The NBA Playoffs is just a jumble of small sample sizes that mess with established assumptions we’ve made throughout the season. Most series are unpredictable in themselves, so what have we seen through two games apiece that will continue? I’ve got a pretty good idea on some things.
The Golden State Warriors Are Good
Yeah. There will be questions as the playoffs continue, but not this round. Even without Steph Curry, the Warriors are capable of putting at least 10 of the other teams in the playoffs through a meat grinder. This Spurs team in limbo is one of those teams. This one’s not in doubt.
The Washington Wizards Are Not Good
Absolutely. I gave them the benefit on the doubt before the series started, but I shouldn’t have. Something is wrong in D.C., and has been all season. (And not just with the basketball team, heyyooo!) They couldn’t capitalize on what looked to be another Raptors Game 1 choke job, then got choked out themselves in Game 2. This series will be over quickly.
The Philadelphia 76ers Without Joel Embiid
A classic basketball thing is the first two games of a series providing wildly divergent outcomes and everyone overreacts in each direction after both games. Game 1: the Sixers are better without Joel Embiid? Game 2: the Heat will have no problem smothering Philly sans Embiid. The truth, as it always is, is somewhere in between.
The Sixers won’t miss as many open shots as they did in Game 2 again. The series will remain uncomfortably close as long as Embiid is out, and possibly after that, too. And also…
Dwyane Wade Is Still Dwyane Wade
No matter what Gabrielle Union insists, Wade has not always been the Wade we saw in Game 1. That dude has had a roughly three year break. No doubt he’s still capable of some Finals MVP-like heroics from time to time, but don’t act like this is a regular thing. Vintage Wade is like the good china in the cabinet, you can only take it out every once in a while.
Looking more and more legit by the game. This is incredible. He had already turned in his best year since arriving in New Orleans. For me and many others, that was already above expectations. Any more would be crazy. Well, this is crazy! He’s keeping up his First Team All-Defense worthy defense; Jrue Holiday is making Damian Lillard look more like Justin Holiday. Dame is shooting just under 32% from the field through two games, while Holiday himself has 54 points on 54% shooting. This is two-way excellence of a Chris Paul-ian variety.
It would be just as crazy to expect the same level of production for the rest of this series, much less beyond. But the Pelicans haven’t even played at home yet! They took two wins on the road from the 3rd seed! This is already too crazy! Likely his stats won’t be quite so high from here on out, but his ability to produce at both ends is for real, no question.
The Portland Trailblazers Suck
I am a consistent doubter of this team, so for pride purposes I’d like to say this is real, but it’s not. It is true that the Pelicans make them look like they suck. It can’t be this bad forever, though. Their offense has always been better and the defense this year has finally been better. They’ll creep towards to those normal levels soon, but in no way does that mean they’ll win this series.
Joe Prunty Can’t Coach
I don’t want to be too hard on the guy. He got thrown into an awful situation. Yet he didn’t make it any better under his control. And the Bucks looks terrible. They’re embarrassing themselves on both ends of the floor. They look lost and confused almost always. Prunty isn’t the only one to blame, but ultimately this falls back onto the coach. I feel bad, but must declare this for real.
Eric Bledsoe Not Knowing Who The Fuck Terry Rozier Is
That was after Rozier dusted him near the end of Game 1 for a go-ahead bucket and also after Rozier put 23 & 8 on the Bucks in Game 2. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he’s shot 7-12 with Bledsoe guarding him, while Bledsoe is shooting 4-13 with the same matchup on the other end.
This is less legitimate than Cersei Lannister’s children, and that’s saying something. This was a poor attempt at smack talk that was quickly dismissed. Do better. Both on and off the court.
The Indiana Pacers
This is a tricky one. Are they not for real if they don’t knock off LeBron James in the first round? That’s a super high bar for legitimacy. Lacking a true definition, I’m leaning toward “yes” here. They’ve already given LeBron his first loss in the first round since – now get this – 1973. It’s true. And he’ll need more 40/10/5 games just to get the Cavs out alive. Any team putting LeBron Freaking James on the ropes in Round 1 is close. How they perform at home will be the true test.
The Minnesota Timberwolves
James Harden’s Teammates
Harden shot 2-18 in Game 2 and the Rockets beat the Wolves by 20 (see above). I think we’re good here. *Cut to LeBron seething with jealous rage*
He got 55 points in two games playing through a hurt foot against a team with three future Hall of Famers. As a rookie. If you still somehow doubted Mitchell after he led his team to the 5 seed, here’s a little extra somethin’ somethin’ for ya. The kid’s for real.
My NBA Playoffs High
It’s for real! This is great! More please, thank you!