Onwards to the Conference Finals in the NBA Playoffs!
Since we started with three teams all in the Eastern Conference, there was always a chance, perhaps even a likelihood that we would end up with just one Marquette related team at this point of the playoffs. We could have ended up with two, but Doc Rivers and the Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated in the conference semifinals, so now we’re down to just one team left to keep tabs on right now. Heck, Philly’s ouster from the postseason cost Doc his job since he had never gotten them to a conference finals, and this one was particularly egregious to Sixers management since Joel Embiid won the NBA MVP trophy this season.
In any case, that sent the Boston Celtics on to the conference finals to face our last MU team standing.....
Jimmy Butler & Jamal Cain — Miami Heat
After the Heat vanquished the top seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the first round of the playoffs, I don’t think anyone was surprised by Miami solving the riddle of the #5 seeded New York Knicks in six games. Factor in Jimmy Butler missing Game 2 with a twisted ankle late in Game #1, and that makes all the sense in the world. Even with that slowing him down after a 25 point and 11 rebound outing in the first game, Butler still averaged 24.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks against the Knicks. Prrrreeeetty good stuff all around. While Playoff JFB has been perhaps the biggest story of the postseason so far, it’s not like he’s dragging the Heat to wins all by himself. Five guys not named Jimmy Butler averaged at least 10 points a game against the Knicks, and Bam Adebayo just barely missed averaging a double-double in that series at 18.7 points and 9.7 rebounds.
It’s also worth noting that they’ve been doing this short-handed with Tyler Herro leaving Game 1 against the Bucks with a hand injury. That was almost a month ago, and he was slotted to miss 4-6 weeks at the time. It’s possible we could see Herro return to action in this round. We won’t see Jamal Cain in action though, as he’s on a two-way contract and is thus ineligible to play in the playoffs. He has been on the bench though, and getting to see how all of that works up close and personal is invaluable experience as Cain tries to latch on in the NBA full-time going forward.
Game 1: Wednesday, May 17, 7:30pm Central, TNT
Game 2: Friday, May 19, 7:30pm Central, TNT
Game 3: Sunday, May 21, 7:30pm Central, TNT
Game 4: Tuesday, May 23, 7:30pm Central, TNT
Game 5: Thursday, May 25, 7:30pm Central, TNT
Game 6: Saturday, May 27, 7:30pm Central, TNT
Game 7: Monday, May 29, 7:30pm Central, TNT