When I was younger, and free of responsibilities, today would be exactly the sort of day where I may not actually step out of the house during daylight hours. From just before lunch time, until after the sun goes down, the NBA has set us up with a series of exciting NBA playoff games.
2:00 pm: Game 4 between the Portland Trailblazers and New Orleans Pelicans (Pelicans lead 3-0)
The overview (and my prediction)
76ers at Heat
Ok, starting from the top, we’ve probably got my favorite game out of today’s set. We knew coming in that the 76ers were going to be putting up a fight to come out of the East, but what many of us have been blindsided by is how chippy and exciting this series has become.
Some dude just got fined $15k for trying to break Joel Embiid’s fancy new protective goggles by intentionally stepping on them! Between the raw talent and athleticism on display from both sides, to the raw emotion, this has been a great series over the course of the first two games. Game 3 brings a change of venue, but neither team will be backing down an inch.
Prediction: Philly wins this one. You don’t break someone’s protective gear, ya jerk!! Especially not Twitter legend Joel Embiid! Don’t just trust the process, put some respek on their name!
Blazers at Pelicans
Have you ever watched professional wrestling? Anyways, there are a couple of ways these matches tend to go. Sometimes, the favorite gets put on the ropes, staggers, but eventually turns the tables and wins. But at other times, when it is something like Hulk Hogan versus Jim Stephenson... one of the wrestlers just comes out and abuses the other guy; toying with them like a mouse before finally putting a merciful end to the match.
The second scenario seems like the more likely outcome today. The Blazers have nothing. If basketball dreams were Zen Koans, the Blazers’ would be something like “how can you save a franchise without saving it?” Lillard has been completely removed from existence by the Pelicans, and so too have that franchise’s dreams.
As our very own Hugo Kitano wrote this morning, how about those Pelicans?
Prediction: it’s a sweep.
Beyond just being a sweep though, this series may signal a major shift in franchise fortune, for both teams. Anthony Davis is a monster, and Jrue Holiday is healthy (finally) and reminding people that he deserves a bit more name recognition than he currently gets.
Rockets at Timberwolves
While I’m a bit more cautious about this prediction, it doesn’t feel like the TWolves are about to figure out the Rockets. It goes beyond just the on-court talent. The Wolves are getting outcoached and outclassed by a powerful Rockets team.
No shame in that, really. But it would be pretty shocking if the Rockets lost a single game in this series
Prediction: It’s (probably going to be) a sweep
NBA would really benefit from ending a series at 3-0. I'm sure it'll be cool when a team finally comes back from 0-3, but in the meantime we've had hundreds of boring games that detract from the playoff atmosphere— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) April 21, 2018
Thunder at Jazz
Seems as if the bookend games today are going to be the most fun. Their last game, OKC struggled down the stretch and managed to lose to a Utah. After slinging shade at our boy Kevin Durant for the past two seasons, I’m sure I’m not the only one getting high on schadenfreude watching Russell Westbrook lead another team to nowhere.
Prediction: ... I guess I’m taking the Jazz, but if OKC can find their shot again, it could swing either way.