The NBA playoffs are underway, but for the Nets and Nuggets, their post-season may only last four games as they look to avoid being swept by the Celtics and Warriors. Meanwhile, two series tied at 2-2 look destined for seven games.
The Brooklyn Nets haven’t been able to get going throughout the 2021-22 NBA season. It’s always felt like they would click into gear at some stage, though. But if they can’t find form and play like the team most expected when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant joined forces in time for Game 4, their season will end in an embarrassing sweep by the Boston Celtics.
Kevin Durant is one of the best scorers in NBA history and averaged over 30 points per game throughout March and April. However, he is managing only 22 points per game throughout the series while shooting 36.5% from the field. The Celtics, on the other hand, are on fire on both ends of the floor. Marcus Smart picked up a well-deserved Defensive Player of the Year award throughout the week. Jayson Tatum just became the first player in franchise history with 35 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals in a game.
I think Jason Tatum maybe surpassing Kevin Durant right before our eyes in the NBA hierarchy
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) April 24, 2022
It all comes down to Game 4 for the Nets who need to find ways through this big Celtics defence while stopping Tatum themselves coming back the other way. Brooklyn are $1.85 and -1.5 favourites in the do or die game.
Grizzlies v Timberwolves Giving The People What They Want
This is the series people wanted and people expected: A thriller.
Two young teams early into their playoff careers going at it for – hopefully – seven games.
Tied at 2-2, this Memphis Grizzlies v Minnesota Timberwolves series has it all. Game 3, in particular, is one few will forget any time soon as the Grizzlies pulled back two 20-point leads throughout the game to win 104-95. Desmond Bane knocked down seven three-pointers for his 26 points as the Grizzlies scored 37 points in the 4th quarter to the Timberwolves’ 12. However, Karl-Anthony Towns came to life in Game 4. He played with “a bunch of rage” following a poor start to the series to score 33 points as the Timberwolves locked the series at 2-2 with a 119-118 win.
We’ve got two fast-paced and chippy teams going head-to-head but the expectation is for the Grizzlies to get the job done in the end. They’re $1.37 and -6.5 favourites to take a 3-2 series lead and win Game 5.
Luka Doncic returned for the Dallas Mavericks to score 30 points on 11-21 shooting including a clutch three-pointer in the dying stages. However, the Utah Jazz rallied back to win 100-99 to tie the series at 2-2. Fittingly, it was Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert linking up for the game-winner. As the Dallas defence doubled Mitchell at the elbow, the Jazz guard flicked the ball up towards the rim for Gobert to score.
Donovan Mitchell has had a rough series in multiple respects but he deserves his flowers for that last minute, especially trusting Gobert on that final possession. That’s the read he hasn’t made all series
— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) April 23, 2022
They’re one of the most scrutinized pairings in the NBA right now. Regular season dominance is too often translating into post-season flops with Gobert, in particular, at the forefront of criticism. But with 17 points and 15 rebounds to go along with Mitchell’s 23 points, Gobert and the Jazz got the job done in Game 4.
As Gobert put it post-game: “Man, f— the talk.”
The Jazz aren’t done and this single play could be the catalyst to a big finish to their NBA season. Still, the Jazz are $2.27 and +2.5 underdogs for Game 5.
What More Can Jokic Do?
He should be given the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award any day now. Still, Nikola Jokic can only do so much for the Denver Nuggets who are battling to avoid a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.
Last 7 playoff games for Nikola Jokić:
22 points – L
24 points – L
32 points – L
22 points – L
25 points – L
26 points – L
37 points – L
He’s the first player in NBA history to score 20+ points in 7 straight playoff games but lose all 7.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) April 22, 2022
Draymond Green is back to his best and the Warriors are dominating from the perimeter with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole all in spectacular form. They could become the fourth trio in NBA history with 20 points per game on 50%+ shooting in a series over the last 35 postseasons.
But anything is possible with Jokic on the floor. At home and with the series on the line, expect Jokic and the Nuggets to put up a fight as $2.61 and +4.5 underdogs in Game 4.