NBA Playoffs will start this weekend, the most awaited moment for basketball fans. This phase of the season has always given great moments, so we will have to keep an eye on them in order to see what the 2021 Playoffs can bring to us. Let´s take a look at the series:
– Philadelphia 76ers VS Washington Wizards
Philadelphia 76ers have managed to end the season on top the 1st spot in the East with 49 wins and 23 defeats. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have finally showed the expected level and have led the team to the top. Last year they were swept by the Boston Celtics in a very disappointing series for their fans. Now they have the confidence to bring back the excitement to Philadelphia.
After making it to the Playoffs through the ‘Play-In’ by beating the Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards have made it to the Playoffs in a season where they have clearly improved as time has gone by. With Bradley´s trades rumors plus WestBrook adaptation, the franchise from the capital has not had an easy year, but they deserve to be in the series. We will have to see hoy they performance can be, but the fact of making it this far is already a mission accomplished.
– New York Knicks VS Atlanta Hawks
Two revelations this season. The New York Knicks are the biggest news in the Playoffs, as they are back into the series since the last time they made it in the 2012-2013 campaign. Julius Randle has led the Knicks this season to the end of their drought. Be aware of them because they can be the surprise.
On the other hand, the Atlanta Hawks have also stood out. The team increased their level after making great moves in the NBA Player Market. Clint Capela’s development is also a factor to take into account, along with the improvement on defense and scoring, as they count on great shooters like Bogdanovic or Gallinari. Trae Young´s Hawks can be a tough opponent in this promising serie.
– Milwaukee Bucks VS Miami Heat
A very morbid duel. These two teams already faced each other off last year in the 2020 Playoffs Conference Semifinals. The final score was 1-4 for Miami Heat. This season Giannis Antetokounmpo´s Bucks have finished 3rd with 46 wins and 26 defeats. It is clear that the franchise from Wisconsin wants to take revenge and they will give their best to pull that off.
Miami Heat were the last direct qualified team to the Playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The current runner-up gave the surprise last season but couldn´t stop LeBron´s Lakers in the finals. He might not have given his best level this campaign, but Jimmy Butler said that criticisms motivate his team even more.
– Brooklyn Nets VS Boston Celtics
The unstoppable Brooklyn Nets ended 2nd in their conference. Injuries have not helped at all, as Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving´s Big Three have not played many games together. On the other hand, we have Blake Griffin´s addition, who seems to be getting back to his best level. This duel has its morbid as well, since Kyrie Irving will take on the team he played for two seasons.
Boston Celtics booked their ticket to the Playoffs after beating the Washington Wizards in the ‘Play-In’ on a magic night for Jayson Tatum, who scored 50 points. Tatum has performed greatly multiple nights this year and now he will put on his back the challenge of taking the Celtics back to the Conference Finals and then to the big final.
– Utah Jazz VS Memphis Grizzlies
The Utah Jazz have been the best team not only in the Western Conference but in the entire league. Their record is 52 wins and just 20 defeats. Numbers that explain the outstanding season by their players, where Donovan Mitchell or Rudy Gobert stand out, but we should also mention Jordan Clarkson, as he is a strong candidate for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. Last season they fell to the Denver Nuggets in the first round, as they pulled off a huge comeback in game 7.
Memphis Grizzlies have ended up being the last team to make it to the Playoffs. Ja Morant team has made it through by ending 9th in the Western Conference and after beating Stephen Curry´s Golden State Warriors in an agonic ‘Play-In’ game. Is it fair? We all know how the new format works, but no doubt that they are the biggest surprise in this Playoffs. Will they be able to beat the best team in the league?
– Los Ángeles Clippers VS Dallas Mavericks
Los Angeles Clippers are 4th with 47 wins and 25 defeats. A very irregular season, as Kawhi Leonard got injured, but through adversity the team has found his leader on Paul George, who has had one of his best seasons, with 23,3 points; 6,6 rebounds and 5,2 assists per game. The ex-player for OKC and the Pacers did not show his highest level in the last Playoffs and now will try to redeem himself.
Their opponent, the Dallas Mavericks, have ended with 42 wins and 30 defeats, a disappointing record, but anyway they have achieved their goal of making it to the Playoffs. Their leader, Luka Doncic, has grown in the NBA and has had a good year despite lowering his numbers, but he has increased his effectiveness. This is a re-match of last year´s first round where the franchise from California got the victory by a 4-2 score.
– Denver Nuggets VS Portland Trail Blazers
One of the most interesting duels in this Playoffs. Most than likely MVP Nikola Jokic´s Denver Nuggets have ended 3rd in the West. A very completed team with players like Jamal Murray or the Argentinian Facundo Campazzo. Last years they made it up to the Conference Finals after two comebacks against the Utah Jazz and the Clippers. Will they be able to repeat the feat?
Portland Trail Blazers have been the last team to get the direct access to the Playoffs in the Western Conference. Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony´s squad have ended their regular season on a great winning streak that has allowed them to make it right away and force the Lakers to be in the ‘Play-In’. Last year they went home in the first round after losing them. Will they now be more lucky against Denver?
– Phoenix Suns VS Los Ángeles Lakers
The second best team in the West and the NBA, the Phoenix Suns, will be a tough team in the Playoffs. Last season they touched the series after having an incredible run in the bubble. Now with the duo formed by Chris Paul and Devin Booker plus Monty Williams (who will more than likely win the Coach of the Year Award) the franchise from Arizona has a lot of chances to make it far in the Playoffs.
They will take on the Lakers, who beat the Warriors in the Play-In in a game where LeBron James proved why he is known as ‘The King’. Anthony Davis´injury and LeBron himself decreased the level of the team this season, which has been too irregular. The current Champions will try to earn another ring in this Playoffs, but the competition will be very tough.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.