The conference semis are now finished and it’s time for the NBA’s final four to begin. But what teams and players impressed and/or disappointed in the 2nd round?
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Atlanta Hawks (CLE 4-0)
Impressed: Never have I ever seen a team shoot the 3 ball so well. Cleveland was absolutely on fire; making 50.7% of their 3 point attempts for the ENTIRE series. The Cavs averaged 19 3s a game and in game 2, set the NBA record (25) for 3 pointers made in a game, playoffs or regular season.
Disappointed: Jeff Teague after drilling a 3 pointer in game one said “not this year” to whoever was guarding him on that play. What he meant by that was that his Hawks weren’t gonna get swept again like they did in the 2015 conference finals by these same Cavaliers. Not only did they get swept, but Teague only averaged 11.5ppg, 6.5apg on 34.1% shooting. Maybe next year Jeff?
Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trailblazers (GSW 4-1)
Impressed: Portland fought their behinds off this series. Even though we all know they were overpowered by Golden State even without Stephen Curry. I didn’t expect them to win one game regardless if Curry played or not but they did win game 3 in Portland. Terry Stotts deserves a boatload of credit for this season. Blazers fans have a lot to cheer for in the future with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum leading the way for them.
Impressed: I don’t want to sound like a Wardell groupie but what he did in game 4 was just insane. 40 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists on 50% shooting in his first game back from a MCL sprain! Oh yeah I forgot to mention that he scored a NBA record 17 points in overtime.
Disappointed: NONE. Series was very entertaining.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs San Antonio Spurs (OKC 4-2)
Impressed: Kevin Durant at home this series was virtually unstoppable. Durant averaged 34.7 ppg on 50% including a 37 point, 9 rebound game in game 6 to close out the series. He also poured in 41 in a crucial game 4.
Impressed AND Disappointed: LaMarcus Aldridge played like prime Kareem in games 1 and 2 of the conference semifinals. In game 1, Aldridge had 38 points and 6 rebounds on 78% shooting from the field. Pretty impressive right? In game 2 he had 41 points and 8 rebounds on 71% shooting. Then it’s like he completely fell off the face of the earth in games 3-6. In those games he averaged 20.5ppg, and 9.2rpg on 40% shooting.
Disappointed: This isn’t disappointing really, more like depressing but guys Tim Duncan looked done in this series. He looked old, tired, and it just wasn’t the same Duncan I’m accustomed to watching. In this series he averaged 5.6 points and 4.2 rebounds albeit he was only playing about 23 minutes a game. We are just a year removed from Tim playing exceptionally well against the Clippers in their first round loss. This might be the last we’ve ever seen of the GOAT power forward.
Miami Heat vs Toronto Raptors (TOR 4-3)
Impressed: Jonas Valanciunas has been the best player for the Raptors in these 2016 playoffs. Valanciunas is putting up big numbers against Miami; 18.3 ppg , 12.7 rpg on 64% shooting. He’s severely outplaying his counterpart Hassan Whiteside. However, Jonas did suffer an ankle sprain and was out for the rest of the series.
Disappointed: Hassan Whiteside hasn’t played up to his summer max contract expectations against Toronto. Maybe it’s just a bad match-up, but Hassan is only averaging 9.3 ppg, 9.7 rpg and 1.3 bpg. Not max contract worthy in my opinion. TNT’s Charles Barkley made a great point. He said Whiteside rarely blocks the shot of the man he is guarding. Pretty much saying he’s a better help defender than he is a one on one defender.