The 2023 NBA playoffs are still in the first round, but the series – and teams’ seasons – are ending. The Milwaukee Bucks finished with more regular season wins than any other team yet they’re one of the first teams sent packing. As we work our way toward the end of the first round, let’s look at three big lessons we have been able to gather from the past week and a half of action since the first round began on Saturday, April 15.
No Clear-Cut Favorite For The Championship
The Boston Celtics would seem to be the best team in the NBA on paper, but they blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead to an undermanned Atlanta Hawk team in Game 5 of the first round on Tuesday night. The Celtics were up 109-96 with close to six minutes left in regulation against an Atlanta squad that was without Dejounte Murray, who had been suspended for Game 5 due to bumping an official in Game 4 of the series on Sunday.
The Celtics were 13.5-point favorites at BetAnySports.eu heading into the game. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks were bounced in the first round in four games. Normally, the top seeds are very safe but maybe this postseason is different. It looks like things might be wider open than previously expected.
As for the West, the action is very balanced. The Denver Nuggets play the Phoenix Suns in the West semifinals. That’s a 50-50 series. The Golden State Warriors are 3-2 with the Sacramento Kings. No Western Conference team is separating from the rest of the pack. The NBA title is truly up for grabs right now.
Grizzlies Are Not Ready For Prime Time
The Memphis Grizzlies are down 3-2 to the Los Angeles Lakers, but what’s worse is that Dillon Brooks provided Laker superstar LeBron James with bulletin-board material. He poked the bear and LeBron responded by playing great in Games 3 and 4 to push the Grizzlies to the brink of elimination.
The Grizzlies are a very immature team with no real central leadership at this point. They are undisciplined and irresponsible, and they do not show signs of having the toughness and clarity needed to make a serious run – even if they get out of the first round.
Sacramento Kings Have A Bright Future
The Kings have no playoff experience but they’re learning quickly. This is their first playoff series in more than a decade. They have a lot of hungry, young players, but usually, when young players get their first taste of the playoffs, and that first taste is against a proven team such as the defending champion Golden State Warriors, we see a lot of nerves and frailty and other inadequacies. The Kings look different.
The Kings look like a mature team that fully belongs on the same court as the Warriors. They aren’t backing down from the champions. Sacramento has shown a ton of toughness and skill in fighting to a 2-2 series through four games.
They almost took a 3-1 lead. This series is a battle Sacramento could win. Regardless, this is now a team that you have to consider and trust for NBA futures going forward. They won 48 games this season and have a young core that looks like they’re going to be a contender in the West in the coming years.
Updated NBA Playoffs Odds At BetAnySports Sportsbook
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