2021 NBA Playoffs Hub

Welcome to the Baseline Times 2021 NBA Playoffs Hub! Your go-to for all of the 2021 NBA Playoffs schedule, scores, and more from our dedicated NBA team here at Baseline Times.

The 2021 NBA Playoffs tip-off on May 22, 2021. The Play-in Tournament will run from May 18th – May 21st, 2021.

2021 NBA Playoffs – Conference Semifinals Series schedule, scores, and more

Conference Semifinals Series

First Round Series

Conference Semifinals Series

First Round Series

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Podcasts

Daily staff picks

2021 NBA Playoffs: West Conference Semifinals – (2) Phoenix Suns vs (3) Denver Nuggets

West Conference Semifinals: (2) Phoenix Suns vs (3) Denver Nuggets – Series preview

(2) Phoenix Suns

Well despite being called an “underdog” as the 2nd seed in the Western Conference and having to hear that the Lakers are poised for a strong championship defensive run the Suns are here. Devin Booker who should be considered Phoenix’s best player is a huge reason why. Defensively, the Suns got a break in not having to see Anthony Davis for a game and a half. However, credit is due where it is deserved because the Suns defense seems to be peaking at the right time.

Chris Paul the motor of the Suns and Booker is the star ready to excel his team to the next level. On the defensive side for Denver, there is a little bit better size in Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon to defend Booker. I’d imagine that JaMychal Green and if Michael Malone needs Shaquille Harrison are deep into the bench for additional reinforcements. However, I’m riding with the hot hand here and trusting that Booker has learned a thing or two now that he’s won a playoff series. Still advantage Phoenix that Booker isn’t done.

Where the Suns might struggle is obviously defending Nikola Jokic. In Denver’s first-round series against Portland, Jokic changed his game slightly to be more of a scorer. In six games he averaged 33 points a game while only averaging 4.5 assists per game. His regular-season averages were 26.4 points per game and 8.3 assists per game. This might not even mean anything but the fact that if Phoenix decides to double team Jokic, he’s already kind of a good passer? DeAndre Ayton could make a huge case here should he be able to go down the line of the West’s best big men and defeat them.

(3) Denver Nuggets

Now if you really have been following along with my previews I think I hit the nail on the head here. First, the Nuggets needed much support from their backcourt of Monte Morris, Facundo Campazzo, and Austin Rivers. Now, I did say that Rivers would be an underrated pick-up in that Denver-Portland preview. Sure enough, hitting clutch shots and having veteran IQ on defending Damian Lillard.

Second, I also have mentioned that to me Jamal Murray is a great player I really like. BUT I think his game isn’t too hard to replace as a scoring guard. Monte Morris comes into this series and averages 15.3 points per game, 5.8 assists per game, and shooting the ball 44-percent from the field this Playoffs. Now that’s no way in hell close to Jamal Murray’s playoffs series last year against the Jazz in the first round. However, in Game 6 Morris’ 22 points, 9 assists, and 50-percent shooting from the field was a key part of closing out the series. I like to see signs of how teams and certain players react to close out games. If Morris is that motivated he’s going to need to take that up a notch with Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Cameron Payne, and Mikal Bridges on the other end. Another big challenge against another big star in the Western Conference.

Lastly, I think the Nuggets adjust so well to the loss of Murray and understand with a playmaker like Jokic they’ll have to work a little harder on offense. However, it’s a game of sharing the wealth for them. Against Portland, Michael Porter Jr. averaged 18.8 points per game, Aaron Gordon averaged 12.5 points per game, and Austin Rivers averaged 11.5 points per game playing more than Campazzo in the series. Denver’s success in this series relies heavily upon how their backcourt will combat Booker and Paul’s attempts to blow open the scoring punch from themselves or assisting others.

