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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Projected Team USA Olympic Basketball Men’s Roster 2021 (2020)

Alright, alright, let’s cut to the chase. You’re here to see who’ll be on Team USA men’s basketball roster for this upcoming Olympics. Maybe your NBA team is out of the playoffs, maybe it’s not looking good for them in the first round, or maybe you’re just a fan of seeing big-bad Team USA beat up on the little guy (if so, you probably are also a big fan of Cobra-Kai, Regina George, and Draco Malfoy). Team USA released 57 finalists in March but that is nowhere near specific enough as only 12 will make the final roster. We, of course, can’t just take the 12 best American players either because a number of guys will opt out due to injuries, age/recovery, other commitments, etc. Given all that, what will the final 12 man squad look like?

The average age of the 2016 Team USA squad was 26.8 at the conclusion of the Olympics and the Dream Team’s average age was roughly 29. I think this year we will see an even younger average as players have had to deal with the rigors of the 2020 bubble and the delayed 2021 NBA season that might not end until July 22. This is more than a month past usual and only one day prior to the Opening Ceremony of the 2020/2021 Olympic Games. Older players, the injured, and those who make deep NBA playoff runs will be more likely to opt out or be forced out due to injury. So, that likely leaves a younger, unproven (in Olympic play) squad unless Team USA Olympic Demigod Carmelo decides to give it one more run at 37 years old. Never say never when it comes to Carmelo and the Olympics.

Guards

  • Steph Curry, GS Warriors / Davidson – 33 YO
  • Dame Lillard, Portland Trailblazers / Weber State – 30 YO
  • Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz / Louisville- 24 YO

The guards are very offensively focused, but the bigs will cure a lot of their defensive deficiencies. And who are we kidding? This is the Olympics… we want to see dudes drop an alley-oop on some dude from Lichtenstein (or in the case of these guards pull up from half court). Curry is the elder statesmen of this group at 33 years old but he does not have an Olympic Gold under his belt. The Warriors also did not make the NBA Playoffs this year after losing the play-in tournament. Seems like the time is ripe for Chef Curry to stir the international pot. Dame is similarly on the older side but also does not yet have an Olympic Gold. Mitchell is a young gun who’ll likely jump at the chance to play as long as he’s healthy and he was on the 2019 World Cup team. He could get booted if Kyrie decides to play but he’s already got a gold medal and the Nets look likely to play in the Finals.

Wings

  • Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers / SDSU – 29 YO
  • Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns / UK – 24 YO
  • Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards / UF – 27 YO
  • Zach LaVine, Chi Bulls / UCLA – 26 YO
  • Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics / Duke – 23 YO

Again one clear elder statesman in Kawhi, but he has already stated that his plan is to play in the Olympics this year. And it is looking more and more likely that his Clippers will make an early exit from the playoffs so he will have time enough to rest and rehab prior to the start of the Olympics. The rest of this group has no Olympic experience either and likely will not make deep runs in the NBA playoffs (aside from perhaps Booker). The Celtic’s Jaylen Brown would have made the cut here but he’ll be rehabbing a torn ligament in his left wrist.

Bigs

  • Zion Williamson, NO Pelicans / Duke – 20 YO
  • Andre Drummond, LA Lakers / UConn – 27 YO
  • Myles Turner, Ind Pacers / Texas – 25 YO
  • Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat / UK – 23 YO

Drummond has a chance to make the NBA Finals so he could opt out. However, he’s young enough that he could play both and he left the 2016 Olympic running amid some uncertainty after playing on the 2014 World Cup squad. Something tells me that he has not scratched the Olympic itch quite yet. Zion and Bam are no brainers here. Turner is a great defensive addition and was also on the 2019 World Cup team so it seems he’d be inclined to play.

Team USA Make-Up

The above roster would have an average age of 25.9, probably below any other USA Olympic basketball team since they started playing NBA players with the original Dream Team. (I’m not really sure, I didn’t bother to look up all of the ages). The team would also have no Olympic experience but they will have two of the more seasoned point guards alive in Steph and Dame. I don’t think that the rest really matters when the talent gap between them and the rest of the world is so large. This would be a fun squad for Coach Pop to mold with the mix of the youth and would be able to shoot the lights out of the gym. This could go down as the best shooting Olympic squad of all time.

