NBA Playoffs: The side only true fans see

Focusing in on those who lost


So, the 2020 Playoffs were not a fluke. The Lakers were able to prove that they aren’t just running on fumes, making it to the Western Conference Finals, while the Nuggets continue to prove their dominance over the West. Things in the East were just as unpredictable as the West, perhaps much more. The Miami Heat advanced past the Knicks to secure their spot in the Eastern Conference Finals rematch against the Powerful Celtics, who were in a deadlock with the Philadelphia 76’ers. On the flip slide, the losses were shocking and quite disappointing. This article will be based on not necessarily the victors; however, it will be a deep dive into the losses suffered and the major downfall of each team.

The Warriors: What went wrong?

Simplest Answer: The Defense. There was a whole lot wrong with the reigning champions during this game six. Their inability to recover from double teams, as well as picks caused them to give up a handful of threes to the Lakers, mainly Austin Reeves, who had the Hot Hand. Defense in the paint was no better. LeBron James and Anthony Davis absolutely annihilated the paint, and the Warriors couldn’t keep their hands to themselves, rounding up a whopping 30 fouls foe the entire team. Their offense collapsed on itself right after the defense, with the only two double digit scorers being Stephen Curry with a game 6 and career high of 32 (Where Were you Klay?) and Donte DiZincenzo, with a total of 10 turnovers and only 8 points off the fast break. Moving forward, the Warriors are rumored to be willing to trade Jordan Poole, who is rising beyond his bench role. This off-season for the Warriors will be very busy for the team. 

Final Score: Warriors 101, Lakers 122

The Suns: Complete failure

There is no excuse, none at all. Even without Chris Paul, the Suns downfall was the laughing stock. Right after the Nets in round one, Kevin Durant had 23 Points, while Devin Booker succumbed to the pressure once again and only managed to put up 12 points. Someone who bathed in the spotlight for the Suns however would be Cameron Payne. In a Win-Or-Go-Home situation, Payne was able to put up 31 Points, a playoff high and the second time the guard has stepped up for his team, the first being the 2021 playoffs in game 2 of round one (Guess who they were playing). With their season now finished, the Suns are rumored to be looking to get rid of DeAndre Jordan after front-officd relations soured, as well as gaining a roster improvement to replace an aging Chris Paul.

Final Score: Suns 100, Nuggets 125

The 76’ers: Where is the light?

The 76’ers just can’t seem to break out of the 2nd round of the Playoffs. Facing a defensive giant in the Celtics for their round 2 match-up, There was nothing they could do offensively to win that Game 7. This loss rests heavily on the 76’ers inability to add any diversity to their plays. The addition of Harden opened up a few new opportunities for points, all of which were shut down quickly due to the Celtics ability to read offenses. In Game 7, Harden and Embiid had the ball forced out of their hands, leading to turnovers, bad shots, and eventually, an embarrassing loss. Joel Embiid claims to not have helped, even though Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris scored more points than Embiid and Harden Combined. The issue with the 76’ers is not the players, but more so the coaching. Putting it simply: when you do something all the time, you become predictable. When you become predictable, you lose any leverage you gained from whatever skillet you have. This is exactly what happened with the 76’ers. Until they can Figure out a way to not solely rely on Harden and Embiid, but get the players they traded for more involved (Tyrese Maxey specifically) The 76’ers will not achieve any amount of further success than a round 2 exit.

Final Score: 76’ers 88, Celtics 112

The Knicks: Where do we go from here?

The Knicks have put themselves in a beautiful position this past season. Projected to have a record of 39-43 by ESPN, the Knicks shattered expectations by securing the fifth seed in a powerful east, further closing the power gap with their newfound star in Jalen Brunson, and a complete fleece of Portland with Josh Hart. The Knicks were the only team this entire NBA Semi Finals to lose by a point deficit less than 10, only losing by 4. This off-season, the Knicks direction isn’t quite clear as of yet. The Pick Dallas Traded Us (Top Ten Protected) has a 20.2% chance of falling to 11th, which is territory for the Knicks to receive this pick. Stagnant contracts such as Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier could be possible trade facilitators for the Knicks, who can use those pieces as headliners for contracts. Though cloudy, the Knicks have a bright future ahead, no matter the direction they go. 

Final Score: Knicks 92, Heat 96

As we edge closer to the NBA finals, this year’s playoff picture is a spitting image of the 2020 playoffs. Jimmy Butler and the Heat have all the momentum in the world, but the Celtics have the burning passion to prove their dominance over not just the East, but the entire league. The Lakers, spearheaded by LeBron, are looking to once again return to the Promised Land, and prove the the entirety of the NBA that they are legitimate, while the Nuggets are starving to get to their first finals in the Jokic era. All in all, the eliminated teams and their steps moving forward will be almost as interesting as the NBA finals themselves.