While many believe the NBA Opening Night showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers was a Western Conference Finals preview, was another Conference Finals preview on the agenda Friday?
Prior to Friday night’s game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics, the ESPN NBA Countdown crew wondered whether we were about to watch a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. While the Celtics do have the talent to make it there, Jalen Rose made sure to point out that teams like the Raptors and 76ers also have the talent to make it to the ECF.
But The Truth says to keep a close eye on his Celtics:
“They feature four guys who are capable of scoring 20-30 points. The only thing that concerns me is their health. We’ve heard a lot of things about Kemba Walker and his knee not being 100%, so that’s a big concern. That’s not a small concern, it’s a huge concern because these guys got to be healthy for the lack of depth. But the way Jayson Tatum has been playing, boy if you look at his last nine games, he’s averaging close to 30 points a game. He’s taking the leap from stardom to superstardom, and that’s what they’re going to need from him if they’re going to overcome the Bucks.”
One thing that could help Boston or any other team beat the Bucks in the playoffs is the lack of a real closer for Milwaukee. Jalen believes Giannis can fill that role, but Paul, a notorious postseason closer himself, had a different take on who has to lift the Bucks at the end of games.
“When I think closer J, this is what I think of. When you get down to the Eastern Conference finals, and it’s a close game, your plays go out the window. Everybody has scouted down to the T, so you need that one player who can say, ‘Hey, I don’t need a play. Give me the ball; I can create a shot for myself or others.’ Giannis does not have a reliable jump shot, so this is going to have to come from Khris Middleton. And we saw what he did last year in the playoffs versus Toronto, where after the first two games, he pretty much disappeared. So, can he be that guy? “
Watch the full conversation down below on NBA Countdown. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aI-9V_YbeU