NBA: Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, and Los Angeles Clippers take to the floor
The NBA Conference semi-finals are here. But who will punch their ticket to the divisional Finals? In this week’s preview, we will take a closer look at three games — Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers, and Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers. We will also check in on the latest match odds.
Kevin Durant plays a starring role as Brooklyn Nets take Game 1 against Milwaukee Bucks
Kevin Durant did what he has done time and time again during his NBA career. He grabbed Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks by the scruff of the neck, as he drained 29 points. Kyrie Irving chipped in with 25 points and eight assists as the Nets claimed a 115-107 victory. The Nets were successful with their three-pointers, as they landed 15 of them.
However, to a certain extent, the victory was overshadowed by James Harden’s injury. Harden was hauled off the floor inside the opening minute of the game after sustaining a hamstring injury. While he has been ruled out of Game 2, the Nets are hoping he will be back in time for Game 3 on Thursday evening.
Blake Griffin capable of filling James Harden void
While Harden will be sorely missed by the Nets for Game 2, Blake Griffin put a serious shift in during Game 1. Griffin was 4-of-9 with his three-pointers last weekend, and he scored 18 points as well as produced a game-best 14 rebounds in 35 minutes. With Harden absent, now is the time for the Nets to rally round.
Giannis Antetokounmpo magic not enough to save Milwaukee Bucks
While the Bucks lost Game 1, perhaps it is worth sparing a thought for Giannis. Despite another dominant performance in which he top-scored with 34 points, Giannis’ heroics weren’t enough. The two-time MVP (Most Valued Player) just has to keep going, and his showdown with Durant will define this series.
Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer holds up hands after defeat
NBA matches are decided on fine margins. While it seemed like the Bucks did little wrong, ultimately the Nets converted their chances when they arose. Discussing the Bucks’ defeat, Mike Budenholzer said: “They shot it well from the 3-point line, and we didn’t. They outplayed us.” Now, it is a case of regrouping for the Bucks, and they are capable of turning this series around.
Los Angeles Clippers are storming past Dallas Mavericks in Round 1
While they needed seven games to get past Dallas Mavericks in Round 1, the Los Angeles Clippers have built up steam. In Game 7 against the Mavericks, Kawhi Leonard and Marcus Morris both shone, as they scored a combined 51 points. Paul George also excelled, posting figures of 22 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds.
The way the Clippers fought back after going 2-0 down in the series against the Mavericks was impressive, and they will probably be glad they don’t have to face Luka Doncic again! But Kawhi’s importance to the Clippers cause, and he will need to be at his imperious best if the Clippers are going to reach the Western Conference Finals.
Meanwhile, Utah Jazz was scarcely tested in the first round, as they ran out 4-1 winners over the Memphis Grizzles, and they stormed to a 126-110 victory in Game 5 to wrap up the series. The Jazz has had more time to rest and recover than the Clippers. It remains to be seen whether they will be dialed in for Game 2 on Friday evening.
Philadelphia 76ers stunned by Atlanta Hawks in Game 1
The 76ers were left reeling after they were stunned by the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1. Trae Young drained 35 points and supplied 10 assists as the Hawks edged proceedings with a 128-124 victory. With his 35-point contribution, Young became only the second player in NBA history to score 30 points or more in each of the first four road games of their playoff career.
Currently, Joel Embiid has been trying to fight through the pain barrier. After a small meniscus tear in his right knee, Embiid still put in a strong performance in Game 1, and he is priceless for the 76ers. When asked for his thoughts about his injury, Embiid said: “Playing on a torn meniscus is not easy. I’m going to give everything I’ve got.”
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