Update on the NBA Playoffs

Eitan Greenberg, Sports Editor

The National Basketball Association playoffs are officially underway, currently in the second round. For the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in 4-3 games, and the Miami Heat defeated the New York Knicks in 4-2 games. In the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets beat the Phoenix Suns 4-2, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors 4-2.

The playoffs’ first round saw some key upsets

In the east, the Heat, who barely made the playoffs as an 8-seed, stunned the 1-seed Milwaukee Bucks, handily winning the series at 4-1. The Knicks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1, the 76ers swept the Brooklyn Nets and the Celtics beat the Atlanta Hawks, 4-2.

In the west, the 8-seed Nuggets won 4-1 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Suns defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 4-1 with two major upsets. The six-seeded Warriors stunned the 3-seed Sacramento Kings in seven games, while the Lakers defeated the 2-seed Memphis Grizzlies 4-2.

In South Florida, sports have been the current buzz, with the Heat’s success and the Florida Panthers in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. Small Forward Jimmy Butler has led the way for the Heat, averaging 36 points per game and shoots with a .585 percentage. 

Perhaps one of the most significant moments of the playoffs came in Game Four of the first round in Miami against the Bucks. With former Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokoumpo returning to the Bucks lineup, the Bucks aimed to win on the road and ride that momentum heading back home.

However, Butler had other plans. The 33-year-old put up 56 points, the most in a playoff game in Heat history and the fourth-most in league history. Butler lifted Miami to a 119-114 victory and a 3-1 hold on the series.

The situation looked dire with Milwaukee leading by 12 points halfway through the fourth quarter. Then, the Heat went on a 13-0 run to take the lead and eventually won the game 119-114. Butler scored 16 of Miami’s 30 points in the last six minutes. 

Not all has gone well for the Heat; Guard Tyler Herro, one of the team’s stronger players, suffered a broken hand in Game One against the Bucks and is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the season. Butler rolled his ankle at the end of the Game One victory against New York but has returned for the remainder of the series.

“My favorite moment of this Heat playoff run is when I watched Jimmy Butler take Game Five of the Bucks series to overtime. That shot was incredible and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I think we can make the finals and even take the championship home to South Beach again,” Miami Palmetto Senior High sophomore Benjamin Jones said.

The Heat will play in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, who defeated them in the same round last year.