The NBA playoffs are in full swing, and with just one team eliminated it is still wide open in the race to lift the famous Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
In the Eastern Conference, the only team to depart from the playoffs so far is the Miami Heat, who were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led his Bucks on the redemption trail, after they were knocked out by the Heat last year. The ease of their victory over last year’s beaten NBA finalists means that they have announced themselves as real contenders in the East.
Elsewhere, the New York Knicks’ road back to relevance looks in real jeopardy as they are currently 3-1 down to the Atlanta Hawks. Trae Young has led the scoring for the Hawks in all four games so far and their crucial 107-105 win in Game 1 could prove pivotal.
Philly Showing No Mercy
First seed Philadelphia 76ers have shown no mercy in their first-round matchup with the Washington Wizards, taking a bloodless 3-0 lead in the series and seemingly home and dry already.
The star-studded Brooklyn Nets have found things a little bit tougher against the Boston Celtics, but their scoring power has been enough to see them into a 3-1 lead. They should be able to secure the one more victory necessary to set up an intriguing clash with the Bucks in the next round.
In the West, things are much more finely poised. The first seed Utah Jazz have recovered from a shock Game 1 defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies to hold a 2-1 advantage in the series.
However, the other three matchups in the West are all delicately balanced at 2-2. Injuries have been at the forefront of the battle between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns. Chris Paul has played through a shoulder injury to lead the underdog Suns into contention. The Lakers have injury issues of their own with Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope struggling in a series that could go either way.
The Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets are also level at 2-2, after Nikola Jokic has struggled to get any real support from those around him. Damian Lilliard’s Trail Blazers will be hoping to take advantage.
The fourth and fifth seed Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks looked like they might be on the way to a blowout when the Mavericks took the first two games. But, led by the indomitable Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers took the next two games and have the momentum in the series.
Wizards Can Play Part in a Spellbinding Contest
In Tuesday’s games it may pay to take the overs at
5/6 in the matchup between the 76ers and Wizards. Philadelphia will be looking to lay down a marker in the way the Bucks did and Washington will be desperate to stay in the series.
On Wednesday, it may pay to put faith in the Lakers. Despite their injury issues, they can rely on the efforts of one the best basketball players of all time in Lebron James.
Whenever he is up against it in the playoffs, James tends to find a way. Take the Lakers on the money line.
*All odds correct at time of writing