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NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Round 1, Game 2

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NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Round 1, Game 2

 

NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs, Game 2

The 2nd games of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs have now been completed. A round where the Raptors, Celtics and Heat triumphed to record an early 2-0 series lead. The final game was won by the Bucks, as they recovered from their game 1 mistakes to level the series.

After game 1, the Celtics vs 76ers and the Heat vs Pacers series looked like closely fought series, that had the potential to go all the way to a 7th game. With 2 games in the books, a 7 game series looks unlikely. Home court advantage doesn’t exist in this years playoffs due to the lack of fans along with the changed location in Orlando. It is more unlikely that a team will come back from a 2-0 deficit as the conditions in which they are playing will not change.

As the playoffs progress it will be interesting to see if there are as many closely fought series that require 6/7 games, or if the number decreases due to the effects of COVID-19.

Brooklyn Nets 99 – 104 Toronto Raptors

The 2nd game of the series was a much closer, lower scoring contest. The Raptors walked off with a 24 point win after game 1, but only clinched the 2nd game by 5 points. The Raptors trailed since the first quarter and only came out on top after winning the 4th quarter by 11 points.

Both teams had much lower field goal percentages than on Monday. Most notably, the Raptors dropped to a 25.7 3 point percentage compared to the 50% from long range which they achieved in game 1. The most concerning area for the Nets going forward will be the number of turnovers that they gave away. With most of the statistics being similar to each other, 17 Nets turnovers compared to only 8 from the Raptors clearly stands out. In a game that only ended with a 5 point victory, the turnovers made the difference between a win and a loss for the Nets.

The Toronto Raptors will be very happy with their position in the series, they’ll be confident of sweeping the series after their game 2 victory. The most positive outcome for the Raptors from the second game will be that they had 3 players with 20+ points and one on 19 points. The current NBA champions are certainly making the difference between 2nd and 7th seed clear.

Notable performance: Fred VanVleet. With 24 points and 10 assists, the guard secured a double double. He’ll be disappointed he could not continue his 3 point percentages from game 1. He’ll take a lot of confidence from how his playoff journey has begun.

Philadelphia 76ers 101 – 128 Boston Celtics

After game 1, this series looked like it had the potential for seven games. However, the Celtics put on a strong performance in game 2 as they shot over 50% and secured a 27 point victory.

Embiid scored 34 points and was on target for over 50% of his field goals, playing the role that the 76ers certainly required to get back into the series. We said that Joel Embiid needed more contributions from his teammates if the 76ers were going to have a chance in the series, but again there was not enough. Josh Richardson was the only player to score over half the number of points put up by Embiid. This cannot continue if the 76ers want to extend their stay in Orlando.

On the other side, the Celtics demonstrated the team contributions that the 76ers are desperate for. Tatum scored 33 and had both Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker putting up 20+ points. Indeed, it was the Celtics bench that helped them to secure such a one-sided victory. All of their bench players contributed more effectively than their 76ers counterparts.

Whilst the free throw percentages had definitely moved into the 76ers favour after game one, it was their field goal and 3 point percentages which lost them the game. Only scoring 23.8% of 3 pointers and 41.2% of field goals is not good enough for a team looking to progress in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Notable performance: Jayson Tatum. With 33 points , 5 rebounds and 5 assists the Celtics man put up impressive numbers as he lead the team to a 2-0 series lead. Most impressively, he shot 8/12 from long range.

Miami Heat 109 – 100 Indiana Pacers

Duncan Robinson led the way for the Miami Heat as they secured their 2nd win of the series on Wednesday. He put up 24 points as he scored 7 out of 8 3 point shots. This was the real difference in game 2 as both teams put up similar stats, with the Heat’s 51.4 3 point percentage securing the win. Supported by Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic, the three combined for 62 points and 14 assists.

The Pacers scored the same number of field goals as the Heat (36) and had a higher free throw percentage (80%). However, the 3 point shots which they gave up lost them the game. Their own T.J Warren missed all 5 of his 3 pointers after converting 4/5 on Wednesday. Going forward the Pacers will need to shut down the 3 point threats from the Heat and take smarter shots themselves.

Every NBA team has poor days in shooting percentages, but at a time in the Eastern Conference playoffs where every win means so much, the Pacers need to find their shooting form quickly.

Notable performance: Jimmy Butler. Scoring 18 points, with 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Butler put up good numbers once again for the Heat and added 2 steals to his numbers. His performance demonstrates how important he is to the Heat’s playoff run.

Orlando Magic 96 – 111 Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks recovered from losing game 1 in impressive fashion on Thursday night. The Bucks coasted to a 15 point win after putting up strong percentages across the board. Antetokounmpo put up 28 points with 20 rebounds as he led the way for the number one seeds.

The Bucks all-star Khris Middleton had a poor shooting night, only converting 1/8 field goals. One of the best qualities of the Bucks is the contributions from the bench. This was the case again as everyone put up good numbers, if Middleton finds his form the Bucks will have a real chance at winning the championship this year.

Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic had another high scoring night, with 32 points and 10 rebounds. However, similar to Embiid at the 76ers, he lacked support from his teammates. The next highest scorers were Fournier and Ross, only scoring 12 points each. Dealing with a resurgent Bucks defence will be an issue for the Magic going forward, they need to find a solution to their low shooting percentages before the series gets out of their reach.

The Bucks need to focus on their fouling. They showed strong defensive qualities, but at times they were punished for their fouls. The first 37 points that the Magic scored included 19 free throws. The Bucks limited the Magic to 21.2% success from long range and 34.8% field goals overall. Whilst this was an impressive defensive performance, going forward if the Bucks can limit the fouls, they will be very tough to beat.

Notable performance: Pat Connaughton. Off the bench, Connaughton scored 15 points with 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. His 3 point form in the first half took the contest out of reach for the Magic whilst they were facing early issues.

 

We hope you enjoyed the article, ‘NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Round 1, Game 2’. Do you think we will see any first round upsets? Let us know!

 

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A recent graduate from Cardiff University, Matthew is an avid football fan and rugby player. He is hugely passionate about sport in any form and is in the process of applying for a master's degree in International Sport Management with the eventual aim of working in the sport industry.

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