Top players to watch

Devin Booker – First Round vs Los Angeles Lakers

  • 29.7 PPG
  • 6.2 RPG
  • 5.0 APG

Nikola Jokic – First Round vs Portland

  • 33.0 PPG
  • 10.5 RPG
  • 4.5 APG

Where should the money go?

DENVER IN 6 for me. I may be slightly salty that the Suns put an end to maybe another historic LeBron James playoff run but I’m here for this series. This should be one of the most entertaining series in terms of passing and hopefully shooting. Both teams have solid three-point shooters and arguably top 3 of the 5 best playmakers actively in the NBA right now (Jokic & Paul).

The interesting part here is that the chess match of a series could boil down to a few scenarios. Both teams could play to their defensive strengths and really make this series a chess match. How well does Ayton adapt to playing more on the perimeter against Jokic? Unless you plan to throw Cameron Johnson or Dario Saric at him. The strategic playmaking skills of Nikola Jokic and Chris Paul combined with role players thriving is a series that could also end up in high-scoring affairs. I’d take anything over 218 or more for this series.

I have a hard time imagining that the Nuggets will drop one by 30 points like the Los Angeles Lakers did against Phoenix in the first round. For the most part, these games should be closer in terms of the spread. Phoenix seems to have no problem often covering any favorable spread of 6 or more points.

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1:

PHX leads series 1-0

6/07

10:00 PM ET

TNT

Nuggets - 105

Suns -122

Game 2:

PHX leads series 2-0

6/09

9:30 PM ET

TNT

Nuggets - 98 Suns - 123

Game 3:
PHX leads series 3-0

6/11

10:00 PM ET

ESPN

Suns - 113
Nuggets - 102


Game 4:
PHX wins series 4-0

6/13

8:00 PM ET

TNT

Suns - 125
Nuggets - 118

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2021 NBA Playoffs: West First Round – (4) Los Angeles Clippers vs (5) Dallas Mavericks

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1:
DAL leads 1-0

5/22/21

4:30 PM EST

ESPN

Mavericks - 113
Clippers - 103

Game 2:
DAL leads 2-0

5/25/21

10:30 PM EST

NBATV

Mavericks - 127
Clippers - 121

Game 3:
DAL leads 2-1

5/28/21


9:30 PM EST

ESPN

Clippers - 118
Mavericks - 108

Game 4: Series tied 2-2


5/30/21

9:30 PM EST

TNT

Clippers- 106 Mavericks - 81

Game 5:
DAL leads 3-2

6/2/21

10:00 PM ET

TNT

Mavericks - 105
Clippers - 100

Game 6:
Series tied 3-3

6/4/21

9:00 PM ET

ESPN

Clippers - 104
Mavericks - 97


Game 7
LAC wins series 4-3

6/6/21

3:30 PM ET

ABC

Mavericks - 111
Clippers - 126

West First Round – (4) Los Angeles Clippers vs (5) Dallas Mavericks – Series preview

(4) Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers have had a quiet season by their finishing 4th in the West. They made quick work of the Mavericks in the playoffs including two blowouts for a 4-2 series win. This season they are in the top 10 in both offense and defense and look to right the wrongs of last season’s debacle. Paul George has been sharp all season while Leonard suited up only 51 times. The area of exploitation where the Clippers can excel is the interior if Zubac was a bit more consistent. The Mavs are a rotating door of big men who each possess a certain skill while none exhibit anything remotely complete. Getting Serge Ibaka back after an extended layoff from back issues would prove clutch. This is the Clippers’ series to lose which they might if Doc Rivers was still on the bench. 

(5) Dallas Mavericks

Beating the Clippers by 51 points in January and winning the season series with both Leonard and George playing is a huge confidence booster. Dorian Finney-Smith, shot 39% from 3 this season, and Maxi Kleber at 41% which kept defenses honest defending Luka. Kristaps Porzingis was also effective against the Clippers when healthy averaging 16 & 11 in two meetings this season. However, the playoffs are where the Clippers need Porzingis to be at his best with his size. Luka was the sole reason that Dallas won any playoff games vs the Clippers last season. He is toughness was often tested by Marcus Morris that lead to some intense moments. Hard to read this Mavericks team overall as they tend to play to the level of competition good or bad. 

