The 2023 NBA Playoffs are now in the second round and looking to heat up even more. The first round had plenty of action across the board and a lot to look back on. We saw powerhouse teams go out in the first round and other teams continue to win when it matters. That being said, let’s overreact and recap the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
One-Seed Bucks Are Washed Up: Overreaction
One of the bigger surprises in the first round had to be the Milwaukee Bucks, the top seed in the East, going home. The Miami Heat are one of the most dangerous eight seeds in recent memory. Miami won the series 4-1 and left Milwaukee in the dust. With Milwaukee now being two years removed from their last title, questions of whether their chances at another title are gone are going to begin popping up.
So is this an overreaction? Yes absolutely. The Bucks are going to be a top team in the East for as long as Giannis, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are running that team. If Milwaukee can keep around their key players and not rip apart the team around Giannis, they will be fine. This years playoffs collapse was partially due to injuries but most importantly, they just flat out got beat.
The Miami Heat Are The Real Deal: True
The 2020 NBA Finals featured the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers won the title but no one seems to think it fully counts. The Miami Heat were an equal match for the Lakers that season. The Heat followed that up with a trip to the conference finals in 2021. Fast forward to now and the Heat are still one of the better playoff teams despite being the eight seed.
Beating the one-seed Bucks in the playoffs and only losing once has to cement them as one of the best teams left. Jimmy Butler is in playoff mode and that means hes a 30-35 point per game scorer. Butler averaged 37.6 points, six rebounds and 4.8 assists per game in round one. If Miami can keep everyone healthy, they could very well be back in the Finals for the second time in three seasons.
(Miami leads the Knicks 1-0 in round two)
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LeBron’s Lakers Are Title Favorites: Overreaction
The Lakers managed to take down the Memphis Grizzlies in round one in impressive fashion. The Grizzlies talked their trash and it back fired and now they are done for the season. Winning this series 4-2 has LeBron and his Lakers feeling confident as a matchup with the Warriors awaits in round two of the playoffs. So where does that first round win put the Lakers on the title favorite totem poll?
Let’s pump the brakes on the Lakers is where I stand on this. Sure they looked great and seem to be a complete team but round two will be a tough matchup. Steph Curry is LeBrons cryptonite and the Warriors seem to be finally catching fire. If the Lakers manage to get past the Warriors then the title favorite conversation will shift quite a bit.
Nuggets Are As Good As Advertised: True
The Denver Nuggets closed out their round one playoffs matchup with the Minnesota TImberwolves winning the series 4-1. While the series results might look one-sided, this series was much closer than you realize. The Timberwolves went shot for shot with the Nuggets in every game except for game one.
However, the Denver Nuggers earned the one-seed in the West for the first time in franchise history for a reason. This Nuggets team is the real deal and with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray healthy, the sky is the limit for this team right now. The offseason additions of Bruce Brown and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have proven to be elite moves. Denver has never even been to the NBA Finals and only been in the Western Conference Finals four times. This team has all the pieces to end that drought and be a real threat to any team left in the playoffs.
(Nuggets lead the Suns 1-0 in round two)
Final Playoffs Round One Recap/Thoughts
The 2023 NBA Playoffs are shaping up to be one of the most entertaining to date. The Warriors are still chugging as a dynasty, the Lakers are back in full strength, the Nuggets are still good and so much more. The first round all but proved that the not even the one seed is safe from elimination this year. As round two begins, keep an eye on some of these big time matchups that could shift the title favorite conversation.
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