NBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchups

After an exciting opening round of the NBA playoffs, which saw the NBA-best Phoenix SunsThe ability to be tested by New Orleans PelicansThey are trio of unheralded rookies, Luka DoncicThe Dallas MavericksSend the Utah JazzTo an uncertain offseasonThe Boston CelticsWe are now in the conference semifinals, having beaten the preseason league title favorites.

Even though the higher seeds were able to advance in each series in Round 1, it is unlikely that this will happen again on the way to the NBA Finals.

The Memphis GrizzliesTo oust him, he needed to make three comebacks in the fourth quarter with double-digit numbers. Minnesota TimberwolvesIn six games, could be vulnerable Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Jordan PooleA revitalized and improved environment Golden State WarriorsJust eliminated the reigning MVP by their squad.

Since the beginning of the second half, the Celtics have been considered the most popular team in the league. Their reward? Giannis AntetokounmpoAnd the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.

What drama will you find in the second round of the playoffs? Our NBA experts breakdown each series.

NBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchups


NBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchupsNBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchupsNBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchups

Stats and odds for series

  • Basketball Power Index (BPI), Miami 75%

  • Caesars Sportsbook: Miami -420 | Philadelphia +320

  • Ratings of offensive nature: MIA (113.0), 12th; PHI (113.0), 11th| PHI (113.0, 11th)

  • Defensive ratings: MIA (108.14, 4th) | PHI (110.2, 12th)


How did the Heat get here?

For a Miami team that had 23 starting lineups due to injuries, the regular season was a battle of attrition. However, they managed to win the No. The Eastern Conference was the No. 1 seed.

The first round was a success because of the plug-and play attitude. Kyle Lowry(hamstring), missing Games 4 & 5 Jimmy Butler(knee), out for Game 5, and Heat found a way of defeating the Atlanta HawksWithout them.

“I think we have each others back,” Heat forward Caleb Martin said after eliminating Atlanta.

P.J. is sneaky MVP in the first round Tucker

Tucker's numbers are not overwhelming — he ranked sixth in points per team (9.6) and third in rebounding (6.2) — but his overall impact is not to be underestimated.

He's our defense's lifeline. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves, in my view.” Heat center Bam AdebayoAfter the Hawks' win, the club's closeout win was announced. This series saw Miami's defense totally fail to impress the Atlanta All-Star guard. Trae Young.

“On certain nights, he gets only two shots and doesn’t say much. Just to have a teammate such as that, I believe he is the reason our defense is the way is is.”

Tucker will be asked to bring the same intensity to Miami's second round matchup against Philadelphia, his former teammate James Harden.

— Dave McMenamin


How the 76ers got there

After you escape the Ben SimmonsHarden and Saga to Pair with MVP Finalist Joel EmbiidPhiladelphia came in fourth place in the East. They were then faced with an extremely difficult matchup in the first round with the Toronto RaptorsEven though the 76ers were trailing 3-0, he managed to push them to six games. The good news was that Philly got back on track after a dominating Game 6 performance at Toronto. This allowed him to move into a matchup in Miami. The bad news is: Embiid is out indefinitelyConcussion and facial injury.

Sneaky MVP in the first round: Danny Green

Green has seen more than just a handful of playoff games during his long NBA career. Even at this stage, Green proved his worth against Toronto. With Matisse ThybulleCanada Games: Canada Sidelined due to not being fully vaccinatedGreen's minutes soared from under 22 per game up to 31.

Green, Philadelphia's true 3-and-D player was also the reason why Green scored the most triples (16) in six of his games against the Raptors. Green's combination of strong shooting and experience should keep him in a large role against Miami.

— Tim Bontemps



Stephen A. Smith discusses Joel Embiid’s injury, and how it impacts the 76ers’ series vs. Heat.

What to watch: Embiid’s injury status

The outcome of this series will depend on how long it takes Embiid for his recovery from a concussion (or orbital bone fracture) and the time it takes him to get well.

Embiid caught a Raptors elbow forward Pascal SiakamThe game is over with only 3:58 remaining. Philadelphia has been robbed of its main franchise asset at both ends of court.

It's a horrible stroke of bad luck. Embiid has spoken on numerous occasions about the pride he felt in only missing four games this season because of injury and getting rid his injury-prone tag. He's had both this and a torn thumb ligament in his shooting hand.

The 76ers will try to figure out where to go from hereYou have the option of playing, but not all of them. DeAndre JordanPlay! Paul ReedThere are two options: going small or more. This team is designed to be powered by Embiid.


NBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchups

NBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchupsNBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchupsNBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchups

Stats and odds for series

  • Basketball Power Index (BPI: Boston 62%

  • Caesars Sportsbook: Boston -200 | Milwaukee +170

  • Offensive ratings: BOS (113.6, 9th) | MIL (114.3, 3rd)

  • Defensive ratings: BOS (106.2, 1st) | MIL (111.1, 14th)


How did the Celtics get here?

