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NBA – Playoffs Semifinals kick off

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NBA – The 8 best teams of the tournament are left to define the finalists of the Playoffs. The last winner, candidates and teams that have reasons to believe in an explosive NBA.

By Facundo Di Bona (@facudibona).

There were 16 and 8 remained. The NBA post-season starts its cruising speed after the first round and will face its Conference Semifinals. Antepenultimate step to the championship ring.

There are the defending champions, Milwaukee Bucks, as well as the two best teams of the first duels, Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors. Those who are not, Brooklyn Nets, big losers for the second consecutive season.

Celtics and Warriors lead the predictions for portentous first rounds. In Boston’s pride, the sweep of the Nets was spectacular. Tatum and Brown shredded the two players who could really compete on the opposing franchise, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

For their part, the Warriors left MVP candidate Nikola Jokic helpless against the unprecedented offensive pace of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and surprise package Jordan Poole.

A fact of little relevance at the moment of truth. But what makes the NBA regular season stand out is that no team outside the top 4 reached the Conference Semifinals. That is to say, there has been no theoretical surprise by classification. No seventh games either.

Eastern Conference

Miami Heat (1) – (4) Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid’s indefinite layoff changes everything. That’s the reality of the series between Miami and Philadelphia. The African interior is the key for the Sixers who will have to rely on James Harden. Who conditions for better and for worse. And his decisions will be fundamental.

Because Miami Heat has shown an impeccable game. They erased Trae Young with an immense defense. They signed the injury-ravaged Oladipo to the cause. And Spoelstra once again has a team like the one that played in the NBA Finals at DisneyWorld. Competitive and annoying for the opponent.

Boston Celtics (2) – (3) Milwaukee Bucks

The best series so far in the Playoffs. And it will probably be the best of the whole series. Two great teams. On one side the champion, Milwaukee Bucks. On the other, Boston Celtics, the best team at the moment. Giannis Antetokounmpo against a perfect defense. His fear of the outside shot, Middleton’s absence. Everything.

Let’s hope it’s seven games. Because the show between Bucks and Celtics can be tremendous. Two ways to play, two perfect attitudes on the court. That dichotomy between stopping the star, Giannis, with a zone. And forcing him from the outside or looking for full-court intensity.

Western Conference

Phoenix Suns (1) – (4) Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic’s first time in the second round. The Slovenian – star of the Dallas Mavericks and the NBA – led the franchise presided over by eccentric Mark Cuban past the first-round wall after two seasons. He determined everything against the Jazz and was superlative on offense. He generates for himself and his team. And from the outside he is a constant threat.

But it will be even more difficult. Because Phoenix Suns live in a total now or never. This is their year. After losing the NBA Finals 2021 to the Bucks, they have a rejuvenated Chris Paul. They have Devin Booker who is injured, but still present. And the total player of Bridges from the three-point shot. Although they have a tougher time than in the regular season, they still know how to compete. And that is essential in the Playoff. A great playoffs.

Memphis Grizzlies (2) – (3) Golden State Warriors

The least evenly matched series of the Conference Semifinals. And in which the team with the best previous ranking is not given real options. The Warriors’ performance in the first round not only gives them favoritism against Memphis.

But for the championship title. Undefendable. With a galactic Curry, Klay Thompson back and the explosion of Poole is a clash that has clear imbalance.

More with the current Grizzlies. Against Minnesota they have shown their inconsistency. Capable of winning any game. But also to lose by 30 before the break. Their youth is influential in everything. Of course, with Ja Morant on the court. You have to be very bold to discard them.

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