I’m sure that the final Team USA roster will not look exactly like this. One or two of the old-guard like Harden, Durant, Butler, PG13, or Kyrie will probably opt into playing. One or two of the projected guys will probably opt out due to a deep playoff run, injury, recovery, etc. Guys like Steph and Dame who are older but have never played in the Olympics maybe just don’t want to?

Team USA Depth Chart

This would make the starting five (not that it really matters for Team USA) look something like this:

  1. Steph
  2. Kawhi
  3. Tatum
  4. Zion
  5. Bam

In which case the depth chart would be:

#StarterDepthDepth
1StephDameMitchell
2KawhiBealBooker
3TatumLaVine 
4ZionTurner 
5BamDrummond 
Team USA Projected Depth Chart

This is, of course, Team USA we’re talking about here. They could go big or small if they have too. For pure small-ball point barrage Beal could easily get the start at the two and push Zion or Bam to the bench depending on minutes. They can really do whatever they want. We will find out how this all shakes out by late July!


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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Shoot or Pass Podcast – 2021 NBA Playoffs Preview

Playoffs? You talkin’ about PLAYOFFS?! Yeah, we’re talkin’ playoffs! Gabe’s off on load management, but Chevy and Rhoby are here to give you the ultimate first-round playoff preview! Will there be any sweeps in the first round (09:25)? What team has the toughest road to the playoffs (10:45)? What underdog (aside from the Lakers) has the best chance of pulling off an upset (14:40)? What series will go 7 games (17:10)? They break down the x-factors and share their predictions for each first-round series (20:05) and declare their STUDS & DUDS of the play-in tournament (50:50)

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More NBA coverage from Baseline Times Media



2021 NBA Play-in Tournament Hub

The time has come! While we are consistently reminded how this play-in tournament works and players like LeBron James not in favor of this tournament we’ve arrived still. The 2021 NBA Play-in tournament preview is here to guide you through the roller coaster of excitement before the true 2021 NBA Playoffs get started on May 22nd, 2021.

2021 NBA Play-in Tournament Preview – Click here to listen on your favorite podcast platform!

2021 NBA Play-in Tournament schedule

Tuesday, May 18, 2021:

Game

Away

Home

Time (EST)

TV

Results

1

10

9

6:30 PM

TNT

Hornets - 117
Pacers - 144

2

8

7

9:00 PM

TNT

Wizards - 100
Celtics - 118

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Game

Away

Home

Time (EST)

TV

Results

3

10

9

7:30 PM

ESPN

Spurs - 96
Grizzlies - 100

4

8

7

10:00 PM

ESPN

Warriors- 100
Lakers - 103

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Wizards clinch 8th seed in Eastern Conference

Game

Away

Home

Results

5

9

8

Pacers - 115
Wizards - 142

Friday, May 21, 2021

Grizzlies clinch 8th seed in Western Conference

Game

Away

Home

Results

6

9

8

Grizzlies - 117
Warriors - 112

Staff Picks

How did they get here?

Each team in this tournament will have finished between the 7th through 10th seed in their respective conferences. For the second year in a row, the NBA decides on a Play-in Tournament. Last year the tournament featured only the respective 8th and 9th seed team IF the 8th seed couldn’t clinch the seed by 5 games or more.

As a reminder, only in the Western Conference did this happen where the Portland Trailblazers played the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Orlando Campus before the 2020 Playoffs actually started. The Blazers won the single-game required and secured the 8th seed. Portland went on to play the 1st seed Los Angeles Lakers.

Furthermore, this year’s tournament is with a twist. Regardless of how many games the 7th and 8th seed lead above the 9th and 10th seed they will have to win out over the course of May 18-May 21 to secure the 7th or 8th seed in their respective conference.

2021 NBA Play-in Tournament break down

The scheduled set-up is best explained below but here are the basics!

