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NBA Playoff Centre

Round 2 Gets Underway as Playoff Pressure Mounts For NBA’s Elite

For many, this is where the playoffs begin; the top teams encounter one another in pursuit of an NBA Championship.

After some less than thrilling first round matchups, we know have four heavyweight bouts, in what is one of the most anticipated group of second round matches in recent memory. All four top seeds from both conferences have advanced and realistically every team has reasonable chance of progressing.

Be sure to check out our exclusive coverage of Round 1 here!

Here’s a quick preview.

Eastern Conference

Milwaukee Bucks vs. (4) Boston Celtics

The Bucks have been coasting for a while and had no issues sweeping the injury-riddled Pistons. The Celtics, however, have put all of their regular season issues aside and seem to be hitting top form at the perfect time. We all know what Kyrie is capable of in the playoffs, at the same time we also know how dominant Giannis has been. This is an incredibly even matched series that can go either way. On the injury front, both Malcolm Brogdon and Marcus Smart will miss at least the first team games.

Game 1: Sunday, April 28, in Milwaukee, 1pm

  • Celtics shock Bucks, take 1-0 series lead (112-90)
  • Kyrie Irving (BOS) leads the way with 26 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds. Al Horford (BOS) scores 20 points, grabs 11 boards
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) scores 22 points in the loss

Game 2: Tuesday, April 30, in Milwaukee, 8pm

  • Bucks bounce back, win Game 2 to even series at 1-1 (123-102)
  • Antetokounmpo scores 29 points, grabs 10 boards, Khris Middleton scores 28 points in the win
  • Marcus Morris (BOS) scores 17 points

Game 3: Friday, May 3, in Boston, 8pm

  • Bucks win back home court advantage, take 2-1 series lead (123-116)
  • Antetokounmpo scores 32 points, grabs 13 boards
  • Irving scores 29 points

Game 4: Monday, May 6, in Boston, 7pm

  • Bucks push Celtics to the brink, take 3-1 series lead (113-101)
  • Antetokounmpo scores 36 points, grabs 16 boards
  • Irving scores 23 points, picks up 10 assists

Game 5: Wednesday, May 8, in Milwaukee, 8pm

  • Bucks eliminate Celtics in 5 games (116-91)
  • Seven Bucks players finish with double-digits in points
  • Irving finishes with 15 points on 6-of-21 shooting

(2) Toronto Raptors vs. (3) Philadelphia 76ers

On paper, the Raptors look to hold a few different advantages in this series. As of late, the Raptors have been playing very efficiently on the offensive end and have significantly ramped up their defense. Moreover, they have far more depth than the 76ers and match up really well with them, seen by their recent results against them. Add to this Embiid’s injury concerns and it could spell trouble for Phili. If, however, Embiid is not limited by his knee injury and the Sixers share the ball, and play more consistent defense, they have the talent to push this series to the brink, and we all know anything can happen in a Game 7.

Game 1: Saturday, April 27, in Toronto, 7:30pm

  • Raptors dominate Phili, win Game 1 (108-95)
  • Kawhi Leonard (TOR) scores 45 points, Pascal Siakam (TOR) scores 29 points, duo combine to shoot 28-for-38 from the field
  • Ben Simmons (PHI) scores 14 points on 87.5-percent shooting in the loss

Game 2: Monday, April 29, in Toronto, 8pm

  • Sixers even series at 1-1 (94-89)
  • Jimmy Butler (PHI) scores 30 points, grabs 11 boards
  • Leonard scores 35 points in the loss, Siakam and Kyle Lowry (TOR) combine for 41 points

Game 3: Thursday, May 2, in Philadelphia, 8pm

  • Sixers dominate Raptors to take 2-1 series lead (116-95)
  • Joel Embiid (PHI) scores 33 points, grabs 10 boards in win, Butler adds 22 points
  • Leonard scores 33 points on the night

Game 4: Sunday, May 5, in Philadelphia, 3:30pm

  • Raptors steal back home court advantage, tie series at 2-2 (101-96)
  • Leonard scores 39 points, grabs 14 rebounds, Lowry comes up big with 14 points, six rebounds and seven assists
  • Butler scores 29 points, gets 11 boards in the loss

Game 5: Tuesday, May 7, in Toronto, 8pm

  • Raptors push Sixers to brink of elimination with blowout win (125-89)
  • Siakam leads the way with 25 points, Leonard adds 21 points and 13 rebounds in the win
  • Six Raptors finish in double figures

Game 6: Thursday, May 9, in Philadelphia, 8pm

  • Sixers blow out Raptors to force Game 7 (112-101)
  • Butler leads the way with 25 points, Simmons adds 21 in the win, while Embiid finishes with a +40 net rating
  • Leonard and Siakam combine for 50 points in the loss

Game 7: Sunday, May 12, in Toronto, 7pm

  • Raptors win best of seven series in buzzer-beating thriller (92-90)
  • Leonard scores 41 points, including buzzer-beater to send Raptors to Eastern Conference Finals
  • Embiid scores 21 points, grabs 11 boards

Western Conference

Golden State Warriors vs. (4) Houston Rockets

Talk about a heavyweight clash. These are arguably the two best team’s in the NBA and here they are meeting in the second round. Last year, the Warriors narrowly escaped the Rockets in Game 7 and had Chris Paul not gotten injured, many have questioned the outcome of the series. On the surface, these two teams seem to be going in different directions. The Rockets are rolling, coming off of a dominant series against the Jazz and playing better defense than ever, while the Warriors are dealing with some injury and team chemistry issues. Three years of deep championship runs can be emotionally gruelling, is this finally the year the Warriors fall?

