The NBA season heats up as the playoffs begin

The NBA playoffs are rolling into action with 16 teams vying to lift the trophy. The playoffs have no clear favourite with some of the most wide-open draws seen in a long time. 

In the Eastern Conference, No. 1 seeds the Miami Heat are hoping to capitalise on their form and the abilities of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro to take them one step further than their run to the finals in 2020. The biggest challenge for the No 1 seed in the East is likely to be Champions, the Milwaukee Bucks. They are trying to build a dynasty around the generational talent of Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks are hoping the two-time MVP will continue averaging 29.9 points per game in the postseason.

The other team tipped to do well in the Eastern Conference is the Philadelphia 76ers, led by the domineering centre, Joel Embiid and backed up by one of the best shooting guards in the NBA, James Harden. The 76ers and Harden will look to overcome their poor records in the postseason. 

The Phoenix Suns, in the Western Conference, are chasing their first title, led by Monty Williams, who was named coach of the year for the second time running. The Suns’ lethal offence of Devin Booker and Chris Paul and backed up in defence by forward Mikal Bridges making them formidable opponents. 

Golden State Warriors fans will be hoping Steph Curry is up to full fitness as he seeks to add to his collection of championships but will be mindful of the threat posed in the first round by the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets will be relying on Nikola Jokić to power them to a series win over the Warriors. 

Finally, the Dallas Mavericks face the Utah Jazz, who are off the back of a five-game losing streak hoping to turn their fortunes around. If the Mavericks’ star player Luka Doncic is back to full fitness, it’s likely that the Jazz will struggle in this series. 

Whatever happens on the court it is likely to be a thrilling battle between teams right up until the final buzzer.

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George Barsted

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June 2022
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