Freeman Cebu Sports

The Playoffs

EVERY POUND COUNTS - Allan 'Coach A' Choachuy - The Freeman

Prior to the NBA Playoffs 2021, the league’s controversial play-in tournament kicked off last Wednesday featuring the seventh to 10th seed teams in each conference. The play-in format was quite confusing to me at first but what makes it exciting is that it gives the lower seeds a fighting chance to make it to the post-season. Although most players disliked this format, the fans, the media and mostly the network would love this as it increases revenue for TV and ads.

How the play-in tournament works? The No.7 and No.8 teams will face off each other for the seventh playoff spot while the loser will wait for winner of the knockout match between the No.9 and No.10 seeds. The winner will grab the eighth and last playoff berth in each conference.

In the East play-in, the No.7 Boston Celtics edged the No.8 Washington Wizards to barge into the playoffs where they are up for a tough assignment against the stacked No.2 Brooklyn Nets powered by Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. It did not take long for the Wizards to follow suit via a 145-115 rout of the Indiana Pacers. Still, it’s a tall order ahead for the Wizards going up against the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.

Over in the West, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors clashed head-on in an awkward scenario, with LeBron James and Stephen Curry taking center stage for the last two slots. Although both are seeded lower, the higher ranking teams have been trying to avoid the path of the Lakers and the Warriors.

Today, the Warriors will battle for survival against the Memphis Grizzlies for the last playoff ticket. Should Curry and his gang emerge victorious, my bold prediction is that it’s going to be a rematch between the Warriors and the Lakers in the Western Conference finals. Grizzlies are just too young and inexperienced as of the moment. Utah’s fate will depend on the health of Donovan Mitchell, who is recovering from an injury. Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson, their Sixth Man, is playing terrific basketball but the Jazz wouldn’t survive the Warriors without Mitchell. Same goes for the Nuggets. Murray is out for the season and is going nowhere without him. The LA Clippers are a more complete team with the addition of Rajon Rondo but they are accused of ‘tanking’ or dodging the Lakers. It creates a bad playing attitude. It may be a smart strategy but it will come back and hound the Clippers unless coach Tyrone Lue can control his superstars. Down East, the Sixers will ease past the Wizards and will meet either the Nets or the Milwaukee Bucks in the conference finals. May the best team win!

SIDELINE: I would like to remind everyone to have themselves vaccinated. The brand of vaccine does not matter. Covid-19 is still around so when the opportunity comes for you to be vaccinated, grab it right away. It’s the only way to beat this pandemic.



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