Top players to watch

Luka Doncic: 2020-2021 season

  • 27.7 PPG
  • 8.0 RPG
  • 8.6 APG

Kawhi Leonard: 2020-2021 season

  • 24.8 PPG
  • 6.5 RPG
  • 5.2 APG

Where should the money go?

The 4 seed for the Clippers is a bit misleading as they are better than their record indicates. Let’s not forget that the Mavericks struggled to claw their way back up into the playoff picture after flirting with the possibility of the play-in tournament. 

CLIPPERS 

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2021 NBA Playoffs: West First Round – (2) Phoenix Suns vs (7) Los Angeles Lakers

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1:
PHX leads 1-0

5/23/21

3:30 PM EST

ABC

Lakers - 90
Suns - 99

Game 2:
Series tied 1-1

5/25/21

10:00 PM EST

TNT

Lakers - 109
Suns - 102

Game 3:
LAL leads 2-1


5/27/21

10:00 PM EST

TNT

Suns - 95
Lakers - 109

Game 4:
Series tied 2-2

5/30/21


3:30 PM EST

ABC

Suns - 100
Lakers - 92

Game 5:
PHX leads 3-2

6/1/21

10:00 PM ET

TNT

Lakers - 85
Suns - 115

Game 6:
PHX wins series 4-2

6/3/21

10:30 PM ET

TNT

Suns - 113
Lakers - 100

Game 5 Notes:

Where should the money go?

West First Round – (2) Phoenix Suns vs (7) Los Angeles Lakers – Series preview

(2) Phoenix Suns

For the first time ever LeBron James will Chris Paul in a playoffs series. The strange part of this is that Suns perhaps are going to be the underdogs as a higher seed. It always seems like Paul is on the bad end of the stick in terms of the path to a championship. The last time he was remotely close was in 2017-2018 for the Houston Rockets, however, sat out Game 6 and 7 against the Warriors to watch his team lose in the Western Conference Finals.

Next, the Suns are also a team that deserves its respect and admiration for competing this season. Securing the 2nd seed in the Western Conference isn’t always as easy for the entire season. Devin Booker is arguably the Suns best player averaging 25.6 points per game on 48-percent shooting.

What the Suns would have to do to complete a successful series is find a way to stabilize Anthony Davis. Quite frankly their roster says DeAndre Ayton, Frank Kaminsky, and Dario Šarić? This is their biggest disadvantage coming into the series and should be highlighted as to why they’re underdogs.

(7) Los Angeles Lakers

Bring on the doubt, questioning Lebron’s ankle, and Anthony Davis’ health. That’s what came out of the 2021 Play-in Tournament game from last week Wednesday against the Warriors. It was a Lebron James three-point field goal that sealed the deal on the 7th seed for the Lakers. In hindsight, the Warriors aren’t even headed to the Playoffs after losing Game 6 of the Play-in Tournament.

This Los Angeles team may have a few moments of rust, growing pains, or whatever you wanted to call them. This is a team and a series that the regular season will hold no bearing during the playoffs. The Warriors once led the Lakers by 13 in the Play-in Game 4 but the 1st and 2nd half of the game was different for the Lakers. Los Angeles shot 33-percent from the field in the first half and 49-percent in the second half.

Let’s face it, any team expecting back a healthy James and Davis should be heavily favored in the Western Conference. Are the Lakers going to sweep? Probably not. However, this is a better series for them instead of losing the Play-in games and seeing Utah in the first round.



