Midway through the first round of the NBA Playoffs some teams have proven why they belong there, and others are still fighting for respect. So far, home-court advantage hasn’t been all that advantageous. For instance, the Boston Celtics lost both of their home games and now will be on the road. That can be credited in large part due to the veterans the Bulls have on their roster with playoff experience.
The top-seeded Celtics couldn’t have asked for a worse start to their first round matchup, but they aren’t the only ones. The Los Angeles Clippers and the Toronto Raptors have also lost their home-court advantage. However, both of these teams have evened up their respective series before going on the road.
Home-court Advantage? I don’t think so!
Game one for the Celtics came down to the wire, before Jimmy Butler drained a clutch bucket in the final seconds to seal the upset 106-102. Game two wasn’t as close, but once the Bulls took the lead, they didn’t look back cruising to a 111-97 win on the road. Butler was the top performer with 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Game three will be back in Chicago on Friday.
In Canada, the Raptors were outplayed at home by the Milwaukee Bucks losing 97-83 in game one. A dominating fourth quarter for the Bucks sparked the upset. But last night, Toronto bounced back. In yet another close matchup, it was the Raptors who dominated the fourth. This series will likely be decided by who closes the game stronger. The top performer was Kyle Lowry who scored 22 points, while tallying up four rebounds and five assists. Game three will be Thursday in Wisconsin.
They don’t call it the “wild” Western conference for nothing. The Clippers can vouch for that. After losing to a last second shot by Joe Johnson in game one 97-95, head coach Doc Rivers made some changes. Rivers got his bench in the game earlier and got Blake Griffin more rest early so he could be fresher in the clutch moments. This adjusted strategy paved the way for the Clippers to a 99-91 win last night, but that was without Utah’s defensive anchor, Rudy Gobert. The series is still a toss up because of injuries and because home-court advantage now belongs to the Jazz. The Clippers were led by Chris Paul in their win last night, as he was just three rebounds shy of a triple double. Paul scored 25 points, dished out 11 assists and grabbed seven boards. Game three will be back in Salt Lake City on Friday.
Paul says a road win is key in turning the series around.
Tonight, three teams will be trying to even up their respective series. The Atlanta Hawks, Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trailblazers are all behind but are not ready to fold quite yet. They all came into their series as underdogs and so far, have played like it. The Hawks will try and slow down John Wall, who scorched them for 32 points in game one. Tipoff is set for 7 tonight.
As for slowing down James Harden, the Thunder may need to focus on scoring. The second half of game one wasn’t even close and credit can be given to Harden who scored 37 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out nine assists in their 118-87 win. Game two is back in Houston at 8 p.m tonight.
Lastly, the backcourt of Portland is hoping to get a better result in their head to head with the Warriors at home. The Warriors back court was outplayed by Portland’s, but because of their extra weapons they were able to pull away. Game two will tip off at 10:30 tonight.
— NBA (@NBA) April 19, 2017