The moment that we waited for all year has finally arrived and the NBA family can be just happy for that. The Semifinals kicked off with the Eastern Conference first, as Milwaukee hosted Boston in a game where the Bucks seemed to have no idea on how to get into offense. Their game was bad, very concerningly bad. Antetokounmpo was shut down, even if he managed to score 22 PTS in the end, it was too late for his team. He had 1 point after the first quarter and 8 at halftime. Al Horford is the main reason for that, as he blocked him 4 times throughout the game, as well as scoring 20 PTS and grabbing 11 boards. Horford put a body on Giannis every time he tried to post him up and turn his shoulder to the basket. Brad Stevens’ plan to defend him came up just right for now, so give Boston all credit for that. Irving also played at a high level, scoring turnaround fade-away J’s from all over the court.
The Bucks’ backcourt didn’t live up to the expectations, as Bledsoe and Brown only scored nine points in total, so in order to win at this moment, you clearly want to see more from those two, because the absence of Malcom Brogdon will begin to show more and more going forward. The Boston Celtics, though, are beginning to look like the team that everybody expected to play the Finals at the start of the season. Hayward is looking sharper by every game, and all the young guys seem to finally understand their role and play with one another.
With all that being said, things aren’t looking too good for Milwaukee, even if it’s only one game, last night could be seen that the Celtics are, indeed, a team full of talent which has the potential to beat each and every opponent from their conference. For now they got the home-court advantage, so we’ll see how the series will go forward.
The second match of the night could also be easily an NBA Finals game, as two of the best teams in the league faced off in a duel which we all wanted to fast-forward to during the regular season. The Warriors started the game strong and even though the game was tight from the first quarter until the fourth, they seem to be in control of it all this time. Durant handled the situation well, scoring 35 PTS and keeping his team in the game when Curry got out of it with his 4th foul early in the 3rd quarter. James Harden also scored 35 PTS, but on 32,1 field-goal percentage, a very poor shooting night for him. Eric Gordon stepped up and had 27 PTS, but all that effort from those two wasn’t enough in Game 1.
It will be interesting to see how they will adapt the 3-point shot going forward in the series, because for now, they have missed 33 3s in total. We know for a fact that the Rockets will undoubtedly continue to shoot those, no matter what, so the series will be decided once again by the long shot. The same happened last year, too, and we all know how it ended… not quite favorable for Houston.
Stephen Curry had only 18 PTS, but, as mentioned above, he was in foul trouble early in the second half. Despite of that, he ended the Rockets’ game with a dagger 3 in the last seconds. James was kind of disappointed with how the officiating went in this game, stating that “I just want a fair chance, man. Just call the game the way it’s supposed to be called and we’ll live with the results”. This came after some controversial close-outs of Klay Thompson on some of his 3-point attempts. The refs did some mistakes during the game, but they were done on both sides, so the final result was not highly influenced by those missed or forced calls. Game 2 will be on Tuesday night and we can hardly wait for it.