Top players to watch

Chris Paul: 2020-2021 season

  • 16.4 PPG
  • 4.5 RPG
  • 8.9 APG

LeBron James: 2020-2021 season

  • 25.0 PPG
  • 7.7 RPG
  • 7.8 APG

Podcasts

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2021 NBA Playoffs: West First Round – (3) Denver Nuggets vs (6) Portland Trailblazers

Daily staff picks

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1:
POR leads 1-0


5/22/21

10:30 PM EST

ESPN

Blazers - 123

Nuggets - 109

Game 2:
Series tied 1-1


5/24/21

10:00 PM ET

TNT

Blazers - 109 Nuggets - 128

Game 3:
DEN leads 2-1

5/27/21

10:30 PM ET

NBATV

Nuggets - 120 
Blazers - 115

Game 4:
Series tied 2-2

5/29/21

4:00 PM ET

TNT

Nuggets - 95 
Blazers - 115

Game 5:
DEN leads 3-2

6/1/21

9:00 PM ET

NBA TV

Blazers - 140
Nuggets - 147

Game 6:
DEN wins series 4-2

6/3/21

8:00 PM ET

TNT

Nuggets - 126 
Blazers - 115

West First Round – (3) Denver Nuggets vs (6) Portland Trailblazers – Series preview

(3) Denver Nuggets

All hail my MVP pick for the 2020-2021 season Nikola Jokic. Yes, I’m aware that folks think this is the WORSE of years for the NBA MVP race. That is sadly unfortunate. We hold Wilt Chamberlain to this high regard and when Jokic’s name pops up next to his that’s now an issue? Regardless, the Nuggets rightfully earned their spot as the third-best team in the Western Conference. This was largely due to Jokic’s presence and ability to stay on the floor for EVERY game in the Nuggets’ regular season.

Their season follows up losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in last year’s Western Conference Finals. Somehow someway the Nuggets forced themselves back from 3-1 deficits against the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers. The 2020 Playoffs, played in the Orlando campus, dubbed the Nuggets as the “underrated” team. However, this season the tables have turned as the expectation is higher. Down guard, Jamal Murray to a season-ending injury the biggest question is finding scoring from the backcourt.

The beautiful part of Jokic’s game is that he plays as a facilitator towards his teammates. However, without Murray’s scoring ability either Gary Harris, Monte Morris, and Will Barton will all be included with expectations to shoot well or give Denver a well-balanced offensive output from their backcourt. This excludes the bigger challenge for Denver and that’s defending Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum on the defensive end. Enter in Austin Rivers who isn’t the most sought-after free agent but a backcourt player that is low risk and high reward in moments he can defend and hit shots.

(6) Portland Trailblazers

The injury bug never seems to ignore Portland year after year. C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic missed significant time this season. Yet, the Blazers carried on with Damian Lillard and secured a playoff berth by clinching the 6th seed. The Blazers ended last season by waving the white flag to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2020 Western Conference Playoffs series. I say that due to the fact that Dame Time didn’t even play in Game 5 of that series. This year, the Blazers also avoided the Play-in Tournament. A trip down memory lane can tell you that Lillard was passionate about returning to play the 2020 season finish under the condition he could have a shot to make the playoffs.

Last year’s NBA bubble finish to win over the 8th seed from the Memphis Grizzlies was the first time we saw some sort of requirement to lock in a seed in NBA history. While Portland made sure to capitalize on the seeding games they never turned the corner to compete more with the eventual champions Los Angeles Lakers. After a 5 game series and early exit home, what do we have in store for 2021?

Portland enters its 8th straight playoffs (Lillard’s as well), and the best they have to show is a winless Western Conference Finals series against the Warriors in the 2018-2019 season.

Top players to watch

Damian Lillard: 2020-2021 season

  • 28.8 PPG
  • 4.2 RPG
  • 7.5 APG

Nikola Jokic: 2020-2021 season

  • 26.4 PPG
  • 10.8 RPG
  • 8.3 APG

Where should the money go?

