Will this be the best NBA Playoffs ever?

VIEWER BOOST: An intriguing first-round sees a 32 percent bump in views from last year. NBA

Ben Cooper | Sports Editor

April 22, 2022

The most exciting time of the NBA season has arrived with the much anticipated playoffs. There is intense competition in the league right now, with many teams capable of winning the championship. 

The Phoenix Suns were the championship favorite entering the playoffs, but superstar guard Devin Booker went down with a hamstring injury in game two. He is expected to be out for two to three weeks, which puts Phoenix in jeopardy of losing to the New Orleans Pelicans in just the first round. 

With uncertainty surrounding the Suns, the Golden State Warriors are the new favorites to come out of the Western Conference. Golden State is making their first playoff appearance since their finals loss to the Toronto Raptors in 2019. The Warriors have built a well-rounded roster around Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. “The Warriors are my favorite to win the title,” senior AJ Nestor said. “I think they’re unstoppable. They added a guy like Jordan Poole to the greatest shooting duo of all time in Curry and Thompson. It’s unfair for defenses to cover.”

Poole has blossomed into a star this season, taking his game to a higher level even in the playoffs. He averaged 18.5 points per game during the regular season, but has put up 29.5 points per game in the playoffs. If the Suns don’t get healthy, Golden State will be brutal for any team in the West to challenge.

In the East, almost all of the teams have a shot at making it to the Finals. The Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and Milwaukee Bucks are the favorites to emerge from the conference.

Miami is the one seed in the East, and they have seized a 2-0 series lead over the Atlanta Hawks. They have appeared dominant on both sides of the ball, with Jimmy Butler reminding the world that he is one of the best players in the league.

The number two seed, Boston, has taken a 2-0 series lead over the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn came into the season seeming to be the strongest in the conference, but the Celtics have done a phenomenal job locking down the star duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Durant has averaged 25 points per game, but is shooting 31.7 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from three. If Boston can maintain their defense on the Nets stars, they have a great chance to advance past this series and beyond.

The defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, are tied 1-1 in their first-round series against the Chicago Bulls. Milwaukee is led by superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, followed by the lower-level stars of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. Middleton, however, suffered a sprained MCL, which could spell trouble for the team’s hopes to repeat as champions.

One team that has gone under the radar in the East is the Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia has been dominant in the first round, taking a 3-0 lead over the Toronto Raptors. 

GAME WINNER: Joel Embiid knocks down a clutch shot in overtime to give the 76ers a 3-0 series lead. NBA / Getty Images

The 76ers are led by a powerful duo in James Harden and Joel Embiid. They have built a great roster, with a budding star in Tyrese Maxey becoming the third option. Maxey is averaging 26.7 points per game in the playoffs while shooting 60 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from downtown. 

“I think the 76ers can make a deep playoff run and even win the championship,” senior Cameron Rous said. “They have superior star capabilities and the momentum to get past other teams in the East.”

These playoffs are set to be more competitive than ever, with no clear favorite to win the title and injuries playing a key role. When it’s all said and done, this could be the most entertaining NBA playoffs ever. 

About Ben Cooper 31 Articles
Ben Cooper is a senior and is entering his second year with the Triton Times. Ben got a job as a sports writer for a sports media company called ClutchPoints. He got the job in April 2021 and is the youngest employee in company history. Ben plans to continue down this career path and major in sports journalism in college.

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