After a rough start to the season, Celtics found their groove and kept going after Christmas. They won the first round. Kevin DurantThe Brooklyn Nets— Doing an outstanding defensive job against the former MVP. After dominating the preseason NBA title favourite, Boston is confident going into this series.

Sneaky MVP for the first round Marcus Smart

Jayson TatumHis game was elevated during the Nets series. He provided the kind of consistent superstar performances that defined the team's wins (but in shadow of Tatum’s greatness, the steady play), especially on defense — from the 2022 Defensive Players of the Year.

Smart averaged 16.5 points and seven assists during the series. But his ability to make a difference defensively was the reason the Celtics were so successful against Durant and Co. Smart, who is 6'4″ tall, doesn't mind playing with bigger players. This will help him against Antetokounmpo (MVP finalist) and the Bucks.

— Nick Friedell


How the Bucks got there

The Bucks have been working hard to reach this moment. It is the first real test of their title defense. Milwaukee finished the regular season with a record identical to Boston's. But the Bucks rested all their starters on the final day. This allowed them to meet the Bulls in the first round. The Bulls won five of those games and gave Milwaukee homecourt advantage for the second round.

Sneaky MVP in the first round: Jrue Holiday

Holiday managed to score modestly in the first round against Bulls, even with Khris Middleton sidelined for most of the seriesHoliday, however, turned up the heat on Chicago's All Star duo throughout the series. Zach LaVine DeMar DeRozanHoliday shadowed them both and combined their shots to shoot 30% from field during the series. Wesley Matthews. Overall, the Bulls shot 29% in the series when Holiday was the closest defender, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Holiday was able to shoot 41% from 3, a record for him, during the regular season. This could be significant considering the Bucks will need more offense from Holiday in this series.

Jamal Collier

What to watch: Giannis against Boston's interior defense

This series' winner will be decided in the paint by a battle between an irresistible force or an immovable object.

Antetokounmpo of Bucks, one the league's top rim attackers is up against Boston interior defense, which is one the stingiest league players.

Antetokounmpo, who averaged 18 points per match in the paint, punished the Bulls within during the first-round series. According to Second Spectrum tracking, Antetokounmpo was the NBA's leader in made layups (and dunks), and scored the most direct drives in the league with 18 points per game.

The real test is now, with Milwaukee losing one of its top perimeter scorers in Middleton.

Boston allowed the NBA's lowest number of points on direct drives, and the league's lowest percentage of paint field goals. They were second in league field goal percentage allowed at rim and have been the most consistent in league play since Jan. 1.

Antetokounmpo is not the only defender available to the Celtics, but there are many others. Robert Williams III, Grant WilliamsAntetokounmpo shot 1-for-7 during the season on matchups in half court. Al HorfordPer Second Spectrum, he has been Antetokounmpo's defender on shot attempts more often than any other defender in league.


NBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchups


NBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchupsNBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchupsNBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchups

Stats and odds for series

  • Basketball Power Index (BPI): Dallas 54%

  • Caesars Sportsbook: Phoenix -300 | Dallas +240

  • Offensive ratings: DAL (112.5), 14th; PHX (14.2, 5th); DAL (112.5), 14th).| DAL (112.5, 14th)

  • Defensive ratings: DAL (109.1, 7th), PHX (106.78, 3rd)| DAL (109.1, 7th)


How did the Suns get here

The Suns breezed through the regular season with a record 64 wins, but they were faced with some challenges in the first round. Devin BookerIn Game 2 against the Assault, I was diagnosed with a hamstring injury. New Orleans Pelicans. They responded with wins in Games 5 and 6 to end the game.

Sneaky MVP in the first round: Mikal Bridges

Bridges' Game 5 was an outstanding performance. Bridges played to the end of 66 seconds, scoring 31 points. He also went 4-for-4 deep and scored four steals. Bridges became the seventh player to record 30 points, four 3s, and four steals during a playoff game. LeBron JamesKevin Durant Kawhi Leonard, Kobe Bryant, and Vince Carter.

Bridges was his main defensive force throughout the series. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Bridges held the Pelicans to 37% shooting (32-of-86) as the primary defender. Bridges was also responsible for 14 turnovers (second most in postseason) while limiting New Orleans' scoring to 0.82 points per game as the primary defender.

— Andrew Lopez


How did the Mavericks get here?

Dallas won its first playoff series after its 2011 title run. Coach Jason Kidd was there…at point guard — despite the fact that Dallas had already won their 2011 title. Luka DoncicDue to a strain in the left calf, I missed the first three games against Jazz. Guard Jalen BrunsonHe averaged 27.8 points per game and had only four turnovers. This was his breakout series.

