NBA Playoffs wrap: Raptors, Trail Blazers advance to conference finals

15 May, 2019, 05:43 | Author: Nicole Aguilar
  • Tom Pennington  Getty Images

Toronto is set to begin its second-ever Eastern Conference final on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks. In the remaining four games of the series, the Bucks won by an average of 16 points as the Celtics are anxious that these were the first and last playoffs for Kyrie Irving in their uniform. This series should be wildly competitive with some unbelievable star power involved.

Mike Budenholzer and Nick Nurse are wrapping up their first seasons with the Bucks and Raptors, respectively. Milwaukee had the best record in the regular season and has only lost once in the playoffs. However, I trust that the depth and athleticism of the Bucks will allow them squeak by in seven games.

The Toronto Raptors will be full of confidence coming into this round after taking down the 76ers in a thrilling seven-game series.

When Leonard sits down, the Raptors are 16 points worse. He has been perfectly complemented by youngster Pascal Siakam, who has claimed his stardom this postseason.

Kawhi Leonard led the second-seeded Raptors with 29 points and 12 rebounds. There was a balanced attack by the Sixers offense, including a much more aggressive Ben Simmons on the offensive glass. A month ago, I would have chosen the 76ers to win this series, but the Raptors are playing elite ball right now. Roughly one of every four Game 7s has been decided by three points or less; 56% have been decided by a single-digit margin.

The series now shifts to Denver, where the Nuggets will have a chance to make it to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2009. He was also tied for second in the National Basketball Association with three flagrant fouls during the regular season.

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Meanwhile, the Nuggets know exactly what Game 7 feels like and are confident that their experience and homecourt advantage will serve them well once again. The Rockets are either the most unstoppable team in the league or an easy win. Defensively, the Warriors are giving up 111.2 points per game while opponents shoot just 44.4 percent against them. The Rockets' offense revolved around guards James Harden and Chris Paul. They just didn't fall.

Even if Portland can contain Jokic, Denver has gotten scoring from others. Denver (-5.5) is going to move on to the Western Conference Finals, and they'll salt the game away and cover in the waning moments with good free-throw shooting.

"I give Toronto credit for a tenacious, switching defense", 76ers coach Brett Brown said.

The Nuggets have gone 34-7 at home. He single-handedly outscored Boston's bench in Games 3 and 4, and with Malcolm Brogdon out for the majority of that series, he stepped up in a big way to help his team advance to the Conference Finals. Jamal Murray had nine points to lead the way for Denver early. "On a night when (Lillard) struggled shooting the ball, CJ came up big".

Despite his shooting woes, Lillard contributed with 10 rebounds and eight assists to go with his 13 points. Lillard shot 24.1% from the three-point line in games 1-5 this series. Denver wins the Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets Game 7 by a final of 110-104.

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