[Epoch Times, May 2, 2022](The Epoch Times reporter Li Rongshi comprehensive report) The 2022 NBA playoffs went through the first round of the “seven wins and four wins” contest, and failed to stage the weak to overcome the strong, and the top eight were successfully released. According to the regular-season standings, the higher-ranked teams all eliminated the lower-ranked teams. The next East and West semifinals are as follows: Heat vs. 76ers; Bucks vs. Celtics; Suns vs. Mavericks; Warriors vs. Grizzlies.
76ers feared to be swept by Heat
The East’s No. 1 Heat eliminated the eighth-ranked Eagles 4-1, which is reasonable. The Heat’s head point guard Lowry was injured accidentally. Oladipo’s comeback provided a defensive guarantee for the backcourt. Butler continued to output steadily, and his offensive and defensive efficiency ranks first in the league. Under the tight defense, Hawks star Trae Young showed ups and downs. In the fifth game, in the absence of Butler and Lowry, the Heat still defeated the Eagles away, which shows that their strength is significantly higher than their opponents.
The 76ers, the fourth-ranked in the East, were in trouble after winning three straight games against the fifth-place Raptors. The star Embiid injured his hand and was pulled by the opponent for two consecutive games. In the crucial sixth game, Embiid and Harden teamed up to lead the team to refuse to upset and help the 76ers eliminate the Raptors 4-2. But this victory also brought a lot of losses to the 76ers. Embiid suffered a fractured brow bone and a mild concussion, and an undetermined return date.
In this way, Harden is likely to lead the team alone to challenge the Heat. The data shows that in the first six games of the first round of the playoffs, when Embiid went off the court, Harden led the team alone. If you don’t get any advantage against the Raptors, it may be more difficult to play against the Heat.
In the regular season this season, the two teams have played against each other 4 times, and each won two games. In terms of strength, the gap between the two teams is not big. But without Embiid, the situation is completely different. The 76ers rehearsed the tactics for a season and almost all of them were cancelled. It wouldn’t be surprising if they ended up being crushed and eliminated.
Celtics Bucks Peak Showdown
The second-place Celtics in the East eliminated the Nets, who were considered the favorites to win the title before the season, which has surprised many people, and the 4-0 sweep is even more surprising. Their defense completely restrained the Nets’ two stars – Durant and Irving, which also became the key to their victory.
The Bulls have performed well this season after targeted signings, ranking sixth in the East. Unfortunately, they faced the defending champion in the first round and failed to pass the test. The Bucks eliminated the Bulls 4:1.
The next round of the Bucks and Celtics series is widely regarded as a matchup. After the All-Stars, the Celtics came from behind, and their winning percentage and defensive efficiency in the second half ranked first in the league. The Bucks recharged their energy and did not care much about the ranking. The offensive and defensive front formed by “Brother Antetokounmpo” and Holiday is still one of the strongest combinations in the league.
In the 2019 Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bucks easily eliminated the Celtics 4-1, and Middleton became a nightmare for the “Green Army”, dubbed “that man”. After a lapse of two years, the two teams met again. This time Middleton was out due to injury. If he is unable to play in this round of the series, the “Green Army” may have a better chance.
On May 1, local time, in the first round of the second round of the playoffs, the Bucks defeated the Celtics 101:89 on the road to seize the opportunity in the “seven wins and four wins” series.
The Suns have a high probability of eliminating the Lone Ranger
The Suns, who failed in the finals last year, made a comeback this season, ranking first in the league in the regular season, while creating a record of 64 wins and 28 losses—the best record in team history. In the first round, facing the eighth-place Pelicans in the West, the Suns were affected by the leg injury of the star Booker. The two teams once fought fiercely in the “Battle of Tianwang Mountain”, but under the leadership of Paul, the Suns still passed 4-2 smoothly. In Game 6, the 36-year-old Paul had an amazing performance, breaking the league record with 14 of 14.
The fourth-ranked Mavericks in the Western Conference faced the fifth-ranked Jazz in the first round. Doncic’s absence due to injury has a great impact on the Lone Ranger. However, the Jazz, who played well in the regular season, was more unsatisfactory and missed many opportunities. In the end, the Mavericks eliminated the Jazz 4-2, breaking through the first round of the playoffs for the first time since winning the championship in 2011.
The Suns and the Mavericks met three times in the regular season, and the Suns kept them all. At present, Booker and Doncic have both returned from injury, and both teams have relatively complete lineups. Last season, the Suns made it to the Finals, and this season they have improved their lineup, especially Paul’s playoff experience is richer than any player in the Mavericks. If you stay healthy, the Suns will be more likely to advance.
Warriors face Grizzlies test
Although the Warriors did not perform well at the end of the regular season and only ranked third in the West, in the playoffs, Curry returned, and rising stars Poole and Klay also played well. In the end, they eliminated the Dungeons 4-1. gold.
The second-placed Grizzlies and the seventh-place Timberwolves in this round of the series were inextricably linked. The Grizzlies showed super toughness. If the game only played in three quarters, the Timberwolves would have already advanced. The Grizzlies made a comeback in the fourth quarter in a row and finally won 4-2.
In the second round, the Warriors did not have home-court advantage against the Grizzlies. Although the current American bookmakers offer odds, the Warriors are the most popular to win the championship; however, in the four matches between the two teams in the regular season, the Grizzlies have an advantage of 3 wins and 1 loss, which will obviously enhance the confidence of the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies have progressed at an astonishing rate over the past three years, and Morant has become the leader of the team after being drafted by Memphis. His breakthroughs can bring great lethality to opponents; and the Grizzlies don’t only rely on Morant, they bloom more and have a strong impact.
It also took the Warriors three years to get back into the playoffs. Compared with the era of the “five-year triple crown”, the Warriors have added more young people in addition to retaining the “troika” of Curry, Klay and Green, and their overall strength should not be as good as before.
Both teams are teams that emphasize teamwork, and both offensive and defensive transitions are fast. This season, the Grizzlies are the team with the best return and counterattack ability in the entire league; and their rebounds, steals and blocks also rank first in the league. Therefore, it is not easy for the Warriors to pass the Grizzlies.
On May 1, local time, in the first round of the second round of the playoffs, the Warriors narrowly defeated the Grizzlies 117:116 away, winning the first place in the “Four of Seven” series.
Responsible editor: Zheng Huang#