The NBA Playoffs is a crazy animal, in some ways it's more like playing the actual lottery than the NBA lottery is. You have to be crazy to go all out just for a low chance at winning it all, because the lowest seeds are usually creamed by the higher seeds; but if you don't actually make the playoffs you'll never have a chance at a title. There have been giant slayers before, like the Denver Nuggets beating the Seattle Supersonics, or the Golden State Warriors beating the Dallas Mavericks. But this season there do not appear to be series that will go that path. Last night the Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards put virtual strangleholds on their opponents by going up 3-0. And the San Antonio Spurs obliterated the Los Angeles Clippers to go up 2-1. The Clippers have a chance, but there's little chance, statistically, for the Toronto Raptors or the Dallas Mavericks. Their fate seems to be that of what will probably befall the Milwaukee Bucks and the New Orleans Pelicans. Those two teams are 0-3 as well, and are facing elimination and the end of their seasons tonight.
- Atlanta Hawks (2-0) @ Brooklyn Nets (0-2) -- 1:00 PM MT [TNT]
- Chicago Bulls (3-0) @ Milwaukee Bucks (0-3) -- 3:30 PM MT [TNT]
- Golden State Warriors (3-0) @ New Orleans Pelicans (0-3) -- 6:00 PM MT [ESPN]
It's going to be hard for the Bucks and Pelicans to avoid sweeps, but almost impossible for them to come back and win four straight games in a row. The other game, the Jazz-east Championships will have another round of Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, and Deron Williams going at it. Deron, in dire straights, needs a win. He needs to win at least another playoff series in his career. And his Nets core isn't built for the long haul.
That's one thing that's really against him, as at least the Bucks and Pelicans have young stars they are trying to build around (man, Jabari Parker isn't even healthy and they are a #6 seed in the East). Anthony Davis has been astoundingly good at times. Both teams look to get better with time. Our Utah Jazz look to make that playoff hyper-space jump next season as well.
Great teams win in the playoffs. But you can't be a great team without getting there. So props to the Bucks and Pelicans for getting there, even if tonight is their last game of the 2014-2015 season.