Storylines

Week 26 NBA Storylines

LeBron & Co. have already moved on to the next round of the playoffs, but there is still plenty of first round action left. Let’s take a look at each series, what we have seen so far, and what’s to come.


Celtics vs. Bulls

Considering everything that happened with Rajon Rondo and the Bulls this season, it’s pretty wild that losing Rondo has killed the Bulls’ momentum in the playoffs. In the middle of the year Chicago was looking to trade Rondo and even considered cutting him. However, the former Celtics point guard was the key to Chicago’s two road victories against Boston.

Rondo was ruled out “indefinitely” due to a broken thumb, but there’s a chance he could return as soon as game 5. While Rondo has been out Chicago’s back-up point guard play has been an enormous disappointment.

After going up 2–0 in the series, the Bulls went back to Chicago and lost two straight games to Boston to even up the series.

As usual, Thomas has been brilliant on offense in the series. But the big shock was Gerald Green putting up 18 points in game four. If Boston is going to win this series, they’re going to need Jae Crowder and the rest of their role players to step up.

Cavs vs. Pacers

After completing a sweep of the Pacers on Sunday, LeBron has now won 21 consecutive first round playoff games. He’s also never lost a first round playoff series.

James finished the series averaging 32.8 points, 9 assists, and 9.8 rebounds per game while shooting 54.3% from the field. He also finished the series shooting an impressive 45% from 3-point range —making him nearly unguardable. LeBron’s only real flaw in the series? His free throw percentage — 57.9% in four games.

As for “the switch” everyone was looking for the Cavs to flip, their defense is still not there yet.


With Paul George’s future up in the air, Indiana must focus on the offseason now. After the game, George wasn’t exactly eager to discuss his 2018 free agency or his desire to stay in Indiana.

This should be one of the top stories of the summer. Will the Pacers decide to trade George or will they look to build around him and hope he’ll stay? Teague will be a free agent as well. Indiana has a lot of big decisions coming up.

Raptors vs. Bucks

For the Raptors, this series has been all about DeMar DeRozan. When he plays well, the team wins. When he struggles, so do the Raptors. Here are DeRozan’s numbers in the first four games of the series:

ESPN

That’s right. He didn’t make a single field goal during game three at Milwaukee. Unsurprisingly, the Raptors lost that game. They also lost game one where he shot 7–21 from the field. In both games where he shot 50% or better, the Raptors won.

Game 5 is tonight, and Toronto will need another good game from DeRozan to take a lead in the series.

Wizards vs. Hawks

In the first three games of the series, John Wall is averaging 31 points and 10 assists per game while shooting 55.4% from the field and 71.4% from 3-point range. Could he possibly be playing any better?

The Wizards will look to take a 3–1 lead tonight after a disappointing loss in game 3.

If Atlanta is going to get back in this series, they’ll need a lot more production out of Dwight Howard who hasn’t scored more than 7 points in a game this series.

Warriors vs. Blazers

After scoring 32 points in game one, the Warriors have been without Kevin Durant due to a calf injury. They will also be without Steve Kerr who is still dealing with serious back issues.

Meanwhile, it’s been clear from game one of the series that Portland never really had a chance. Dame and CJ played as well as possible in game one, and Portland still lost by 12 points.

Whether KD plays tonight or not, a sweep is on the horizon.

Spurs vs. Grizzlies

So far, the best game of the playoffs was easily game four between the Spurs and Grizzlies. In case you missed it, here’s the crazy ending.

Gasol and Conley have both been great in this series and while Conley may have the largest contract in NBA history, he is still largely under-appreciated.

Kawhi Leonard has also been unreal for San Antonio, putting up one unbelievable performance after another.

San Antonio could really use more production out of LaMarcus Aldridge, who grabbed just two rebounds in 42 minutes on Saturday. If they end up losing this series, exploring trades for Aldridge might be something the Spurs should look at.

Rockets vs. Thunder

Russell Westbrook will most likely win the MVP award, but it looks like the Thunder are about to be eliminated.

OKC almost pulled off an incredible comeback in game four, but they now trail the Rockets 3–1.

With Westbrook off the floor, OKC has really struggled this series.

As for Harden, he received plenty of help from his bench guys on Sunday. Especially Nene who didn’t miss a shot in his 12 attempts from the field.

Clippers vs. Jazz

After suffering a toe injury in game 3, Blake Griffin has been ruled out for the rest of this playoffs. Awful timing and luck yet again for the Clippers. With Blake heading into free agency this summer, it might be time for him and the Clippers to part ways. So, we may have actually seen him in a Clippers uniform for the final time.

In other injury news, Rudy Gobert return to action for Utah yesterday, as the Jazz tied the series up at 2–2. Gobert finished the game with a double-double, but it was Joe Johnson who was the hero for Utah once again in game four.

At 35 years old, Johnson has been incredibly clutch for the Jazz, in what has become one of the most surprising stories of the playoffs thus far.

We’ll see if Iso Joe can keep up his strong shooting display in the rest of the series. Believe it or not, he may be the deciding factor of the series.

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