By Danny Dragin
While the Eastern Conference remains largely in play — only Philly has clinched — the West is all but set for the second round, with only Utah and Oklahoma City to be determined. In the meantime, here’s a capsule look at where things stand, courtesy of WEEI.com’s Danny Dragin.
Toronto Raptors (3) vs. Washington Wizards (2)
DeMar DeRozan had 32 points and five assists in Game 5, but the Wizards still managed to keep just about every other player at bay, though it still wasn’t enough. Washington’s John Wall had 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and Bradley Beal added 20 points, which wasn’t enough. The Raptors play the Wizards in D.C. next which is perfect, considering the Raptors haven’t beaten them at home yet this series. Washington just wants a chance for a winner-take-all Game 7.
Boston Celtics (3) vs. Milwaukee Bucks: (3)
Giannis Antetokounmpo managed to keep the Bucks’ season alive with his 31-point performance in Game 6, but the Bucks will have to go back to Boston to play Game 7, which shouldn’t be something they are looking forward to considering they have yet to win in Boston this series. Marcus Smart’s return has not surprisingly boosted the Celtics.
Cleveland Cavaliers (3) vs. Indiana Pacers (2)
LeBron James had a Michael Jordan moment in Game 5. LeBron was picture perfect in the closing seconds, getting the “block” on Victor Oladipo at one end that the NBA later admitted should’ve been goaltending, and then drilling the winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. King James finished with 44 points and was two assists away from a triple-double. The Cavs managed to hold Oladipo to just 12 points, but the Pacers still found a way to stick around.
Philadelphia 76ers (4) vs. Miami Heat (1)
Philly got a little added adrenaline when it was announced that Meek Mill was released from jail. Comedian Kevin Hart drove him straight from the Pennsylvania State Prison to courtside at the Sixers game. The Sixers dispatched the Heat in five games, though it felt tougher than that. But I still find myself asking: where is Markelle Fultz?
Houston Rockets (4) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (1)
James Harden had a slow night in Game 5, scoring 24 points, but he dished out 12 assists. Clint Capela also had 26 points and the Rockets as a unit managed to keep the Timberwolves at bay. The Rockets will either face the Jazz or the Thunder and for their sake they better pray it’s the Jazz, becomes something the tells me the Thunder are primed to go on a huge run.
Golden State Warriors (4) vs. San Antonio Spurs (1)
The Warriors closed the book on the Spurs’ hectic season. The Warriors will take on the Pelicans next with hopefully a fresh and healthy Steph Curry. As for the Spurs, you might see a completely different team than you’re used to next season. There might be no Kawhi, no Ginobili, no Parker and maybe even no Pop.
Portland Trail Blazers (0) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (4)
The Pelicans shut the door on the Trail Blazers with ease, but now they face a completely different beast in the Warriors. The Dubs should have their two-time MVP point guard Steph Curry back in the lineup, returning them to the team that originally shook up the entire NBA landscape.
Oklahoma City Thunder (2) vs. Utah Jazz (3)
Russell Westbrook led a historic comeback for the Thunder in Game 5, scoring 45 points while also bringing down 15 rebounds in a 25-point comeback. Paul George managed to be the perfect complement for Russ, scoring 34 points. The Thunder will Face the Jazz in Utah with elimination still on the line in what has turned into a surprisingly compelling series.
Full article @ NBA Playoff Power Rankings: OKC in surprising fight for its life, Pelicans get Steph and Co.
Source: GreenStreet Blog