How has the NBA conference semifinals changed after Game 2 of their second game?
For the Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee BucksAnd Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors showdowns, plenty.
In Boston, Jaylen BrownAnd Jayson TatumTogether, they scored 59 points to be the league's No. Memphis's 1 defense held the Bucks to a 3-for-18 record from the 3-point line. Ja MorantThe playoff record-high 47 points by Grizzlies in playoffs lifted them to the series-tying win in their most exciting matchup so far in the second round.
For the Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ersAnd Phoenix Suns vs. Dallas MavericksIt was not a series.
Miami continued to capitalize on Philadelphia's short-handedness, claiming another double-digit victory. Newly crowned Sixth Man Of The Year Tyler HerroGame 1 was the duo that fueled it. Jimmy ButlerAnd Bam AdebayoHeat guard with a total of 45 points, 15 rebound and 15 assists.
Phoenix Chris PaulA fourth-quarter run led by the team that broke open Game 2 Luka DoncicThe Mavs.
What happens in Game 3 following Thursday's off-day? Our NBA experts breakdown the next matchup in each round.
It is a refrain that we hear over and over again Phoenix SunsFollowing their victory in Game 1, players Dallas MavericksIt was how they let their feet off the gas in fourth quarter, allowing Suns' 21 point cushion to be cut to five by the Mavs in the final minutes. And how they needed to rectify that as the series went on.
The Suns were on fire in the fourth quarter of the 129-109 Game 2 victory to make it 2-0 in Western Conference semifinals. The Suns unleashed a dominant offensive attack in the fourth on Wednesday, outscoring the Mavericks 40-26 and shooting 16-for-19 (84.2%) from the field, which is the second-best offensive showing by any team in a fourth quarter in the playoffs in the past 25 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Suns were the only team to do better. The San Antonio SpursIn the 2014 NBA Finals — A team that is remembered for its incredible clinics and en route to Tim Duncan's fifth title.
Chris PaulStill searching for ring number 1. He continues to search for the ring number 1 and is making every effort to obtain it. He went 6-for-7 during the fourth quarter of Game 2 and scored 14 of his 28 points in that final frame. This was his fourth consecutive postseason in which he scored at least 10 points in the fourth quarter, which is the highest in the NBA.
“It's fun. Paul spoke highly of the fourth quarter stage. The fans love the end of games. Players, I believe you always had to lean on the work. It's all about the work. All it boils down to is the work.
— Dave McMenamin
Heat 2, 76ers 0Miami's sixth man is Herro
Butler always emphasized that Herro is a 22-year old with a lot of talent, but he also appreciates the hard work he puts in every day.
So Butler, the one who has clashed with younger teammates in the pastHerro felt he was not putting in enough effort so it was no surprise that Herro won the Sixth Man of The Year award. Herro also scored 18 points in Wednesday’s win over Sixers.
After Game 2, Butler stated that it was time for him to be recognized and that he would be a major reason that we win the tournament this year.
Herro playing at this level is a boost to an already confident group. The Heat have the right weapon to win this series. Adebayo and Butler can stretch the floor to allow Herro to play. Joel EmbiidReturn for Game 3 or 4.
The way Herro, veteran Victor OladipoThe Heat are so happy to be playing from the bench with 19 points added in Game 2.
“[Herro]Erik Spoelstra, Heat coach said that Spoelstra is “one of the young stars” in the league. “He has been able silence all the noise, and sacrificed to do what was best for his group. It was a great way to win and succeed. That's the essence of it all. Tyler is all about that.
Herro can keep making the plays that he has in this series. If he does, he will create another award for himself. This summer, Herro will get a massive extension that will put him in a good position for his long-term in Miami.
— Nick Friedell
The Warriors and Grizzlies knew that Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinals matchup would be intense.
When the Grizzlies moved forward, Steve Kerr, Warriors head coach, quickly called physicality “dirty”. Dillon BrooksFlagrant 2 foul on Warriors Guard ejected Gary Payton IIThat caused Payton's left elbow to be fractured.
Sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on WednesdayPayton will be absent for at least one month. This would allow him to return only if the Warriors reach their NBA Finals.
Payton was the obvious choice to protect Morant. It even earned him a job as a starter in Games 1 and 2. Payton can play like a big man in a small guard's body which allows him to stay with Morant on almost every step.
Golden State's loss to Payton is a huge blow. Morant had gone 3-for-8 (38%) with Payton as the primary defender in the series, according to ESPN Stats & Information (Morant is 23-for-50 against all other Warriors defenders, including 3-for-4 in transition.)
How will the Warriors defend Morant right now?
The Warriors have been unable to match Morant's skill as a defender in the paint or air through the first two games. They have also dared to use the electric guard to defeat them as perimeter shooters.
Morant was 5-for-12 from beyond he arc on Tuesday as part of his 47 point night.
After Payton had left the game, Morant also showed how vulnerable Golden State can be when he went downhill.
The Warriors switched Andrew WigginsAnd Jordan PooleAfter Payton was taken down, Morant took over the majority of the game. It wasn't as efficient.
Golden State is hoping Andre Iguodala, who missed the first two games of the series with a neck injuryTo help with the defensive duties, he will be available Saturday. Even though Iguodala doesn't have the speed he used to, his defensive IQ is still high.
Morant is not a clear choice for the Warriors, but they have options.
— Kendra Andrews
Celtics 1, Bucks 1Giannis could face the most difficult test yet
The Celtics have given Giannis AntetokounmpoThere were not many easy baskets in the first two games.
Antetokounmpo has been averaging 26 points, 11 boards, and 9.5 assists in the last two games. But he's always had someone to help him. He is shooting 38.5% from field, going 1-for-6 (16.7% on 3-pointers) and 55% from the free throw line. He also commits 5.5 turnovers per week. He hasn't been defended by any other team this season.
Mike Budenholzer, Bucks coach, said that after Game 2: “You have to give their defensors credit.” “But Giannis, it's always a puzzle for him.”
The key to the series will be decided by Antetokounmpo's ability to figure out the Celtics defense.
For years, the strategy for defending Antetokounmpo was the same: get physical, build a perimeter around him, make him shoot jump shots, and then send help to him when he is around the basket.
The Celtics may have the talent and personnel to pull it off.
They've been rotated Al Horford, Robert Williams IIIAnd Grant WilliamsAntetokounmpo's principal defenders, they each did enough to disrupt his pace.
Antetokounmpo didn't go into details about Game 2 regarding how the Celtics had frustrated his, but the Bucks have three more days to find a solution for their best player.
Antetokounmpo has not been stopped by any team since last season's playoffs when the Bucks won the first championship in fifty years. Milwaukee lost 0-2 to Antetokounmpo in their title series against the Brooklyn Nets and the Suns, before rallying to win each series. Antetokounmpo was more dominant over the series.
The Bucks are not in as deep of a hole this season. They managed to take home court advantage in Game 1 despite Antetokounmpo's poor shooting performance. This was due to his playmaking abilities. The Bucks will probably need more offensively from Antetokounmpo to win this series.
It will be necessary to overcome one of his greatest challenges. The Celtics were the No. The Celtics were No. 1 in defensive efficiency and neutralized Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irvingand the Nets in Round 1.
The Bucks can still advance in this series even if they miss the playoffs. Khris MiddletonAntetokounmpo may be able to make another run for a championship.
So far, however, the Celtics have not had to comment on this.