The toughest part of the Western Conference is determining how well teams like Denver and Portland will come out during the playoffs. Both teams to me are equally matched and we know two incredible players like Jokic and Lillard are out for vengeance from last year.

This series should build similar excitement from Denver’s series against Utah in last year’s 2020 Playoff run. A foreseeable ping pong match where teams may not get a one-up on each other until later in the series. Will Barton has been ruled out of Game 1 for the Nuggets and it’s the next man up. The scary thing for Portland and according to my “defense wins championships” bias is that Portland ranks at the bottom of the league in Team Defensive Rating. It doesn’t mean they can’t outscore the Nuggets but I wouldn’t be surprised if Portland drops a game by double-digits in this series.

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2021 NBA Playoffs: East First Round – (4) New York Knicks vs (5) Atlanta Hawks

Where should the money go?

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1:
ATL leads 1-0

5/23/21

7:00 PM EST

TNT

Hawks - 107
Knicks - 105

Game 2:
Series tied 1-1

5/26/21

7:30 PM EST

TNT

Hawks -  92
Knicks - 101

Game 3:
ATL leads 2-1

5/28/21

7:00 PM EST

ESPN

Knicks - 94
Hawks -  105

Game 4:
ATL leads 3-1

5/30/21

1:00 PM EST

ABC

Knicks - 96
Hawks -  113

Game 5:
ATL wins series 4-1

6/02/21

7:30 PM ET

TNT

Hawks -  103
Knicks - 89

East First Round – (4) New York Knicks vs (5) Atlanta Hawks – Series preview

(4) New York Knicks

Did anyone expect the Knicks to be winning anything over 20 games in the shortened 70 game season? Probably not a lot of you but hell, here we are! I am all for it let’s go Knicks nation! Enter in Tom Thibodeau and the second season of Julius Randle in a Knicks uniform.

The Knicks are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA this season and that isn’t surprising being led by Thibodeau. New York’s ability to stand out all season long was by becoming a gritty defensive team that leans on Randle to put them over the top in the close moments.

Derrick Rose joined the Knicks in a midseason trade and the reunion with Thibbs from their Chicago days reincarnated some brief success in New York. The biggest question for the Knicks in this series is going to be point guard play. Defensively, the Knicks are going to be tested by Trae Young’s ability to penetrate and get into the paint. Depending on how well they defend this the sky is the limit for the Knicks in this series.

(5) Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks are a feel-good story for the league. After starting the season with Head Coach Lloyd Pierce and finishing with Nate McMillan the coaching change WORKED! Atlanta locks up the 5th seed after a slow start to their season. In their final eight regular season games, they went 7-1.

Trae Young finally gets his first stab at the playoffs in his third year (and perhaps a year he may have been snubbed as an All-Star). He averages 8.7 free throw attempts per game and this could be a point to watch if he’s able to get into the interior of the Knicks on defense.

Lastly, the bright spot for the Hawks is that their best player Young averaged 24.7 points, 12.0 assists, and 2.3 rebounds in 3 games versus the Knicks this season. Currently, the Hawks are running a 4-game win streak into the Playoffs and one of the better teams in the month of May and 7-3 in their last 10 games.

Top players to watch

Julius Randle – 2020-2021 season

  • 24.1 PPG
  • 10.2 RPG
  • 6.0 APG

Trae Young: 2020-2021 season

  • 25.3 PPG
  • 3.9 RPG
  • 9.4 APG

2021 NBA Playoffs: East First Round – (1) Philadelphia 76ers vs (8) Washington Wizards

Where should the money go?

East First Round – (1) Philadelphia 76ers vs (8) Washington Wizards – Series preview

(1) Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia enters in the season with a new coach in Doc Rivers and a few key additions such as Danny Green, Dwight Howard, and Seth Curry. It seems to be making all the world of a difference post-Brett Brown. A team that never lost its top spot in the Eastern Conference and clinched the first seed. The 76ers are one of the best defensive teams rated in the NBA this season.

