celtics after back to back blowout wins in the TD Garden. The Cavs have two MUST WIN games in Cleveland in order to keep themselves in this series. LeBron put up a phenomenal 42-12-10 stat-line but it was not enough as the starting backcourt played horribly in game 2. My Pick: Cavs in 7
Over in the West, these teams have been tested in games, but not throughout the entirety of a series. These two are widely considered the best team in the playoffs and so far they have showed it. In a game 1 battle, the Warriors were able to win even with a struggling Steph and an amazing performance from the Rockets’ James Harden. This game showed that Harden needs other stars like Chris Paul and Clint Capela to chip in some high scoring games throughout the series. Game 2 is on as I’m writing this and it looks like the Rockets will even it up at 1 game a piece. Game 3 in Oracle could have some big implications on how this series turns out. My Pick: Warriors in 6