I love this game!

EVERY POUND COUNTS - Allan 'Coach A' Choachuy (The Freeman) - April 27, 2019 - 12:00am

It’s the NBA playoffs again. The Eastern Conference is done for the first round after the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks swept their respective opponents and are set for a rematch from last year’s playoff where Boston won, 4-3. It was a heartbreak of a loss for the Bucks as they fought back 0-2 down. At that time, Boston was without superstar Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward but the Celtics were able to go all the way up to the conference Finals. Boston this year has a healthy lineup. Hayward is back in his top form, and Irving remains unstoppable. But this time, the 'Greek Freak' Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have the homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. In my prediction, Bucks will sweep the Boston in the second round, no offense to the Boston fans. There is just no answer for Giannis, who I foresee as the second coming of Michael Jordan. He is simply unstoppable inside and is starting to make his outside perimeter offense. Also, his defense is exemplary. He's an all-around player like MJ, but Giannis is close to 7 feet tall and handles the ball like a point guard. Giannis is now bearing fruits from his hardwork and hardship growing up in Greece. Interestingly, Giannis was late bloomer in basketball and only started playing back in 2007 when he was 12 years old.

Going back to the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors both won their series with identical 4-1 records. In the second round, the Raptors will win against the Sixers in seven games. The Raptors have more experience with the Kawhi Leonard-Danny Green tandem from NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. Their big men than can also cover Joel Embiid. But for Raptors to succeed, Kyle Lowry has to step up and play big time. Remember during Game 1  of the first round, Lowry went scoreless but average 14.5 points in the next four games. The other the man to watch in the Raptors's side is Pascal Siakam. The 27th pick in the 2016 draft averaged 22.6 points in the first round and is consistent contributor for the Raptors.

Over in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers were in cruise control to the second round by finishing off their rivals in five games. They have a few days to rest and prepare for the conference semifinals. The Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets, on the other hand, are on collision course with 3-2 leads over their opponents. The LA Clippers, who are without an All-Star player, fought back and won two road games against the mighty Warriors to force a Game 6 at home at the Staples Center today. Game 7, if necessary, will be played on Monday.

The Spurs, on the other hand, are giving the no. 2 seed Nuggets a tough time. My crystal ball is pointing to San Antonio in 7 after the Spurs extended the series into its full route with a 120-103 rout of the Nuggets yesterday.

This is why I love this game. Every game is unpredictable. LeBron James is out of the Playoff scene for the first time in eight years, and the Warriors are not as dominant as they were years back. They have shown some cracks in their armor specially on the defensive end.

The young teams are stepping up this year and could be the new NBA champions. But let's just wait and see. As they say, the ball is round. Anything can happen.

SIDELINE: Good luck to all the participants of Sun Life 5150 and Sunrise Go for Gold Sprint happening tomorrow, April 28, at the Boardwalk in Naga City. For all those travelling down South, try to leave early as portions of the road of Naga will be closed for the race.

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