Joel Embiid is an MVP candidate and Ben Simmons is a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year. That’s two All-Stars on one team playing at an elite level over the rest of the league in the same season. Embiid’s likelihood of averaging 35 points a game this series or more is very likely.

The odds of the Wizards defending Embiid and the paint effectively can be thrown out the window. There is nothing creative or perplexing that the 76ers will have to do in this series to win. That’s even considering that Russell Westbrook is on the other side of the spectrum as the Triple-Double King.

(8) Washington Wizards

This series took almost an entire week and two games for the Wizards to arrive at the 8th seed. They come in as the underwhelming underdogs and it is straightforward from me here. The Wizards are looking for a miracle, heart, and hustle, and maybe the help of a good shooting night a few times in this series.

Their defensive scheme to combat Joel Embiid will be Alex Len, Davis Bertans, Daniel Gafford? That might work to rotate the fouls and attempts to bother Embiid’s dominance. Wizards Head Coach, Scott Brooks made a comment after the team’s loss to the Celtics last Tuesday night. He alluded to the fact that his team does not shoot the three-ball well then, their best effort was to try and get to the free-throw line more often in the game (and they did not enough against the Celtics in Game 2 of the 2021 NBA Play-in Tournament.

Furthermore, the top 3 teams that averaged the most free throws in the season? Washington with 26.2 attempts per game while Philadelphia averaged 25.5 free throws per game in the regular season. Scott Brooks better come up with another game plan if the free throw shooting doesn’t pan out in his favor.

Top players to watch

Joel Embiid: 2020-2021 season

  • 28.5 PPG
  • 10.6 RPG
  • 2.8 APG

Russell Westbrook: 2020-2021 season

  • 22.2 PPG
  • 11.5 RPG
  • 11.7 APG

Where should the money go?

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1:
PHI leads 1-0

5/23/21

1:00 PM ET

TNT

Wizards - 118
76ers - 125

Game 2:
PHI leads 2-0

5/26/21

7:00 PM ET

NBA TV

Wizards - 95
76ers - 120

Game 3:
PHI leads 3-0

5/29/21

7:00 PM ET

ESPN

76ers - 132 Wizards - 103

Game 4:
PHI leads 3-1

5/31/21

7:00 PM ET

TNT

76ers - 114 
Wizards - 122

Game 5:
PHI wins series 4-1

6/02/21

7:00 PM ET

TBD

Wizards - 112
76ers - 129

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2021 NBA Playoffs: West First Round – (1) Utah Jazz vs (8) Memphis Grizzlies

Where should the money go

West First Round – (1) Utah Jazz vs (8) Memphis Grizzlies – Series preview

(1) Utah Jazz

The BEST team in the NBA at least according to the season standings. The Jazz is a team that has completely not left off from their bubble run. Last year’s West First Round saw them losing a very close Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets. Enter in this season and Rudy Gobert is still a Defensive Player of the Year award candidate and Quin Snyder should be Coach of the Year depending on who you talk to.

They also have potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jordan Clarkson who averaged 18.4 points per game in the regular season. This came as the primary first man off the bench for the Jazz and an added scorer next to Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell’s game to me hasn’t taken any kind of extreme improvement and you can tell on paper. However, the best thing is he’s still the Jazz primarily go-to player for a basket. The big moments and big shots are what Mitchell supports on a team that defensively is just really tough. With that being said one of the biggest question marks here is if the Jazz can’t defend the three-point ball. Then they are in trouble. However, does Memphis pose a series three-point threat? Nope. Jazz in 5 at the most.

(8) Memphis Grizzlies

We have to kind of think of this year’s 8th seed as being unique. Technically, in the old NBA rules, the Grizzlies would be sitting at home because they failed to qualify as a top 8 seed in the Western Conference. Their commitment to go out and “steal” the 8th seed from the Golden State Warriors on Friday night gave all the reason in the world we should be ok with the Grizzlies here.

