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What We Have Learned So Far in the NBA Western Conference Playoffs
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What We Have Learned So Far in the NBA Western Conference Playoffs

Today there are no games scheduled in the West so, we are going to look at the results of the first two games in each series and make some assessments.

No.1 Phoenix vs No.8 New Orleans The series is tied 1-1: The fact that this series is tied is a shock to many, as most of us thought the Suns would romp to an easy first round victory.

What It Has Shown Us:

  • #1 Phoenix is not very good on defense and might even be considered a soft, finesse team. They have been unable to slow down the Pelicans for the last 6 quarters, giving up over 30 points per quarter. The lack of a defense that can get stops, plus a tricky hamstring injury to Devin Booker, has the Suns searching for answers as the series heads to New Orleans.
  • #8 New Orleans is a helluva lot better than any of us gave them credit for. Led by C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram (who combined for 60 points in Tuesday night’s upset win), they are a tough, resilient team. Suddenly, this looks like a tough series where the Pelicans have a shot at a huge upset.

No. 2 Memphis vs No.7 Minnesota The series tied 1-1: Minnesota pulled off a shocker by winning Game 1, before Memphis came back with an easy win on Tuesday.

What It Has Shown Us:

  • #2 Memphis wasn’t ready for Game 1 against Minnesota and their very productive offense. But, after the 1st quarter last night, they held the T-Wolves to only 64 points over the final 3 quarters of Game 2. That effort is what most of us were expecting, but didn’t see in the opener. Game 3 is in Minnesota and the Grizzlies need to take charge of the series.
  • #7 Minnesota has shown that they can win if Memphis doesn’t play well. Everyone knows they can score; it’s just a matter of whether they can outscore the other team. The jury is still out and Game 3 is pivotal.

No.3 Golden State vs. #6 Denver Golden State leads the series 2-0: Denver hasn’t put up much of a fight in this series so far. The Warriors have had their way with them.

What It Has Shown Us:

  • #3 Golden State has been the most dominant team in the Western Conference playoffs so far. They finished the regular season on a 5-game winning streak without the services of Steph Curry, they have him back in the lineup, and are suddenly the team nobody wants to play. He came off the bench to score 34 points in only 23 minutes on Monday and the Warriors appear to be headed to an easy first round win.
  • #6 Denver has shown that they are a soft team that is lacking the toughness that is necessary in the playoffs. Nikola Jokic has done his part averaging 26 points and 11 rebounds through the first two games. They might get a win in Denver, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

No. 4 Dallas vs No.5 Utah The series is tied 1-1: The story of this series is Utah’s inability to take advantage of the injury to Dallas superstar Luka Doncic.

What It Has Shown Us:

  • #4 Dallas managed to gain a split without the services of their best player. Doncic is listed as a maybe for game 3 on Thursday and probable for Saturday and game 4. Jalen Brunson poured in 41 points on Monday and Maxi Kleber added 25 coming off the bench. That is what you have to do to when a tough series. The Mavericks might be for real.
  • #5 Utah missed a golden opportunity to come back to Utah with a commanding 2-0 lead over the Stars. Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic, both played well in game 2 but didn’t get much help from anyone else. Obviously, this is still a series and the Jazz are at home for the next two games so they have the upper hand. But, they will be looking back at losing game 2, if they don’t win the series.


  • #2 MEMPHIS
  • #3 PHOENIX
  • #4 DALLAS
  • #5 UTAH
  • #8 DENVER


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