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The 2023 NBA Playoffs are in full swing, and we ask you Blazers faithful and NBA supporters alike: Which team has the best chance to pull off a first-round upset between the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors or Minnesota Timberwolves?
The No. 7 seeded Lakers currently have a one-game lead over the No. 2 seeded Memphis Grizzlies and are set to play Game 2 tonight. Austin Reeves and Rui Hachimura offered great help to LeBron James and Anthony Davis and have the Lakers in position to steal tonight’s game heading back to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4.
The Heat were able to stifle the Milwaukee Bucks on the road in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo only played 11 minutes for the Bucks after suffering a lower back contusion.
The Bucks were the top team in the NBA this year and are the fourth-best home team in the Association, therefore the status of the Greek Freak will be a major determinant in how the series plays out moving forward.
The Warriors now find themselves in an 0-2 hole against the Sacramento Kings and won’t have star forward Draymond Green for Game 3 as he is suspended for stepping on Kings All-Star Domantas Sabonis in their previous game.
As good as the Warriors have been at home in 2023 is how poor they’ve been on the road. The Kings have momentum and a ripe opportunity to seize Game 3 without Warriors head coach Steve Kerr’s defensive anchor on the floor, which would give Sacramento gargantuan odds to close out Golden State.
Lastly, the Timberwolves struggled against the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of their series. Jamal Murray looked like the Jamal Murray of the 2020 Playoffs and Denver put forth a full team effort in the win.
Not having Jaden McDaniels for the series hurts the T-Wolves’ chances greatly. However, they still have Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards who can match anyone on offense and look to use their size with Rudy Gobert down low and their poise with Mike Conley calling the shots to level the playing field in Game 2.
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