There are 2 NBA games today. But the first of the doubleheader is the one with the most meaning. It is the first Game 7 of this year’s NBA Playoffs. The Milwaukee Bucks look to shock America and knock off the heavily favored Atlanta Hawks. In the 2nd game of the afternoon, 2 injury riddled teams open up a Conference Semifinals series. The Utah Jazz look to avoid being eliminated by the Lakers from the playoffs for the 3rd consecutive year. And this is a better Jazz team in past years, not to mention the Lakers could be without their center Andrew Bynum, but all directions point towards the Lake Show taking care of business. With Okur out for the series and Kirilenko out for at least the first 2 games of the series, the load will heavily fall on Deron Williams. And without question, Deron Williams has proven to be the best all around point guard in the NBA at this time. The Lakers struggled stopping Russell Westrook in the opening round. Wait until they get a dose of Mr. Deron Williams. In the end though, Deron does not have a star like Kevin Durant to help him out down the stretch. Look for the Lake Show take care of this series and move on to the Conference Finals for their 3rd consecutive year.
So back to the real game of the day that matters. I will admit I picked the Hawks to win this series in 5 games in an earlier edition of Sportskraze. But the Bucks have fought, and even had a chance to close the series out at home in Game 6. They were unable to deliver though and now face the daunting task of going into Atlanta and stealing a Game 7 victory.
This is a familiar position for the Hawks. Who a couple of year’s ago were the young guns looking to pull off the improbable upset of the mighty Boston Celtics (Boston went on to silence critics and win the title). They ended up falling in Game 7, but they took a lot from that series and now are on the other side of the spectrum. And they know how to win big games. This is no longer one of the League’s youngest squads. They have playoff experience now in their 3rd consecutive playoffs and are ready to make some noise.
Hats off to the Bucks though. They are making this improbable upset attempt without two of their star players in sharp shooter Michael Redd and the big time post presence of Andrew Bogut. Can Brandon Jennings and John Salmons finish off the Hawks today? I would say it is extremely unlikely. The Hawks are just too talented, deep, and experienced. Not to mention they will have a very loud home crowd roaring in their favor all afternoon.
So I got the Hawks flying too Orlando to take on the Magic in the Conference Semifinals. The Magic will be ready, but this will be a highly competitive series as two of the League’s best duel it out.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.