We’ve made it to conference semifinal season in the NBA Playoffs and a couple of tasty matchups are here to make your Sunday a whole lot better.
The East kicks things off as the defending-champion Milwaukee Bucks descend upon Boston to meet the Celtics to begin their series before Stephen Curry and the resurgent Golden State Warriors start things up for Game 1 against the upstart Memphis Grizzlies and their golden child, Ja Morant.
Our Eric Samulski has done pretty darn well picking the NBA slate this week at 17-6-0, but with him off today, you’re stuck with me.
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NBA Odds and Schedule, May 1
#3 Milwaukee Bucks vs. #2 Boston Celtics, 1 p.m. ET
Watch on ABC
If the regular season provides any indication of what’s about to come our way, this second-round series between the Bucks and the Celtics will be a classic.
The two teams split their four-game regular-season series with a combined score of 473-460 — quite a tight margin for that many games. In fact, in 20 games dating back to the 2016-17 season, these two are even at 10 wins apiece.
We’re getting quite the marquee matchups of stars, too, as Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo will try to outduel Boston’s meteoric-rising superstar in Jayson Tatum. In three games of Boston this season, Antetokounmpo averaged 28.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game.
Tatum was even better against the Bucks, though, posting 31.3 points on 44.4% three-point shooting.
Both of these teams had a generally easy time in the first round — the Bucks beating the Chicago Bulls in five games while the Celtics swept the dysfunctional Brooklyn Nets out of the playoffs.
#3 Golden State Warriors (53-29)) vs. #2 Memphis Grizzlies (56-26), 3:30 p.m.
Watch on ABC
This is the second consecutive year that the Grizzlies and Warriors will meet in postseason play — though the stakes are significantly higher here in the Western Conference semifinals compared to their clash in the NBA Play-In Tournament last season.
The reputations around these two teams couldn’t be any more different, which will make this such a primetime event.
The three-time champion Warriors have been to the mountaintop and after a rocky two seasons that saw the team decimated by injuries, they’re back at full strength and ready to prove that they still belong at the NBA’s highest perch.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have everything to prove as their superstar point guard Ja Morant has helped carry this organization that hasn’t seen the second round of the playoffs since 2015 to new heights.
In the regular-season series, the Grizzlies won three of four games, including their most recent 28-point drubbing of Golden State on March 28.
Memphis needed six games to get past the No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round while the Warriors needed just five to eliminate the Denver Nuggets.