  • The 7th and 8th seed in each conference will play first. The LOSER of that game will go on to play the WINNER of the 9th/10th seed game in their conference.
  • The WINNER of the 7th and 8th seed game will secure the 7th seed in their respective conference
  • The WINNER of the 9th/10th seed winner vs 7th/8th seed loser game will secure the 8th seed in their respective conference
  • The higher seeded teams will be the home team and the lower seed will be the away team


2021 NBA Play-in Tournament Previews

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2021 NBA Play-in Tournament: (8) Golden State Warriors vs (9) Memphis Grizzlies

2021 NBA Play-in Tournament – Game 6 Preview

  • When: May 21, 2021
  • Time: 9:00 PM EST
  • TV: ESPN
  • Where: Chase Arena – San Francisco, CA

(9) Memphis Grizzlies

Let’s revisit that time I previewed the game against the Spurs on Wednesday we said the Spurs can’t defend the paint. The biggest plus is that Jonas Valančiūnas’ 23 points and 23 rebounds clearly were one of the better things to say about Memphis. A young Ja Morant in a significant game didn’t shy too far away from the spotlight. Scoring 20 points on 40-percent shooting was his contribution that helped a balanced Memphis attack with Dillion Brooks. Scoring 24 points on 48-percent shooting was Brooks to lead all Grizzlies scorers in Game 2 of the tournament.

If there was any hope of the Grizzlies showing how hard they can compete against a well-coached Spurs team it happened. Could they play the same type of game against Stephen Curry and the Warriors? Probably not and that’s the biggest issue for Memphis.

Golden State’s biggest contributor all season is obviously Curry averaging 32 points a game in the regular season. However, a quick look back to Sunday shows Draymond Green (14 points), Andrew Wiggins (21 points), and Jordan Poole’s (15 points). Do I trust the Grizzlies NOT to let that happen again WITH Curry possibly scoring 40-plus? IDK!

(8) Golden State Warriors

If the most anticipated Play-in Tournament game was before this then, maybe this tournament was all a show? Certainly, we got a show out of the Warriors and Lakers Wednesday night. Stephen Curry’s 37 points, however, just wasn’t the trick. It was LeBron James’ contested (by Curry) fadeaway three-point field goal that sealed the 103-100 victory for the Lakers.

What’s next for the Warriors? Hosting a team they beat just this PAST SUNDAY in the Memphis Grizzlies yet again. A little too much Steph Curry in the fourth quarter and the Warriors sealed their deal to defend the 8th seed this journey so far. Draymond Green’s effort defensively against Anthony Davis in the first half was all the better to know, Jonas Valančiūnas is in for a tough battle down low.

Again, the way this tournament seems to be flaking out is that the teams that are in their original seed are competing to fight for it harder than any other seed. Conspiracy? I’m not sure but anyways. The Warriors are the clear-cut favorites in this game by all means. They obviously will win any high-scoring affair the Grizzlies want to tangle with. Now, I’ve said the Warriors have the potential to be a top 5 defensive team this season. In the Playoffs perhaps? That’s their missing piece to getting back to the Finals. I wouldn’t mind the late arrival to be right but am I getting the 2018 Lebron James playoff vibes type of run from Steph?



Top players to watch

Ja Morant: 2020-2021 Season

  • 19.1 PPG
  • 7.4 APG
  • 4.0 RPG
  • 45% FG

Stephen Curry: 2020-2021 Season

  • 32.0 PPG
  • 5.8 APG
  • 5.5 RPG
  • 48% FG

Where should the money go?

Just take a Stephen Curry prop bet on the scoring and wish for the best. The NBA some how found a way to put the Golden State boy into some golden hours prior to the big 2021 Playoffs.

As always check out our expert daily picks too!

2021 NBA Play-in Tournament Schedule – Eastern Conference

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Game

Away

Home

Time (EST)

TV

Results

3

10

9

7:30 PM

ESPN

Spurs - 96
Grizzlies - 100

4

8

7

10:00 PM

ESPN

Warriors- 100
Lakers - 103

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Game

Away

Home

Results

6

9

8

Grizzlies - 117
Warriors - 112

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