The NBA is at its very best when we have two Game 7’s to decide who will play the Warriors and Heat in the Conference Finals. Meanwhile, Joel Embiid mourns the end of another strong individual season.

The Process Flops Again

Same stuff, different year.

Joel Embiid ended his season at the same point and answered the same questions in the same way he has done in recent years.

The honeymoon period with James Harden – if there ever was one – is over. Embiid didn’t pull any punches in his exit interview following the Philadelphia 76ers’ loss to the Miami Heat in the second round.

Most people with eyes saw this coming from a mile away. Not only is Harden just not the right fit anywhere he isn’t the be-all and end-all on offence, Embiid isn’t somebody that is going to keep up appearances. He doesn’t seem to envisage a particularly long career mentioning having a “few” more seasons in the NBA. Embiid is impatient as a result and isn’t going to settle for a teammate that is unwavering and unlikely to fill the role required.

It’s a mess in Philadelphia. It may yet get messier if Doc Rivers is shown the door in the coming days. Predictably dysfunctional this season, it’s going to be an interesting off-season to follow in Philly.

Grizzlies Thrash Warriors…

The Memphis Grizzlies thrashed the pants off the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of their series. Ahead by as many as 55 points at one stage, it was the second-largest lead at any point of a playoff game over the last 25 years. Klay Thompson, in particular, really struggled for the Warriors. His minus-45 while on the floor is tied for the worst plus/minus in a game over the last 25 post-seasons.

The Grizzlies went on to win 134-95 to push the series to 3-2.

..But Warriors Have The Last Laugh

The Warriors, however, bounced back to seal the series 4-2.

Klay Thompson, in particular, put in an improved performance to score 30 points while knocking down eight three’s on 14 attempts. Meanwhile, Steph Curry needed 27 shots for his 29 points but connected on three threes in the fourth quarter including a 31-foot bomb. Andrew Wiggins also provided key contributions as the Warriors completed their 110-96 win to seal the series.

The Warriors are now waiting to find out who they will face in the Western Conference Finals when the Phoenix Suns take on the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of their series.

Game 7’s

This is playoff basketball at its finest.

Through 82 games in the regular season and a first round series, the NBA season of four respective franchises comes down to one game.

The Milwaukee Bucks will travel to Boston for the decider to play a Celtics team that continues to surprise. Their decision late in the NBA regular to target the No. 2 seed has paid dividends as the Bucks failed to seal the series before Game 7. The Celtics have the momentum following their 108-95 win in Game 6 but the Bucks have a tendency to bounce back. Any team with Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to cause problems in a decider.

The Celtics are $1.47 and -4.5 favourites to win Game 7 and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Antetokounmpo is the key to a Bucks upset and going over the 55.5 points + rebounds + assists ($1.87) is where it will happen.

Later it’s the Phoenix Suns hosting the Dallas Mavericks.

Doncic has averaged 39 points, 9 rebounds and 10.3 assists on 51% shooting across the three elimination games so far in his NBA career. The 64-win Suns, despite being the best team all year, face a huge task if they’re to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

This has been a chippy series. Donic and Devin Booker aren’t big fans of one another and it shows on the court. They feed off each other, and right now, it seems to benefit Doncic more than it does Booker. Booker, however, has Chris Paul to fall back on. The superstar point guard continues to defy his age and will be playing this one knowing his chances of winning an NBA championship shrink more and more with every lost series.

If there’s an NBA game to circle as a must-watch this season, it’s this one.

The Suns are significant $1.36 and -6.5 favourites to get the job done in Game 7.