There are still two games left in Round 1: the Houston Rockets vs the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets vs the Utah Jazz. Both series are playing a Game 7 this week to decide who moves onto Round 2. Both myself and Pete are here to stake our claim on who will move forward in the NBA playoffs.
Nuggets vs Jazz
Natty: So, Pete, we were absolutely right about guard play being the fundamental to this series. Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray have been SEN.SAT.ION.AL. Utah’s offense has clicked, though Mike Conley’s expected field goal percentage seems to suggest he’s playing a little lucky. But, you need luck in the playoffs!
I’m a little concerned by Nikola Jokic’s meh play (+1 for the game, but 22 points), but I think it’s a function of Denver missing two of their best perimeter defenders. Now that Gary Harris is back (+16 for the game, but only 4 points), I think we see how vital Denver’s defenders are to how well the Nuggets play.
I have Denver eking out a win (Michael Porter, Jr., probably won’t shoot that poorly again), but I’m extremely impressed with Utah’s performance. They shocked me, to be honest.
Pete: This has been easily the most ridiculous series of the NBA playoffs so far. If you would have told me ahead of time that BOTH Mitchell and Murray would drop TWO 50 point games, I would have slapped you upside the head and asked you where your mother was so I could send you home.
Harris’ defense has been missed and his return to the court will certainly provide a boost to the Nuggets but damn, I think Spidey Mitchell has convinced me that anything is possible and that he’s not going to let this moment pass him without a fight. Are we going to see ANOTHER 50 point performance from him? Who says no?
Give me Jazz riding high to face the Clippers in Round 2.
Rockets vs Thunder
Natty: Chris Paul forced a Game 7 last night, as Sergeant Russell Westbrook, perhaps a touch rusty, made several critical turnovers in the last quarter.
Houston’s problems are the same as they’ve always been: if their shots don’t fall, and they continue to shoot threes rather than changing their attack, then their chances of losing increase.
If OKC’s guards can force turnovers and get to the foul line, then the Thunder have a shot.
I’m going to choose the Clutch Point God & the OKC Thunder to take Game 7, over Houston’s potent, but high variance, offensive attack. Also, why didn’t Harden have the ball at the end of the game?
Pete: I originally went with the Rockets winning this series but damn, after watching CP3 stare down James Harden and completely strip him of all power in Game 6, I just don’t know how the Rockets come back from that. Russell Westbrook will hopefully be rust free for Game 7 but it’s hard to not go with the ever vengeful point God Chris Paul carrying his team past the Rockets, especially on an neutral court.
Can I split my vote between the Thunder almost certainly winning and the Rockets winning when they shoot 60% from three on 70 shot attempts?
Which teams move on?
This poll is closed
Nuggets and Rockets
Nuggets and Thunder
Jazz and Rockets
Jazz and Thunder
A quick note on the passing of legendary Coach John Thompson: we’ve lost Representative John Lewis, real life superhero Chadwick Boseman, and Coach Thompson in short order. All three men worked to make the world a better place, in ways big and small. Each of them believed in us, and they taught people the power of education, perseverance, dignity, and strength. They remind us of the nobility of humanity.
These are dark times. Please don’t despair. They never surrendered; nor should we. RIP to three teachers, three heroes, three Men, three Americans. You were blessings upon us, and we’ll never forget you.