NBA Playoffs revitalizes Competitive Talent pool across the league

NBA Playoffs Second round game restores historical rivalries

With the second round of the playoffs underway, some of the league’s brightest stars made brilliant performances. The first round had a handful of surprises, including two of the NBA play-in teams advancing to the second round (Los Angeles Lakers, Miami). The Miami Heat knocked off the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks 4-1, and the Los Angeles Lakers knocked off the no.2 seed Memphis Grizzlies 4-2. Here are some of the performances that circulated across the media world during the second round.

Harden’s Epic Performances Give Sixers’ Life, 76ers One win away from ECF

Following an atrocious pair of performances, James Harden delivered yet another masterful performance as the Sixers’ escaped a 116-115 overtime thriller in South Philly. The Sixers’ have evened the series at 2-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, after dropping their last two games. In Game four, Harden wasted no time scoring 21 first half points. But most importantly, Harden made winning plays and delivered when in the crunch. Harden made the game-tying bucket to send the game into overtime, and hit the game-winning three in OT. The final play captivated another historic performance by a future hall-of-famer. Harden ended the game with 42 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds to go along with four steals. In the two Sixers victories, Coach Doc Rivers credited Harden’s assertiveness and toughness. All year Rivers has been harping on his lead guard to “Be James Harden”.

“ For a day and a half, James had to get himself back. No one did that but James. Film’s great, we talked, and probably 15,000 other people probably talked to him…. James Harden was James Harden tonight.”

Following a much-needed game 4 victory at home, the Sixers’ went into an electric TD Garden to steal game 5. The MVP, Joel Embiid scored 33 points as the Sixers’ cruised to a 115-103 victory over the Celtics. The Celtics have had its troubles all series guarding the leagues MVP Embiid, whose recorded three 30-point performances this series. Tyrese Maxey eclipsed for a 30-pont explosion while Harris added 16 points, 11 rebounds on 70% shooting from the field. James Harden was assertive early, perfecting the pick-and-roll with Embiid. Harden poured in 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists. The Sixers’ executed offensively shooting 50% from the field, 40% from three while outscoring Boston on fast-break points 15-5. The Sixers have recorded their second road win of the series while the Celtics received its first back-to-back loss of the post-season. The Sixers’ are heading back to Philly with a 3-2 lead over the defending Eastern Conference champs. Doc Rivers and the Sixers’ are one win away from advancing to the Conference finals for the first time since 2001 (led by Allen Iverson). Philadelphia will host the Celtics live from the Wells Fargo Centre on Thursday night 7:30PM (ET)

Curry vs LeBron – The Generational Matchup We’ve been waiting for 

Photo/Getty Images

A Battle of the Ages- Stephen Curry will face off with LeBron James in a Western Conference Semifinal duel between the Golden States Warriors. Only one will advance to the Western Conference Finals round, Curry led the Warriors to a 127-100 blowout game two victory following a game one upset in the Chase Centre. The Curry-Bron era dates back to the historic NBA finals battles, including the epic 2016 3-1 comeback completed by the Cavs. Curry and LeBron both have transcended the culture of the sport in their own rights, but still, the constant conversation of who’s the Goat still lingers. Both players are 4-time NBA Champions but would a fifth be the separator? The NBA’s generational matchups took place in definitive time periods which date back to the icon battles between the great Bill Russell and Wilt the Stilt in the 60, Magic-Bird in the 80s, and MJ-Isaiah in the 90s. The Curry-Bron Match-up has revitalized the modern-day rivalry in sports.

The Los Angeles Lakers take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Golden State Warriors who dropped two straight games in the Western Conference Semifinals. Lakers’ LeBron James scored 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists, While Stephen Curry recorded his third playoff triple-double with 31 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds and three steals in the 104-101 loss. Despite the star pairings, it was the Lakers Lonnie Walker IV’s fourth-quarter spark that outlasted the Warriors’ rally. Walker IV poured in a playoff career-high with 15 points, all coming in the fourth quarter on 6-of-9 shooting. The Lakers Home-court dominance has served as an advantage throughout this entire post-season, winning all six post-season match-ups at Crypto Arena. The Lakers are one win away from advancing to the Western Conference finals after the harsh criticism all year. The Warriors find themselves in a do-or-die situation with its dynasty on the brink of dismantling. The defending champs will host the Lakers on Wednesday night 10PM ET.

Nikola Jokic’s Nuggets One Win away from Western Conference Finals

Photo/USA Today

After a historic game 4 performance from Denver’s Nikola Jokic, The Nuggets took care of business in game 5. Jokic added another triple-double performance to his playoff resume, delivering 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists to help Denver cruise pass the Suns in a 118-102 victory. The Nuggets now lead the series 3-2 with the Suns on the brink of elimination heading into Game 6 on Thursday. Jokic surpassed Wilt Chamberlain on the list for most career playoff triple-doubles as a Center (10), Jokic currently sits at fifth all-time (tied with Draymond Green, Rajon Rondo, and Jason Kidd). Jokic recorded his second triple-double of the season, despite dropping game 4 in Phoenix after a 53-point performance. Throughout this series, the headlines have been all around Suns superstar Devin Booker. Booker has elevated his play since the absence of Paul, averaging 35.9 points, 7.1 assists on 60.1% shooting from the field. The Jokic-Booker duel has been the most exciting matchup in the post-season thus far. The Suns looks to even the series back home while the Nuggets look to advance back to the Western Conference Finals with the hopes of reaching the NBA finals for the first time in franchise history. The Suns will host the Nuggets in a game 6 battle on Thursday night live from the Footprint Center.

Written By: Hussein Abdullahi

Published by: TGQ Inc.

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