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Teams are getting into the business section of their respective playoff series, some already in 2-0 holes while others are looking to inch ahead from their 1-1 gridlock.
The first game pits the Boston Celtics against the Atlanta Hawks in a series that has been totally dominated by the Celtics thus far. Boston is shooting 42.4% from three-point land and won each of the first two games by 13 points despite their stars not even having the explosive scoring nights that they are more than capable of. Derrick White in particular has been sensational, averaging 25 points thus far.
Trae Young has been poor for the second postseason running. He is averaging 20 points and seven assists on just 35% shooting (23.1% from three-point land) and five turnovers and is also a defensive liability. In Game Two, he had the worst plus/minus of any player (-18) and only received 34 minutes, while his teammate in the backcourt, Dejounte Murray, played for 40.
This series might not be over, but it’s basically over. Atlanta has a chance to pick up a win at home in one of the next two games to make the series a gentleman’s sweep (the result of their first-round appearance in the Eastern Conference Playoffs last year), but a traditional sweep is also very much alive with the way that the Celtics are playing. Plus, Jaylen Brown was fairly quiet in Game Two and will be well-rested for Game Three.
The second game features the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks in what has been quite an entertaining series so far. The Knicks absorbed the Cavs’ punches in Game One and stole home court but were blown out in Game Two after allowing Cleveland to create an insurmountable gap in the second quarter. Darius Garland was excellent in that game after a slow start to the series.
These teams match up well against one another on both ends, both stylistically and from a personnel standpoint. Donovan Mitchell is the best player in the series, but the Knicks’ one-two punch of Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson is capable of outplaying the Mitchell-Garland pairing, as seen in Game One.
Tom Thibodeau almost blew the series by leaving his starters in down more than 20 points with two minutes left in Game Two only for Randle to take a nasty fall to the floor after he dunked the ball traveling at full speed and landed right on his back. Thankfully, he’s okay and is expected to be ready to go for the return to New York.
The late game matches the Denver Nuggets against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota was flat-out horrible in Game One and was getting blown out at halftime of Game Two but put together an immense second half and even retook the lead before ultimately losing the game.
Anthony Edwards was nothing short of brilliant in Game Two. He finished with 41 points on 14-23 shooting (6-10 from three) and also had three blocks and two steals. What’s more, he set a franchise record for highest scoring output in a playoff game.
It was nice to see signs of life from the T-Wolves, but they are too inconsistent to count on. Karl-Anthony Towns has been a no-show in the series, Mike Conley is not a dominant offensive figure, and anything from Rudy Gobert on that end is a plus. Minnesota might keep it close, but Denver should either wrap the series up or head back to Denver with a 3-1 lead.
Game Time & Date: 7:00, 8:30, and 9:30 p.m. ET, Friday, April 21
TV Network: ESPN and ABC
Streaming: YouTube TV, Hulu, Sling, etc.
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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