We are one week into the NBA playoffs. Only one team has advanced.
During this past weekend, the teams with home court advantage became the road team.
1 Toronto Raptors vs. 8 Washington Wizards
With Drake out of the picture for Games 3 and 4 in Washington, the Wizards took advantage of being at home to tie the series at 2-2. The Wizards backcourt led the way in a Friday night Game 3. Bradley Beal found his shot; scoring 21 of his 28 points in the first half. John Wall matched Beal’s point total, to go along with 14 assists. Game 4 was no different. Beal led the way with 31 points and Wall tallied a double double with 27 points and 14 assists. The series is all about the all-star backcourts from each team. The Toronto Raptors’ Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry’s effort carried them at home, but not on the road. Of course, it helped the the Wizards played better. It is 100 percent likely that Drake will be courtside for Game 5 in Toronto on Wednesday, April 25. We’ll see if his sideline trolling of Washington can help the Raptors bounce back.
4 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 5 Indiana Pacers
The Cavaliers opened the series down 0-1, after a home loss in Game 1. LeBron James was asked if he was concerned about starting the series with a loss.
“I’m down 0-1 in the first round,” he said. “I was down 3-1 in the Finals. So I’m the last guy to ask about how you’re going to feel the next couple days.”
Being down in a series is far from unfamiliar territory for the 3-time NBA Champion. The Cavs bounced back in Game 2 behind James’s 46 point effort, but loss a close one in Game 3 to trail 2-1 in the series. The Indiana Pacers received a spark from Bojan Bogdanovic. The Pacers’ Forward has come alive in this first round with hot 3 point shooting. James logged in 46 minutes, 32 points and 13 rebounds in a 4 point win in Game 4 to even the series at 2-2. Game 5 will be in Cleveland on Wednesday, April 25. LeBron is averaging a playoff high, 43 minutes per game in the series. He leads all players in minutes to start the playoffs.
1 Boston Celtics vs. 8 Milwaukee Bucks
The series is tied at 2-2. In a close Game 4, Buck’s star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, iced the game with a late tip in with under 6 seconds left on the clock. The Greek Freak scored a team high 27 points. In the game’s final possession, Boston’s Marcus Morris, missed the possible game winning shot. The young players on the Celtics have stepped up tremendously in the absence of Kyrie Irving. Jaylen Brown scored a game high 34 points, while rookie, Jayson Tatum, scored 21 points. As the series shifts to Boston for a Game 5, it will be interesting to see who steps up on each team. Look out for a big game from one of the Celtic’s rising stars.
3 Philadelphia 76ers vs. 6 Miami Heat
The Sixers routed the Heat in Game 1, but Dwayne Wade turned back the clock in Game 2 to help the Heat even the series at 1-1. One would think that home court advantage would help the Heat. It didn’t. Joel Embiid returned, masked on, and led a 20 point win with 23 points in Game 3. In a chippy Game 4, Rookie of the Year, candidate, Ben Simmons had the first playoff triple-double by a rookie in nearly 40 years. Hopefully D Wade and company can come together to force a Game 6. The Sixers will have the chance to advance in Game 5 at home on Tuesday, April 24.