Sneaky MVP in the first round: Dorian Finney-Smith

Brunson was too extraordinary to be considered sneaky. Let's just go with Finney Smith. The Jazz star's main defender was the small forward. Donovan MitchellFinney-Smith was credited by, who acknowledged his inefficiency throughout the series (39.8% on the floor, 20.8% at the 3-point range).

Finney Smith was also a major offensive contributor. He averaged 13.2 point and 2.8 assists, while hitting 17-of 43 on 3s. His rebounding average of 6.3 per game was crucial to the Mavs' success with their small lineups. Finney-Smith, at 6-foot-7, was often the center. He played 288 of the 288 minutes during the series. It already seems like a bargain that Finney-Smith's $55.5 million, four-year extension signed in February looks good.

— Tim MacMahon

What to Watch: Luka against Phoenix's perimeter defense

Monty Williams, Suns coach, will likely want his Defensive Players of the Year nominee on Doncic. The Mavericks will determine how they hunt for their matchups how Bridges will protect Doncic.

Doncic didn't play in two of the three games between Phoenix and Dallas this season. In the one game Doncic did play, Bridges had 31 half-court matchups against him, double any other Suns player, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. shows Doncic was only 1-for-2 against Bridges. Dallas had one goal: Bridges OffThey did their best to protect Doncic. Bridges changed nine times while Doncic was being guarded by Booker and either Booker. Chris PaulAssisting as the primary defender for six switches.

Everything the Suns did was successful. Doncic was 9-of23 overall, and 2-of-9 in distance in 38 mins. The outcome of this series could be decided by how Phoenix defends Doncic.

— Lopez

NBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchups

NBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchupsNBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchupsNBA playoffs 2022 – The stars and storylines of the second round, as well as matchups

Stats and odds for series

  • Basketball Power Index (BPI), Memphis 67%

  • Caesars Sportsbook: Memphis +200 | Golden State -240

  • GS (112.1, 16th)| GS (112.1, 16th)

  • Defensive ratings MEM (108.9, 6th) | GS (106.6, 2nd)


How the Grizzlies got there

Memphis had the second-best record in NBA, despite not having Ja MorantFor 25 games. Because they were at their best in clutch play, the Grizzlies are in round two. They were trailing by an amazing 68.5% against the Timberwolves, but they outscored Minnesota by 52 points in the fourth quarter. It will be much harder to do that against a Warriors team with championship experience.

Sneaky MVP for the first round Desmond Bane

The Grizzlies' star player, Bane, continues to be a major force. In the first round, Bane led Memphis with 23.5 points and 4.3 rebounds. He also averaged 1.2 blocks per night while shooting 48.2% from three. Not only will he be required to keep Memphis in the game at long range with Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Jordan Poole but he will also need to bring the energy on both ends of court. The Warriors won't allow Bane to get away in the second round as he did in Games 3 and 4.

— Ohm Youngmisuk


How did the Warriors get here?

The Warriors regular season was plagued with injuries to star players. This prevented any glimpse of their true potential. In the playoffs, however, the Warriors proved just how great they could be. They are the best team in the league. new-look small-ball lineupThey won two games against the Nuggets in a blowout, while Golden State's two other wins showed that they can win close games.

Sneaky MVP in the first round: Gary Payton II

It's easy for Poole to receive this honor, as he enjoyed his official coming out party during the first round as a rising star in NBA basketball. Payton was the sneaky MVP of Golden State's series. It is no coincidence that Payton checked in to a game against Nuggets each time, and the Warriors went on a little run. Payton provided the Warriors with his top-of-the-line defense throughout the series, even when he was up against rookie spark plugs. Bones HylandFor most of the series, you can also spend time on Monte Morris, Will BartonAnd even the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. Payton gave the Warriors an offensive boost by scoring wide-open shots that the Nuggets would not allow him to shoot. The dagger over was his most memorable and important bucket. Jeff GreenThis was enough to win the series.

— Kendra Andrews



Steph Curry explains the similarities between the Grizzlies' team this year and the Warriors teams he was on in the early stages of his career.

Watch: Morant vs. Payton II

Payton has been known to take on the role of guarding the best guard for opponents, so this matchup with Morant is one to be awestruck by.

According to Second Spectrum tracking, Payton represented Morant in 88 matchups on the half-court during the regular season. This was the third highest number of matches by any player. New York KnicksRJ Barrett(109) and Minnesota TimberwolvesPatrick Beverley (108). (108).

Payton needs to be careful not to commit fouls against Morant. But, if he is able make things difficult for the Grizzlies superstar, it could give the Warriors a tremendous boost in the second round.

— Andrews

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