The entire NBA playoffs could be described with an abundance of different adjectives, but the ones I chose today were sensational, thrilling, and electrifying. From transcending performances, highlight dunks, and new faces advancing to the conference finals, one could argue this has been the most exciting NBA playoffs in a while.
As you read more, I give my preview and prediction for the two games that are slated for Wednesday, which are both tied at 2 apiece.
(1) Sixers, (5) Hawks, Series tied 2-2
Time: 6:30 p.m.
This Eastern Conference clash between the Sixers and Hawks has not disappointed NBA fans, as all four games have been high-scoring, back and forth battles. The Hawks surprised the Sixers this past Monday by squeaking out a 103-100 victory to even the series at 2 a piece with Trae Young leading the rally down 18 points by contributing 25 points and 18 assists.
However, Philly seems to have bigger concerns as their star-center Joel Embiid showed signs of pain throughout the game and even went into the locker room during the second quarter, but came back to go 0-12 from the field in the 2nd half. (For those who don’t know, Embiid is playing on a torn cartilage in his right knee.)
Embiid isn’t the only hurt Sixer as they are also without one of their key 3-and-D defenders Danny Green, who is reported out for the series.
It seems the momentum is trending for the Hawks who have played hot in both rounds and are making their first playoff appearance since 2016, but there is no counting the Sixers who still have Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and other key-role players.
It would be deemed as a failure for the Sixers to get knocked out early since some analysts viewed the team as a title-contender, but injuries, unfortunately, do happen and can shift a series.
I’m a firm believer this series goes to seven because of the inexperience and youth of the Hawks and the Sixers who are more seasoned won’t go down without a fight.
Prediction: Sorry Sixers fans, Trae is gonna carry the Hawks to a 3-2 series lead, but have hope because it’s going seven.
(1) Jazz, (4) Clippers, Series tied 2-2
Time: 9:00 p.m.
The Clippers are repeating somewhat of the same sequence they went through in the previous round with the Mavs, where they would be down 2-0 and come back to tie the series even at two a piece.
To fully replicate the same sequence, it would mean the Jazz will win this Wednesday to go up 3-2 and the Clips win the last two in seven, but this series seems to be a different animal as the top-seeded Jazz are going to prove to be a tough out.
Kawhi and George led the way this past Monday by each dropping 31 points and held a steady lead for the whole game to pull out a 118-104 victory in Los Angeles. Mitchell would lead the Jazz in scoring with 37 points respectively and despite the lopsided scoring for most of the game, the game’s highlight came from Kawhi Leonard’s Poster Dunk on Derrick Favors.
The Jazz are still without their point guard Mike Conley who is out with a hamstring injury, but Mitchell, Gobert, Ingles, Clarkson, and O’Neale are hanging in there and continuing to fight. As mentioned above, injuries are a part of the game and it’s unfortunate when key players aren’t able to be on the floor for their team, but there is no doubt Conley, a seasoned vet, isn’t rallying his team.
Because of the Jazz’s success and stellar performances, I don’t see them giving up so easily in this game and expect them to play desperate and use their home crowd as an advantage.
The game should be close, but as a fan you can see Leonard and the Clippers are kicking it into another gear and they don’t want to relieve another early exit.
Prediction: Kawhi comes up with his biggest playoff performance, Clips head back to LA up 3-2.