It’s Monday August 17th, and there are four NBA playoff games on starting at 1:30PM Eastern. One of the many things that just a few months ago did not seem possible. The NBA and NHL have both done a good job with their bubble setups, and it has provided hours of entertainment in a time when people still should be staying home when they can. While some people believe that sports being back is a reward for a society that has handled COVID (something the US has not), I have a different take. Constant sports on TV might just help keep a few more morons busy enough so they don’t mind staying inside instead of heading out without their mask to yell at others for trying to be responsible.
Now on to the playoffs. In the East I like the Raptors coming out. The Bucks were head and shoulders the best team in the NBA during the regular season, but I have them losing to Miami in the second round. The Bucks going cheap and letting Brogdon walk last summer finally catches up to them as I don’t trust Bledsoe as the go to ball handler. Toronto has the best coach in the NBA and they have created a roster of interchangeable parts that does not miss a beat no matter who is on the court. They are also fun to watch, as they play a refreshing style of basketball. Two small guys who can handle in the backcourt, an entire front court of players that can play any of the 3/4/5, and a big enough rotation that allows them to play pressure defense for 48 minutes without getting tired are the reasons Toronto once again wins the east.
Now lets go out west. The Rockets are fun, OKC is fun, Denver is fun, but something is clear. After all the smoke clears there are two teams head and shoulders above the rest. Those would be the two teams that play in LA. LeBron and Anthony Davis are the best duo in the NBA right now, but I am not confident in the roster around them. During the season the Lakers have tried to remake the roster including making moves during the long layoff, but they still have a few square pegs that need to fit in round holes. The Clippers on the other hand are deep. Kawhi and George are a great duo to start with, but like the Raptors in the east they can come at you in waves and most importantly the depth will allow them to lock down the defensive side of the floor. The difference on defense is why I like the Clippers to take down the Lakers to win the west.
A few months from now Kawhi will get his third ring on his third team. The Clippers having the best two players on the court will just be too much for the Raptors.