Game 1: Sunday, April 28, in Golden State, 3:30pm

  • Warriors win controversial Game 1 to take 1-0 series lead (104-100)
  • Kevin Durant (GSW) scores 35 points in the win
  • James Harden (HOU) scores 35 points, Eric Gordon (HOU) adds 27 points

Game 2: Tuesday, April 30, in Golden State, 10:30pm

  • Warriors take 2-0 series lead (115-109)
  • Durant scores, Klay Thompson (GSW), Steph Curry (GSW) combine for 70 points in the win
  • Harden finishes with 29 points

Game 3: Saturday, May 4, in Houston, 8:30pm

  • Rockets escape with Game 3 victory (126-121)
  • Harden scores 41 point, PJ Tucker (HOU) comes up huge down the stretch, finishes with seven points and 12 rebounds
  • Kevin Durant scores 46 points in the loss

Game 4: Monday, May 6, in Houston, 9:30pm

  • Rockets tie up series at 2-2 (112-108)
  • Harden with 38 points and 10 rebounds in the win
  • Durant and Curry combine for 64 points

Game 5: Wednesday, May 8, in Golden State, 10:30pm

  • Warriors win gutsy Game 5, take 3-2 series lead (104-99)
  • Curry, Thompson, and Durant combine to score 74 points in the win, Harden finishes with 31 points for the Rockets
  • Durant suffers strained calf in the loss, misses entire fourth quarter

Game 6: Friday, May 10, in Houston, 9pm

  • Warriors win series in six games, win on the road without Durant (118-113)
  • Curry, Thompson combine for 60 points, Andre Iguodala (GSW) scores 17 points
  • Harden and Chris Paul (HOU) combine for 62 points in the loss

Denver Nuggets vs (3) Portland Trailblazers

As impressive as the Blazers 4-1 win over the Thunder was, I can’t help but feel as though it was more than Thunder’s self-destruction than the Blazers phenomenal play. Still, Damian Lillard proved that he is the most underrated superstar in the NBA. The Nuggets overcame quite a bit of adversity by beating a veteran-laden, Greg Popovich-led Spurs squad to win their first playoff series with this core. A part of me is concerned about how much that series took out of the Nuggets and worries that they fatigue may set in for Games 1 or 2 of this series, but at the same time I feel like the Blazers are a better matchup for them than the Spurs. The Spurs are deep and attack from multiple fronts, whereas the Blazers are heavily dependent on their guard play. Add to this the fact that Nikola Jokic has dominated the Blazers, and the Nurkic-less Blazers may face a lot of issues on the interior.

Game 1: Monday, April 29, in Denver, 10:30pm

  • Nuggets win Game 1 to take 1-0 series lead (121-113)
  • Nikola Jokic (DEN) scores 37 points, pulls down nine boards, Jamal Murray (DEN) adds 23 points in the win
  • Damian Lillard scores 39 points on 12-for-21 shooting from the field

Game 2: Wednesday, May 1, in Denver, 9pm

  • Blazers tie up series at 1-1 (97-90)
  • CJ McCollum (POR) leads the way with 20 points, Enes Kanter (POR) adds 15 points, nine rebounds
  • Jokic scores 16 points, grabs 14 boards, dishes out 7 dimes in Game 2 loss

Game 3: Friday, May 3, in Portland, 10:30pm

  • Blazers take 2-1 series lead with 4OT win (140-137)
  • Rodney Hood (POR) scores 7 points in 4OT to help Blazers secure win, McCollum scores 41 points
  • Jokic finishes with 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists in 65 minutes of action

Game 4: Sunday, May 5, in Portland, 7pm

  • Nuggets tie up series at 2-2 (116-112)
  • Murray leads the way with 35 points, Jokic finishes with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists
  • Lillard and McCollum combine for 57 points in the loss

Game 5: Tuesday, May 7, in Denver, 10:30pm

  • Nuggets take Game 5 in blow out, lead series 3-2 (124-98)
  • Jokic finishes night with 25 points and 19 rebounds, Paul Millsap (DEN) scores 24 points
  • Damian Lillard leads Blazers with 22 points in loss

Game 6: Thursday, May 9, in Portland, 10:30pm

  • Blazers survive on home court, tie series at 3-3 (119-108)
  • Lillard, McCollum, Hood combine for 87 points on 31-for-59 shooting from the field
  • Jokic and Murray combine for 53 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists in the loss

Game 7: Sunday, May 12, in Denver, 3:30pm

  • Blazers win Game 7, move onto face Warriors in Conference Finals (100-96)
  • McCollum scores 37 points, Kanter and Lillard both finish with double-doubles
  • Jokic scores 29 points, grabs 13 rebounds in the loss

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