Hey! Did y’all enjoy the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs? It’s all wrapped up now, and we’re on to the second round with five former Marquette players still kicking as either a player or a head coach in the conference semifinals. If we catch a break here, we will head into the conference finals guaranteed to see a former MU guy hoisting a trophy at the end of the playoffs, and that’s pretty neat.
Same as the first round, we’ll give you the schedule for every series here, organized by which team had the best regular season record. As always in the NBA Playoffs, Games 5-7 are if necessary, so we’ll update the schedules as we can/need to as the series continue.
Jae Crowder — Phoenix Suns
Crowder and the top seeded Suns advanced by way of a 4-2 win over New Orleans in the first round. That one started off looking like it was going to be Suns all the way, but a mid-series injury to Devin Booker made things a little dicey, all the way up to Phoenix needing a 14-for-14 from the field performance from Chris Paul to get the narrow close out win on Thursday night. Crowder started all six games in the series, averaging 7.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.3 steals and generating a T-shirt inspired by chants sent his way by the Louisiana crowds.
They’ll be playing the #4 seeded Dallas Mavericks in this round. Dallas beat Utah 4-2 in the first round after the Jazz won Game 1 in Texas. Luka Doncic is the star of course, but he did miss the first three games of the series with a calf strain. That didn’t stop him from averaging 29 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in the last three games, though. Phoenix won all three regular season games against the Mavericks this year.
Game 1: Monday, May 2, 9pm Central, TNT
Game 2: Wednesday, May 4, 9pm Central, TNT
Game 3: Friday, May 6, 8:30pm Central, ESPN
Game 4: Sunday, May 8, 2:30pm Central, ESPN
Game 5: Tuesday, May 10, 9pm Central, TNT
Game 6: Thursday, May 12, 8:30pm Central, ESPN
Game 7: Sunday, May 15, 7pm Central, ESPN
Jimmy Butler — Miami Heat
Doc Rivers — Philadelphia 76ers
The Heat made relatively easy work of the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, winning the series 4-1 and holding a margin of victory of at least 10 points in three of the wins. Atlanta’s lone win of the series was by just one point, and the Heat had a chance to win that one at the buzzer. Jimmy Butler did Jimmy Butler things in the four games of the series that he played in, averaging 30.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.8 steals per game. He also shot a surprising 44% from behind the three-point line on 16 attempts, something that Butler has struggled with since arriving in South Beach. It is worth noting that Jimmy missed the fifth game of the series with a sore knee, but he’ll have had a full week clear from game action by the time the next set starts.
Doc’s Sixers beat Toronto in six games, 4-2, to advance to the conference semifinals. However, everything is up in the air about Philadelphia right now after Joel Embiid suffered an orbital bone fracture and a mild concussion late in Game 6 after what certainly looked like an inadvertent elbow by Pascal Siakam. Embiid was great in the first round, as you would expect from an MVP candidate: 26.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists per game. They still have James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris to carry the load, but will that be enough to withstand the Heat until Embiid recovers enough to play.... or without him at all for the whole series?
Game 1: Monday, May 2, 6:30pm Central, TNT
Game 2: Wednesday, May 4, 6:30pm Central, TNT
Game 3: Friday, May 6, 6pm Central, ESPN
Game 4: Sunday, May 8, 7pm Central, TNT
Game 5: Tuesday, May 10, 6:30pm Central, TNT
Game 6: Thursday, May 12, 6pm Central, ESPN
Heat wins, 4-2.
Wesley Matthews — Milwaukee Bucks
If you wanted to argue that the Bucks had the easiest time in their first round series, you could probably convince me of that. While it wasn’t a sweep, the only game that Milwaukee lost was the one where Khris Middleton went out with an injury that looks to keep him out of the entire second round. Meanwhile, the Bulls were already a struggling team and things just got worse as the series went on with more players missing time, and so Milwaukee won the final three games by margins of 30, 24, and 16. Wesley Matthews started all five games for the Bucks in the first round, chipping in 6.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 28 minutes a night while shooting a very robust 48% from long range in the series.
They’ll be facing the #2 seeded Boston Celtics in the conference semis, the only team to win their first round series in a sweep. “Didn’t you just say a second ago that Milwaukee might have had the easiest time in the first round?” Sure did! Boston won their four first round games by a combined total of 18 points: 1, 7, 6, and 4. On one hand, they have been able to rest since last Monday after sweeping the Nets. On the other, they had to battle all the way through every game. The C’s were led in the first round by Jayson Tatum who averaged 29.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game, but don’t discount the 23/5/4 from Jaylen Brown, either.
Game 1: Sunday, May 1, Noon Central, ABC
Game 2: Tuesday, May 3, TBD, TNT
Game 3: Saturday, May 7, 2:30pm Central, ABC
Game 4: Monday, May 9, 6:30pm Central, TNT
Game 5: Wednesday, May 11, 6pm Central, TNT
Game 6: Friday, May 13, 6:30pm Central, ESPN
Game 7: Sunday, May 15, 2:30 Central, ABC
Juan Toscano-Anderson — Golden State Warriors
If the Bucks didn’t have the easiest time in the first round, it might have been Golden State that did. They cruised past Denver in the first two games before having to slug it out a bit in the next three including dropping Game 4 in the mountains. Anytime you have to overcome a 31/13/6 from the newly crowned regular season MVP and you could still argue “that went fairly easily,” you had a good series. Our guy, Juan Toscano-Anderson, did not contribute too much to Golden State’s performance, at least not on the court during games. He appeared in just two of the five contests — it shouldn’t surprise you that it was the first two games — giving the Dubs three points and a rebound on average.
They will tangle with Memphis in the conference semifinals, and if we learned one thing from the Grizzlies’ 4-2 series win that wrapped up on Friday night, it’s that you will have to bury Ja Morant and company in the ground if you want to eliminate them. Minnesota did not do that, continually allowing Memphis to rally from double digit deficits, and now they’re at home and the Grizzlies are facing the Warriors. Morant is clearly the star over there, averaging 21.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists in the six game series against the T-Wolves, but it was Desmond Bane that led them in scoring at 23.5 per game.
Game 1: Sunday, May 1, 2:30pm Central, ABC
Game 2: Tuesday, May 5, 8:30pm Central, TNT
Game 3: Saturday, May 7, 7:30pm Central, ABC
Game 4: Monday, May 9, 9pm Central, TNT
Game 5: Wednesday, May 11, 8:30pm Central, TNT
Game 6: Friday, May 13, 9pm Central, ESPN
Warriors win, 4-2