I think it’s time to stop letting the names like Zion Williamson distract us from a guy named Ja Morant. In his short NBA career himself with the Grizzlies he’s kept the franchise close to playoff talk since his Rookie season. Albeit, that was last season the Grizzlies maintained themselves in the 8th seed until the NBA bubble decided otherwise. A little bad faith in losing Jaren Jackson Jr. (who just returned and played 10 regular-season games this season) and the Trailblazers knocking them out of the 8th seed last year makes this year even better.

I’ve advised that younger players in the NBA generally do not make much of an impact early on in their careers and especially prior to the age of 25. However, Ja Morant has me rooting for him to curve that by a year or two, and let’s see the Grizzlies become a contender! Wishful thinking from me but nonetheless this is the best start for Morant’s young career.

Top players to watch

Donovan Mitchell: 2020-2021 season

  • 26.4 PPG
  • 4.4 RPG
  • 5.2 APG

Ja Morant: 2020-2021 season

  • 19.1 PPG
  • 4.0RPG
  • 7.4 APG

Podcasts

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1:
MEM leads 1-0

5/23/21

9:30 PM EST

TNT

Grizzlies - 112
Jazz - 109

Game 2:
Series tied 1-1

5/26/21

10:00 PM ET

TNT

Grizzlies - 129
Jazz - 141

Game 3:
UTA leads 2-1

5/29/21

9:30 PM ET

ESPN

Jazz - 121
Grizzlies - 111

Game 4:
UTA leads 3-1

5/31/21

9:30 PM ET

TNT

Jazz - 120
Grizzlies - 113

Game 5:
UTA wins series 4-1

6/2/21

9:30 PM ET

NBA TV

Grizzlies - 110
Jazz - 126

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2021 NBA Playoffs: East First Round – (2) Brooklyn Nets vs (7) Boston Celtics

Daily Staff Picks

East First Round – (2) Brooklyn Nets vs (7) Boston Celtics – Series preview

(2) Brooklyn Nets

I don’t know where to really write to you about what a season the Brooklyn Nets got themselves into. However, I can say it made out all the better for them to this point. First-year Head Coach, Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni sitting on his bench. Ah, the Head Coach that led James Harden and the Rockets? Yep, the same guy. Let’s get these names out the way next like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Blake Griffin. There is a lot of hardware and rings gloating around these names.

Here is the thing. I know folks are wary of Brooklyn early on in the playoffs and some of it is just wishful thinking that Brooklyn is very vulnerable. The only thing to me that makes this team vulnerable is the fact of health. But you could literally say that about any other team, right? Well, that’s the point. A healthy Nets team is one that the regular season never saw. Another thing I wouldn’t question? How well KD, Kyrie, and Harden play together. At this point in their careers, the experience and success are a nod to favor them even more.

The Nets had a rotating roster of All-Stars in and out of the season and still secured the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference. The Nets also managed to finish one game behind the 76ers for the 1st seed and had the 4th best record in the 2020-2021 NBA season.

(7) Boston Celtics

Boston spent Tuesday night tooling around with the Wizards just to prove that Jayson Tatum can help you win ball games without his right-hand man Jaylen Brown. Not that we needed to be proven any further but something about a Play-in Tournament. Anyways, as the 7th seed BEFORE the tournament and after the tournament the Celtics are faced with one of the toughest series one can imagine. The three-headed monster of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden. Should they have swallowed some pride and “tank” for the 8th seed against Philadelphia instead?

Brad Stevens after beating the Wizards said, “It’s really hard to make the NBA playoffs,” Stevens said. “Those guys are the best of the best. Going into that, if I’m a fan, a general fan of the NBA, I have a hard time seeing them lose.” Now your Head Coach is probably being brutally honest but I’m here for it. You know you’re down one of your All-Stars in Jaylen Brown. Stevens understands his team isn’t the best team on paper against Brooklyn.

