Where things stand one week into the NBA playoffs
The GIST: Spring cleaning is in full force in the NBA Playoffs, where the Eastern Conference (EC) No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers swept the No. 6 Brooklyn Nets this weekend. The other series? Much messier — here’s who’s on the verge of clinching (hi, WC No. 4 Phoenix Suns) and who still has a long way to go.
Yesterday’s Game 4s: Don’t sleep on the EC No. 5 NY Knicks, who, after hosing the No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers 102–93, are one win away from advancing to the second round for the first time since 2013. Knicks star Jalen Brunson played ringmaster in this Big Apple circus, while the Cavs’ Donovan Mitchell was giving clown. Bing — wait for it — bong.
- Elsewhere, Northern California’s fiercest rivalry continued to thrill. Returning from a one-game suspension, Draymond Green excelled on defense, helping the WC No. 6 Golden State Warriors narrowly beat the No. 3 Sacramento Kings 126–125 and even up the series.
- Then the EC No. 2 Boston Celtics extended their series lead to 3-1 by taking down the No. 7 Atlanta Hawks 129–121 and could finish the job back in Beantown tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Tonight’s Game 4s: In an unexpected and injury riddled twist, the EC No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks trail the No. 8 Miami Heat 2-1. Injured Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo practiced yesterday, but is still TBD for tonight’s 7:30 p.m. ET showdown. Unfortunately for the Heat, red-hot Jimmy Butler is also questionable for Game 4.
- Meanwhile, Ja Morant’s 45-point return to the WC No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies was overshadowed by his teammate Dillon Brooks’ ejection during Memphis’ 111–101 Game 3 loss to the No. 7 LA Lakers. Expect the trash talking to continue when Brooks and LeBron James’ 2-1 series-leading Lakers hit the court tonight at 10 p.m. ET.