The NBA season has been whittled down to four teams with the Bucks, Raptors, Trail Blazers and Warriors left to battle it out for the championship.
Despite the NBA playoffs being in full swing with two Game 7’s coming up, the Lakers managed to make the headlines all about them.
They were effectively pied by Tyrone Lue before stumbling into hiring Frank Vogel as their new head coach.
A lot of the response has been negative, but that’s the Lakers media train in full force. Who doesn’t love hearing about the Lakers making another allegedly bad front office decision?
However, Vogel can do some great things with this Lakers team.
He’s got LeBron James to work with for a start – he’s pretty good. The Lakers finished 12th in defensive efficiency last season, so Vogel has something to work with there. He’s the only coach alongside Greg Popovich to have his teams inside the top ten defences in the NBA for five consecutive seasons. And then there is the young guys. Provided the Lakers keep building up their young core, we can expect an improvement there.
It may not be getting much positive press, but Vogel’s hiring isn’t the nightmare for the Lakers it’s being made out to be.
The Nuggets/Trail Blazers and 76ers/Raptors series’ went down to the wire.
First, CJ McCollum’s 37 points on 17-29 shooting made up for Damian Lillard’s horror night. The saviour in Game 7 in the First Round, Lillard managed just 13 points shooting a poor 3-17 from the field.
McCollum took no prisoners on Twitter after the game either:
Great defense my ass
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) May 12, 2019
As one of the best teams throughout the NBA regular season and eventual 2nd seed, it’s a disappointing finish for the Nuggets.
Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard brought Joel Embiid to tears with this shot:
KAWHI CALLED SERIES! pic.twitter.com/V4AIuMULNO
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 13, 2019
Philadelphia’s chances of advancing to the Conference Finals bounce on the rim. They were heading to overtime. And then they weren’t.
The ball dropped, Leonard rose to his feet, and he showed more emotion than we’ve ever seen from him.
It capped off a brilliant second round across the NBA and sets the Raptors up to an enthralling series against the Bucks.
Warriors Win But Lose Durant
With the series tied at 2-2, Kevin Durant limped off the court. For a second, the NBA world thought the Warriors could be beaten. They’d just lost the 3rd quarter 29-15 and looked vulnerable.
Kevin Durant goes to the locker room after suffering an apparent non-contact injury on lower leg pic.twitter.com/JCLv3szwz8
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 9, 2019
A quarter later, we were talking about the Warriors still being heavy favourites for the NBA championship after hanging on for the 104-99 win.
In going onto win Game 6 in Houston 118-113, the Warriors put to bed any idea that they could be taken lightly. The Splash Brothers combined for 60 points while Andre Iguodala added 17 points. There are question marks over their bench and what might happen if Steph Curry isn’t scoring well, but he’s not the greatest shooter of all time for nothing.
They may be without Durant, but the Warriors are still significant favourites for the time being.
The NBA Lottery is up this week with a few franchises begging for the balls to drop their way.
The Bulls ($6.50), Hawks ($7.50) and Wizards ($8.50) are the next up, but it’s the Lakers at $36 that is the must-watch team. It would be incredible to see expected first overall pick, Zion Williamson, to play alongside LeBron James, but nothing would beat the conspiracy theories that would do the rounds if the Lakers ended up with the number one pick.