Do we say Boston takes one or two games? Evan Fournier enters the chat as the next best potential scorer for the Celtics behind their top two available players Tatum and Kemba Walker. The frontcourt for the Celtics features Tatum, Tristian Thompson, Grant Williams, and Aaron Nesmith to potentially slow down the Nets super team. The glaring hole in size for the Celtics and loss of Jaylen Brown makes up for the disappointing year for Boston.



Top players to watch

Jayson Tatum: 2020-2021 season

  • 26.4 PPG
  • 7.4 RPG
  • 4.3 APG

Kevin Durant: 2020-2021 season

  • 26.9 PPG
  • 7.1 RPG
  • 5.6 APG

Where should the money go?

The Brooklyn NETS – in 4

Let’s keep this short and sweet and move on to the next round. I’m hungry for the Giannis vs KD showdowns we got a preview of last month.

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1:
BKN leads 1-0

5/22/21

8:00 PM ET

ABC

Celtics - 93
Nets - 104

Game 2:
BKN leads 2-0

5/25/21

7:30 PM ET

TNT

Celtics - 108
Nets - 130

Game 3:
BKN leads 2-1

5/28/21

8:30 PM ET

ABC

Nets - 119
Celtics - 125

Game 4: BKN leads 3-1

5/30/21

7:00 PM ET

TNT

Nets - 141
Celtics - 126

Game 5:
BKN wins series 4-1

6/01/21

7:30 PM ET

TNT

Celtics - 109
Nets - 123

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2021 NBA Playoffs: East First Round – (3) Milwaukee Bucks vs (6) Miami Heat

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1: MIL leads 1-0

5/22/21

2:00 PM EST

ESPN

Heat - 107
Bucks - 109

Game 2:
MIL Leads 2-0

5/24/21

7:30 PM EST

TNT

Heat - 98
Bucks - 132

Game 3:
MIL leads 3-0

5/27/21

7:30 PM EST

TNT

Heat - 84
Bucks - 113

Game 4: MIL wins series 4-0


5/29/21

1:30 PM EST

TNT

Bucks - 120 Heat - 103


East First Round – (3) Milwaukee Bucks vs (6) Miami Heat – Series preview

(3) Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks kick off the playoffs seeking redemption against a struggling Miami Heat squad after an early playoff exit. Milwaukee won the season series 2-1 with Giannis earning a triple double in the one loss. In order to right last season’s wrong, they will need to shore up the defense as they are currently ranked 22nd overall.  The Bucks average the second fastest pace in the league and will need that ball movement to keep the HEAT guessing on Defense. Milwaukee has also been excellent on pick and rolls with Jrue and Giannis scoring 1.05 points per possession. 

(6) Miami Heat

The Miami Heat have struggled all season alternating wins and losses with regularity. However, Jimmy Butler was absent in all three meetings against the Bucks. The HEAT will have to hang their hat on their 8th ranked defense if they hope to upset the Bucks again. Miami is finding its stride at the right time winning five of their last 6 games to end the regular season. New acquisition Trevor Ariza is shooting 32.5% from 3 after early season struggles. Nunn will also be called upon more offensively with more experience under his belt and can also drain the deep ball. However, containing Milwaukee in the paint is key to victory in this series as they are ranked 5th in points allowed. 

Top players to watch

Jimmy Butler – 2020-2021 season

  • 21.5 PPG
  • 6.9 RPG
  • 7.1 APG

Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • 21.8 PPG
  • 11.0 RPG
  • 5.9 APG

Where should the money go?

Last season the Bucks got killed by the three-ball. The culprit in that was Jae Crowder who shot lights out against them. He’s since been shipped to Phoenix. The HEAT is ranked 18th offensively this season and lost some of its luster from beyond the arc. Goran has regressed, Olynyk was traded while Herro has struggled all season with his newfound celebrity status. 

BUCKS 

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