Monday, 22 Jul 2024

Around the NBA: 2021 Playoff Update — The Basketball Movement

The first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs is nearly complete, with an exciting second round on deck. With most matchups wrapping up quickly, the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs has nearly concluded, immediately giving way to second-round action starting tonight (Saturday, June 5th). The way things have shaken out so far already means that we will have some fresh faces in on the Conference and NBA Finals action. Following an injury to Anthony Davis, LeBron James’ Lakers got bounced in the first round for the first time in his career (15 playoff appearances in 18 seasons). This means that we will have the first Finals since 2010, which does not feature LeBron James or Steph Curry. Let’s break down the action.

Western Conference

One of the teams responsible for keeping Steph Curry’s Warriors out of the Playoffs, the Memphis Grizzlies fought hard. Still, they ultimately fell to the Utah Jazz, who displayed why they own the league’s top regular-season record. Utah will go on to play the winner of the Clippers and Mavericks in the second round. LA and Dallas are on their way to the only game seven of the first round following a monster performance by Kawhi Leonard to keep his team alive. Game sevens are always a blast – the match will take place in LA this Sunday (6/6). The away team has won every time in this series so far. The winner of the Jazz and DAL/LAC will face either the Denver Nuggets or Phoenix Suns. Denver dispatched Portland despite Damien Lillard’s best efforts. Outside of Lillard, bonehead plays and poor shooting plagued the Trailblazers, and Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets are too good to let that slide. For Phoenix, advancing meant defeating the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers. Love him or hate him, LeBron James has been a dominant force in the league for nearly two decades, and this Suns squad has now proven that they belong as contenders. This is the first time in Chris Paul’s 16 seasons that he faced off with LeBron. With Paul’s steady leadership and a talented young core, these Suns are for real.

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Eastern Conference

Out East, none of the first-round series went past five games. Milwaukee delivered the only sweep of the first round, schooling the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat. Jimmy Butler’s competitiveness could not make up for Giannis Antetokounmpo’s dominance. The Bucks seem like they are playing their best ball at just the right time. Milwaukee will face the Brooklyn Nets, who are lauded as the most talented team in the league, having just dispatched the Boston Celtics. The question with Brooklyn is whether or not they have had enough time to mesh as a true championship team. Their three-man-core of Durant, Irving, and Harden has only played so many games together, so this will be a fun matchup against the battle-tested Bucks. The top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers put the Wizards away, but not without paying a price; Joel Embiid suffered a “small lateral meniscus tear” against Washington and is listed as day-to-day. The Sixers did well with their MVP candidate sidelined this season but are certainly hoping he can give it a go in the next round. Philly will play Atlanta, who toppled the New York Knicks with surprising ruthlessness. No Embiid could lean the scoring advantage in the Hawks’ favor, but the difference in experience means Philly should stay afloat regardless. Tune in and remember to keep checking back here and on The Basketball Movement’s Twitter as we keep up with the action!

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FAQs

Q: Which teams have advanced to the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs?

A: In the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, and Phoenix Suns have advanced to the second round. In the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Atlanta Hawks have advanced.

Q: Who are the favorites to win the NBA Finals?

A: The Brooklyn Nets and the Utah Jazz are considered strong contenders to win the NBA Finals, as they have shown dominant performances throughout the regular season and the playoffs.

Summary

The 2021 NBA Playoffs are in full swing, with the first round nearly complete and the second round set to begin. Exciting matchups and surprising results have made this year’s playoffs highly entertaining. The Western Conference features intriguing battles between the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, and Phoenix Suns. In the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Atlanta Hawks have emerged as top contenders. Fans can expect intense competition and must-see moments as the teams vie for a spot in the NBA Finals. Stay tuned to The Basketball Movement for all the latest updates and analysis.

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