The NBA Playoffs are underway and some surprise results have already made it interesting. Still, the Nets and Lakers are starting to separate themselves from the pack in the championship winner market.
Another Clippers Choke?
The LA Clippers dropped Game 1 and 2 of their series against the Dallas Mavericks and social media users on every platform came together in their joy of seeing a team that has said so much while achieving so little, falling to another opponent they’re expected to beat.
NBA Twitter is a joyous place when the Clippers lose.
You really love to see them struggle, right?
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) May 26, 2021
While the Clippers did bounce back to win Game 3 118-108, they still need to beat the Mavericks in Dallas in Game 4 to wrestle back control of the series. The key for Dallas is how they adjust from here. The Clippers adopted a small-ball lineup in Game 3 which played a big part in their defensive improvements. Keeping Kristaps Porzingis to 9 points is something they’ll need to do again. Luka Doncic will get his numbers; he still had 44 points. However, if the new-look Clippers lineup can put the breaks on everybody around Doncic, they’re a good chance at winning the series.
Brooms Out For Miami
The Miami Heat produced one of the great NBA Finals runs last season. They exceeded expectations to get through the Eastern Conference before pushing the Los Angeles Lakers hard for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. That might be the peak for this team, though. The Heat never looked comfortable this season. They certainly didn’t improve on 2019-20 and cracks showed throughout the year. Those cracks opened up in the First Round as the Milwaukee Bucks did it easy to win 4-0 and take the next step on their way to Finals glory.
Milwaukee separated themselves with their defence. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez clogged up the paint. As a result, the Bucks dominated the boards allowing them to get out in transition and create second-chance opportunities. They’ll now have a week off to rest and plan for the Second Round and an expected clash with the Brooklyn Nets.
Grizzlies Making It Difficult
They’re a young and inexperienced team, but the Memphis Grizzlies haven’t made it easy for the Jazz to start the NBA playoffs.
Led by Ja Morant, the Grizzlies won the first game of the series before going down 2-1 after Game 3. Still, they’re not out of this one just yet. Not with Morant playing at this level, anyway. With 101 points in his first three career playoff games, Morant joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and George Mikan as the only players in NBA history with 100+ points in their first three postseason games.
The anti-Rudy Gobert portion of NBA fans have gone quiet, though. The big Frenchman is averaging 15.7 points, 14 rebounds, 3.7 blocks per game while shooting 89.8% from the field to start the series. Around him, the Jazz are letting it fly as the three-point show continues to steer the Jazz towards the next round.
Utah is still out on the fourth line of betting to win the title at $6.50.
Tatum Drops 50
Youngest players with a 50-point playoff game in NBA history:
23y, 21d — Rick Barry
23y, 62d — Michael Jordan
23y, 86d — Jayson Tatum pic.twitter.com/Yde1I6LJxC
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 29, 2021
Championship Odds Update
The Lakers and Nets are firming as NBA Finals favourites while the Clippers have drifted out to $12. While currently being pushed in a 2-2 series against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Denver Nuggets are still in the conversation as a potential roughie.
Interestingly, given their probable date with the Nets in the Second Round, the Bucks are into $5.50 while the Philadelphia 76ers are at $7 with a series win over the Washington Wizards just around the corner.
Start of the Playoffs -> Current
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|Nets – $3 -> $2.8||Lakers – $5 -> $3.75|
|Bucks – $8 -> $5.50||Clippers – $8 -> $12|
|76ers – $8.50 -> $7||Jazz – $6.50 -> $6.50|
|Suns – $17 -> $56|
|Knicks – $51 -> $126||Nuggets – $51 -> $34|
|Hawks – $91 -> $41||Mavericks – $26 -> $26|
|Celtics – $151 -> $276||Trail Blazers – $26 -> $34|
|Wizards – $276 -> $501||Grizzlies – $276 -> $501|