Illustration by Maytal Bach
The 2018 NBA playoffs have been a blast to watch thus far. In fact, there have already been two seven-game series. As the playoffs progress, the better teams will compete against each other, yielding more competition and entertainment.
In the East, the series were more competitive. The Indiana Pacers almost held Lebron James back from the NBA finals for the first time since 2011. Without a James buzzer beater in game five, and a dominant 45-point performance in game seven, Cleveland would be watching the rest of the playoffs from home.
In the other series of the East, the Philadelphia 76ers easily saw off the Miami Heat, winning their series 4-1. Considering that the 76ers only won 75 games between 2013 and 2017, (the Warriors won 73 games in the 2015-16 season alone) making it this far surpasses any expectations fans could have had. While the Raptors required six games to overcome the Wizards, a depleted Celtics team squeezed by the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games.
On the other side of the country, the West featured little excitement. The Warriors and Rockets coasted, both winning their series 4-1. The Pelicans, despite being seeded sixth, swept the Portland Trailblazers in four games. The Utah Jazz sent reigning Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook and the Thunder home in six games.
While the excitement is yet to pick up in the West, for the first time in years, the Warriors status as the West’s representative is not guaranteed. The Rockets and Golden State appear to be on a collision course for an epic conference finals.
Whoever emerges from the West will surely be this year’s favorite. But as we learned in 2016-17, nothing can be taken for granted in the NBA Playoffs.