The NBA playoffs are moving fast, and already we find ourselves in the second round.
The Eastern Conference has four talented teams competing for a chance to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Miami Heat (who are the first seed of the East) are taking on the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Boston Celtics are facing the defending champions in the Milwaukee Bucks.
If you have not followed the playoffs, it is fine. Here’s a quick look at the remaining teams and how they got to this point.
1.) Miami Heat
The Miami Heat are the first seed of the East, and after beating the Atlanta Hawks in five games, they take on an injured Philadelphia.
Miami has a 2-0 lead over Philly, with their last win being a 119-103 win on Wednesday. The Heat had four players in double figures, with center Bam Adebayo leading the way with 23 points. Their star Jimmy Butler had 22 points and 12 assists. Victor Olapido turned back the clock with a 19-point performance and the 2022 Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro had 18.
The Sixers had solid play from players like Tyrese Maxey and James Harden, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Heat. Game 2 was reminiscent of the first game of the series, and the stacked Heat outplayed the Sixers.
2.) Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are the second seed of the East, and after sweeping the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, Boston has a bigger challenge ahead of them. The Celtics have the defending champs and after the Bucks stole Game 1 on the road, Boston responded with a Game 2 win.
Celtics star Jayson Tatum led Boston with 21 points and had some contributions from Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, (an injured) Marcus Smart and others. But Milwaukee looked excellent in Game 1 and beat the Celtics 101-89. Boston responded without a blowout of their own when they beat Milwaukee 109-86. The duo of Brown and Tatum combined for 59 points, while Grant Williams had 21.
Game 3 of this series is not until Saturday but as the first games show, this series is up for grabs.
3.) Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks are on a quest to win their second championship, but a few obstacles stand in their way. They are playing without their second option in Khris Middleton (who suffered a left knee MCL sprain in the first round) and the Celtics are not an easy task.
As mentioned, Milwaukee won Game 1, and their star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had a triple-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. The two-time MVP (and finalist for this year’s MVP) looks hungry for another championship and despite their loss in Game 2, Antetokounmpo did his job. Now, with a return to Milwaukee, the Bucks can take control of the series and improve their chances of advancing.
4.) Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers advanced to the second round after their competitive series against the Toronto Raptors. They are down against the Heat, and one of their biggest obstacles is playing without their star.
Center Joel Embiid is battling multiple injuries including a facial fracture and concussion. And as it stands, Embiid will miss Game 3. The Sixers must rely on players like James Harden and Tyrese Maxey if they want to advance. And although the duo played well in Game 2, they have a challenge ahead of them.
The series between the Sixers and the Heat is headed to Philadelphia, and if the Sixers get a win, their championship aspirations are still alive. But it won’t be easy.
The NBA playoffs have been exciting, and as these series progress, we’ll be closer to the finals.