The Atlanta Hawks have knocked off the Brooklyn Nets in six games, behind NBA Coach of the Year winner Mike Budenholzer who has effortlessly led these Hawks, who has heard of DeMarre Carroll and Mike Scott and Dennis Schroder, to a winning record. The Chicago Bulls have outlasted these feisty and long-armed Milwaukee Bucks with their size and half court offense with Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah. The Bulls have gotten under the Bucks’ skin late in Game 6, and I would expect a rematch between these two teams in the future. The Golden State Warriors dispatch of the New Orleans Pelicans was no contest. The Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies who got rid of the Portland Trail Blazers in five games. The Clippers outlasted the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 as they win 111-109 and will face the Houston Rockets in the second round, Kevin McHale’s squad playing outstanding with the play of James Harden and Dwight Howard were too much for the older, aging Dirk Nowitzki and these Dallas Mavericks.
Behind James Harden and Dwight Howard, the Rockets have advanced. Harden’s sharp play making skills and perimeter shooting and Howard’s defense and rebounding has helped the Rockets play smart despite losing Patrick Beverly and Donatas Motiejunas to injuries. Expect a stronger opponent in the second round and the Rockets will be tested still without Beverly and Motiejunas. The play of Josh Smith has helped Houston and they will surely need Smith’s intangibles.
The Golden State Warriors are up 3-0 over the New Orleans Pelicans, because they have a never-say-die attitude behind Steve Kerr’s coaching. Kerr has let Draymond Green regain hold of his basketball position and has let Green rebound and shoot three pointers and holding his intangibles to help the Warriors reach the second round of the playoffs. The Chicago Bulls are also up 3-0 on the Milwaukee Bucks, because Tom Thibodeau’s squad refuse to say don’t lose and they are able to retain what they know about fundamental basketball on the court with their big front court of Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, and Mike Dunleavy. Fundamentals and the long wingspan of the front court has let the Bulls dangle and win three games in a row.
The New Orleans Pelicans face the Golden State Warriors, the basketball squad coached by first timer Steve Kerr. What becomes of the behemoth that Kerr has gotten here to the first round of the playoffs? Can Stephen Curry help these Warriors get to the Finals and eventually the NBA title? We’d like to see that. We also can’t rule out Anthony Davis and these Pelicans. Davis will make Andrew Bogut work, because he is more athletic, faster, and agile than Bogut is.
Kevin Love is having one of those games where he scores 15+ points, gets 7+ rebounds, and blocks 2 shots a game. He isn’t doing it consistently, although Lebron James encourages him from time to time to be an influential factor more often. Love hasn’t helped his teammates contribute to team chemistry, and that could be a downfall. What Kevin Love can do to get better is let Lebron James control the tempo of the game and he can rebound and play defense to help James get the winning accolades at the end of the game. Are the Cavaliers capable of reaching the NBA Finals? Probably. Will they win an NBA ring? Maybe. It’s hard to tell. Give them time to jell together. Rome was built in an NBA season.
Sixteen teams will advance to the playoffs and one will be champion. Who will it be? The Dallas Mavericks are in the mix in the West, as well as the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, and the Portland Trail Blazers. Who will exercise their supremacy for NBA basketball dominance in the world? The Spurs’ all around team basketball will get them the NBA title, but the Warriors’ run of scoring buckets and three-pointers by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have gotten them to the number one seed in the West. Nobody thinks or cares that the Atlanta Hawks will win anything, but they will make the world regret that they will win a playoff series without a true NBA star. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Lebron James are capable of making a title run, but how will team chemistry fare down the stretch with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving and James co-existing?
Thaddeus Young is an imposing athletic big man with handles and defensive ability. Who can’t stop him? I expect Brooklyn to utilize him properly there. He will get along with Lionel Hollins there and the players will welcome him as a franchise player who can bring excitement with the Nets.