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NBA Playoffs: What We've Learned So Far

The NBA playoffs have taught us a few things about the teams in the hunt for a championship.

Let's just start going here. Most series are going into game three (some four) and some clear storylines have popped out.

The Brooklyn Nets Are Messy

Jaylen Brown is the real deal. He scored 22 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics rallied from 17 points down to beat Brooklyn 114-107 on Wednesday night and take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series. The Celtics' defense has been unreal. 

Where is Kevin Durant? I credited the Boston defense but it appears the incorrectly crowned "best player in the NBA" has weaknesses. He has shot 31% from the floor in the first two games (13-41) and has been nowhere to be found in the second half of games. Kyrie Irving exploded for 39 points in game one but scored only 10 points in game two on 4-13 shooting. As Charles Barkley said, "half-man, half a season." The Nets are in an 0-2 hole.

The Hawks Are Just Not Good Enough Yet

The Heat are now also in an 0-2 hole. In game one, Trae Young went 1-12 from the field as the Hawks shot 38% from the floor. Young shot better in game two, scoring 25 points on 50% shooting. The problem for the Hawks was that Jimmy Butler had a vintage and exhilarating performance, scoring 45 points and looking like a playoffs MVP. When Butler is on, he is something to watch. The Hawks can't rely on Young's performances alone, and the supporting cast just isn't quite getting it done. 

Timberwolves Vs Grizzlies Is A Fun Bloodbath

Wolves versus Grizzlies: defense optional. This has already been such a fun series. Fun fact: Steven Adams has played 27 minutes in this series and has zero points. He's not here to score points, anyway. In game 2, Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant nearly notched a triple-double, with a 23-10-9 line. He worked as a facilitator for the Grizzlies as they put up the largest margin of victory in franchise history in a playoff game. This series is going to go back and forth and I cannot wait. 

Suns/Pelicans Series Changes With the Absence of Devin Booker

Devin Booker suffered a Grade 1 right hamstring strain, sources told ESPN's Brian Windhorst on Thursday. If the Suns want to prove they're the best team in the NBA, they need to beat the young and coming Pelicans without their prime scorer. Sounds like Chris Paul is going to need to be vintage. They also need to find a way to control Brandon Ingram, who was a beast in Game 2. He scored 37 points and was +18 in the box. 

Bulls Vs Bucks Is A Toss-Up

Giannis Antetokounmpo is still an absolute beast. He's going to get his. DeMar DeRozan had a rough Game 1, going 6-25 and scoring 18 points. The Bulls shot 32% from the floor (18% from outside) to lose game one. The Bulls shot 48% from beyond the arc in game two. That is how you win a ballgame. DeRozan had a better game two, scoring 41 points. He was a beast. 

Sixers Versus Raptors Is Cooked

The 76ers versus Raptors game 2 ended like this.

The 76ers have no business making this series so close. This is what happens when James Harden realizes it's the playoffs and makes his regular disappearing act. He's indeed past his scoring prime, but his play has left a little to be desired. If the 76ers are going to go deep into the playoffs, Harden is going to have to look vintage.

Last Thoughts

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to let me hear it at @EnFuegoNow or @AJontheguitar on Twitter.