The NBA Playoffs have continued to entertain fans with each passing night, and the cream is beginning to rise to the top. Three players have played at a level above all others — Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo — and, unsurprisingly, those guys have their teams in great position to reach the conference finals.
Wednesday’s card features two excellent Game 5 matchups, with the Bucks in position to close out the Celtics on their home floor, and the Warriors looking to regain their stride, coming off back-to-back losses. Here are our picks for those games.
The Celtics are the one dysfunctional team remaining in the playoffs, and it shows. Their body language on the court — especially from Kyrie Irving — has really said it all. Boston’s players have been seen arguing on the court, and we’ve been seeing a lot of individual efforts, rather than team ball.
As for the Bucks, well, it’s been quite the opposite. The team has utilized great inside-out play — led by Antetokounmpo — to create open looks from all over the court. Milwaukee has attempted loads of three-pointers, but they’ve been making them, and the rest of their scoring has come from inside the paint, which is sustainable. The Celtics had their chance to get back on track at home in Game 4, but their third-quarter meltdown did them in. Boston is done, and Milwaukee is clicking. It’s as simple as that.
It’s not often that the Warriors are laying less than six points at home, coming off back-to-back losses, so we’re happy to back them here. This is a must-win game for Golden State, having loss both games in Houston, not wanting to be in a position to potentially be eliminated in Game 6.
Golden State was in great position to win Games 3 and 4, and, most importantly, it has the best player in the postseason on its side. Durant has been nearly unstoppable, as he’s been getting any shot he wants, and has hit the majority of them. Lay the points with the Warriors to push the Rockets to the brink of elimination, and shift the pressure back on Houston, in Game 6.