The NBA playoffs are into the second round but the Lakers won’t be there. They’ve been bundled out of the West while their Staples Center flatmates move on to a clash with the Jazz.

Lame Lakers Limp Into Lengthy Off-Season

They completed the shortest off-season in NBA history before the 2020-21 season, but the Los Angeles Lakers now face a break much longer than anybody anticipated.

Few outside of Phoenix tipped the Suns to advance through to the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs. Even with their improvements, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the best defence in the league still looked like too much for Chris Paul, Devin Booker and the Suns. However, as Davis limped out of two games and LeBron left both either early or without handshakes, the Lakers season is over, with the Western Conference now wide open and ready for the taking.

Clippers/Mavs

Back-to-back Dallas Mavericks wins had NBA social media going nuts as the LA Clippers looked to be crumbling to pieces.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard responded with back-to-back wins of their own to level the series. The 106-81 Game 4 victory, in particular, looked like a statement performance that could well end the series.

However, 42 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds by Luka Doncic in Game 5 allowed the Mavericks to fight back and retake the series lead. Leonard responded with 45 points of his own in Game 6 to send the series into a decider.

The Clippers controlled Game 7. Even as the Mavericks pulled to within seven points in the 4th quarter, Leonard kept them at bay by assisting on a few three-point shots to finish one assist short of a triple-double (28 points and 10 rebounds). While not convincing, this series will help the Clippers. They’d struggled when put under pressure in the past, but now that Leonard, George and the key players in the squad have spent a decent chunk of time on the court together, the Clippers are figuring out how to work through these difficult circumstances.

They’re now $3.25 to win the Western Conference and on the third line of betting to win the championship at $6.

Playoff Picture – Second Round

Brooklyn Nets v Milwaukee Bucks: Game 1 is already in the books. While the Brooklyn Nets will be pleased to take a 1-0 series lead courtesy of their 115-107 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, there is some cause for concern for this super team. It may not be so super for Game 2 with James Harden leaving the floor with another hamstring complaint. Still, the Nets are $1.76 and -2 favourites to take a 2-0 series lead.

76ers v Hawks: Trae Young keeps dominating, and the Atlanta Hawks are exceeding expectations as a result. After getting past the New York Knicks with ease (4-1), the Hawks have tipped off what is now an intriguing Second Round series against the Philadelphia 76ers with a 128-124 win in Game 1. Young finished up with 35 points on 11-23 shooting along with ten assists.

Suns v Nuggets: The Suns make their unexpected Second Round appearance against the Denver Nuggets. Denver handled the Portland Trailblazers relatively comfortably to win the series 4-2. Still, the Suns enter Game 1 of the series as $1.50 and -4.5 favourites.

Jazz v Clippers: This series is getting ready to thrill. The Jazz have been the most consistent team all season but face a Clippers outfit with star players and a higher ceiling. We’re going to find out the winner of the Western Conference in this one.

Dame Dolla

It’s that time of year again…

Damian Lillard carried the Portland Trailblazers as far as he could once again this season. And, once again, the talk is around him needing to leave Portland if he is to ever truly compete for an NBA championship.

Signed on in Portland for a further four seasons at roughly $44 million a year, the Trailblazers have him locked down until he is 35-years-old. However, some reports suggest that Lillard is waiting to see what the Blazers do throughout the off-season before deciding his future with the team.

Lillard has been patient enough for long enough. It’s time for the Blazers to surround him with talent or send him elsewhere.

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