Some thoughts on the NBA playoffs

Published 3:44 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2019

It’s about this time of year when I start paying attention to the NBA. For the first time in ages, the playoffs are pretty entertaining.

Both of the Eastern Conference Semifinals were a joy to watch, with the Philadelphia-Toronto series going all the way to Game 7.

Kawhi Leonard hit one of the craziest buzzer beater shots I’ve ever seen to lift the Raptors to a 92-90 win. The ball bounced four times on the rim before finally dropping. Most people (myself included) saw it happen on the highlight reels because we were watching the new Game of Thrones episode when it happened live, but it was still pretty incredible to see.

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Philly player Joel Embiid dropped his head in shame and walked away as Leonard was engulfed by a sea of teammates. Embiid had a weird series—it seemed like something was wrong with him every single game—but you can’t say the man isn’t passionate about playing and winning. The 76ers need to build around him better. The other players on the team seem like a mishmash of talent that simply doesn’t gel together.

The Raptors are now set to play the Bucks, who eliminated Boston in five games last week. The Celtics have a lot of business to iron out in the offseason—drama, drama, drama. It looked like they gave up, completely sick of each other and ready to end the season ASAP.

The Western Conference Finals will feature the Golden State Warriors—and nobody anywhere is surprised. They’ll take on Portland in Game 1 without Kevin Durant, who doesn’t appear to be as integral a piece as I thought after the Warriors were able to eliminate Houston without him.

Durant might be leaving for good anyways, along with much of the rest of the Warriors, after this season. Rumors are swirling that he’ll end up on the New York Knicks, along with Celtic Kyrie Irving and draftee Zion Williamson.

Williamson will be picked up in the NBA Draft Tuesday night, and I fully expect to see New York snag him. If he, Durant and Irving are together on the same team, I think they’ll quickly rise to be the new power in the East, once held down by whatever team LeBron James was on.

LeBron being out of the finals is actually kind of refreshing. Rather than hearing constant updates on what he’s doing, it’s nice to see the coverage spread out to most of the other teams.