We’re embroiled in the first round of NBA playoff shenanigans, with everything from powerful juggernauts hoping to cruise through a sweep, to embattled teams ready to give things a go. And where better to get caught up on the action than right here with your favorite NBA writer and hot taker?
BALL DON’T LIE
There’s absolutely no other way of opening up this playoff post without an acknowledgment of how amazing of a human being and man Isaiah Thomas is. Thomas lost his sister Chyna to a car accident just a few hours before game one of the Celtics series against the Chicago Bulls. Isaiah did the unimaginable and played through that pain, and has yet to miss a game in the series. He put on a show in game one as well, and has yet to mail in any performances. Here’s’ to the guy even being able to get out of bed after a tragedy like this. Cheers to you, Isaiah.
— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) April 16, 2017
The Greek Freak Wreaks Havoc
The start of the Raptors-Bucks series kicked off in a way we all expected… just kidding, you didn’t expect this. The Bucks ravaged the Raptors in game one, ripping them to shreds behind a monster game from the Greek Freak, who just muscled his way into the paint time and time again. It was a deflating feeling for the Raptors, who beefed up at the trade deadline for the sole purpose of being able to stop forwards like Giannis… however I’m sure they would rather be trying to solve this later against LeBron.
Jimmy Butler Comes Alive
The Bulls got out to a startling 2-0 series lead, thanks in no small part to their fearless leader in Jimmy Butler. The Bulls are the early surprise of round one, muscling their way into a commanding series lead behind a massive advantage on the boards and just better guard play. Butler has took advantage of the Thomas-Bradley pairing and had his way to open this series, and put the Bulls in a serious position to take an historic advantage over the number one seed.
Jimmy Butler scored 30 points as the 8th seeded Bulls upset the Celtics in game one of the NBA… https://t.co/2VXzhvUbXA
— numberFire (@numberFire) April 17, 2017
In a move that wasn’t really a surprise but welcoming nonetheless, Dirk Nowitzki announced he’d be lacing up his sneakers for another year in the NBA- or maybe even two. Dirk will be close to 40 when he next plays, and that’s big for an NBA player. Dirk is one of the oldest to still be putting up his numbers, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
ICYMI: Dirk Nowitzki will return for his 20th NBA season, and hints that he’s interested in playing a 21st too.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) April 13, 2017
I hate the Toronto Raptors. Every single year they do this to me. I believe in them, they make some moves and beef their roster, and I trick myself into thinking that this is the year they piece things together. And yet, every year, they find a way to break my heart. As the Bucks roll out to a 2-1 series advantage, it’s another year fo the same old Raptors.
— KnicksJets4life (@knicksjets4life) April 21, 2017
My postseason sleeper pick was the Utah Jazz. I thought this team had the tools to knock off a team like San Antonio or Golden State, and they’d easily dispatch the Clippers in five or six games. That’s a thing of the past, however, with their top defensive player in Rudy Gobert out for an extended time. That injury is a killer, and it will change everything about what the Jazz hope to do.
/Gobert goes down with a knee injury
Joe Ingles: “I will be the defensive player of the year now”
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) April 16, 2017
The side effect of the Bulls storming out to that lead against the Celtics is just how abysmal the Celtics rebounding has been. Al Horford has been worthless in the paint, and those Celtic small ball lineups are getting crushed on the boards. It’s a big reason why the Cs are trailing like they are, and it’s not something that can be fixed. There’s going to have to be a new focus for them to shift this thing back, and fast.
Even in playoff time, with them firmly out, we can’t escape the Knicks. Phil Jackson made some provocative comments this week that seemed to even further alienate his roster. He again called out Melo, saying he wants him elsewhere, and took his chance to criticize Porzingis, his future, by saying he shoots too many threes. In a weird way, I commend Phil for going down with his crazy ship.
Paul George Hits Teammates
Yeah, this won’t end badly.
CJ Miles when Paul George gave him the ball 💀 pic.twitter.com/a428QBS3Wu
— PinPoint Sports (@SportsPinPoint) April 15, 2017
Beverely’s Crazy Sequence
This guy just keeps getting up.
You cannot kill Patrick Beverley, even after death he re-spawns like that alien’s head from ‘Men in Black’ pic.twitter.com/SFE57dWnG9
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) April 17, 2017
Butler Sends Isaiah
Picking on the little man.
— ✶ Sports Mockery ✶ (@sportsmockery) April 17, 2017
Draymond Blocks Vonleh
DPOY steps up again.
Draymond Green blocks Noah Vonleh’s dunk pic.twitter.com/jrd3XDui33
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 16, 2017