The playoffs for the 2020-2021 NBA season finally arrived. This year’s edition will probably be as memorable as last year’s NBA Bubble because of games being played during the COVID-era. The biggest difference is that the games are no longer being played in Orlando but in actual NBA arenas. So traveling between cities and playing in front of the opponent’s crowd is back in the mix.
Another thing that everyone will remember is the off-season. What was so unusual about the off-season? It only lasted 71 days. The NBA wanted to start the season during Christmas week even if some players were against this idea. So all teams went through their 72-game schedule, some went through the Play-in Tournament, and now we’re here in the playoffs.
“Playoffs” is one of the best words out there in the world of sports. Every sports fan is looking forward to this moment. Playoff dates are circled in their calendars. It’s where the games matter and where every moment is bigger. Every successful three-pointer made by your favorite team feels like it’s worth six points. An explosive dunk made by your favorite player feels like 10 points. If your team forces a turnover, you’ll punch the air and shout “Yeah!” at the screen of whatever device you’re watching the game on.
Every moment during the playoffs is magnified which could be a disadvantage if the team you are rooting for is not playing well at all. Every missed shot feels like a punch to your stomach. Every time the opponent scores, your heart will ache. You’ll shout “Why?!” after every bad shot. When your team loses a game, it will ruin your day. If your team gets eliminated, it could ruin your week or your entire summer.
There will always be disappointing moments at this point of the season. You could blame injuries, the schedule, or the players for being nervous while performing on the NBA’s biggest stage.
Let’s take a look at some of the worst moments of the first two rounds of this year’s playoffs. These moments are, of course, only considered “the worst” if you were rooting for these teams or players.
Zero wins. Their first game against the Milwaukee Bucks was a close one but couldn’t find their fighting spirit after seeing Khris Middleton’s game-winner go in. Reached the Finals the previous year so being swept had to hurt.
This was Randle’s first trip to the postseason. The expectations were clearly too high. The Randle we saw in the regular season did not show up in the postseason.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
The Blazers should beat the Denver Nuggets missing Jamal Murray right? Wrong. Blazers couldn’t capitalize on the chance. This is their fourth “first-round exit” in the last five years.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Anthony Davis and his groin injury will be the easiest excuse to make here but let’s not forget that the Lakers had a shooting slump. Their slump came at the worst possible time. Dennis Schroder even had a game where he had zero points while playing 26 minutes.
Luka Doncic’s sidekick needed to play better. Tim Hardaway Jr. overtook Porzingis and became the number 2 player for the Dallas Mavericks in their first-round series. Porzingis needs to be consistent. He’ll play like a superstar in one game and have no impact at all in the next one.
Free throws. That’s all they had to do. Make free throws. Another crazy statistic out there is about Ben Simmons having little to no field goal attempts during the fourth quarter.
The sharpshooter was shooting well below his season average from three-point land. That’s bad if you’re a former three-point contest champion. Brooklyn Nets would be in a better place right now with a few more made threes.
What happened? They were up 2-0 against the Los Angeles Clippers and then lost 4 straight games. That fourth loss, where they blew a 25-point lead, was the head-scratching moment for the fans.
Other stories that got the “worst” label were about injuries to star players and fans misbehaving in arenas but those are things we’d rather forget.
Follow Joey Almendras on Twitter @Buyaw
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images