NBA playoffs: the favorites
The favorites to win the finals are the Milwaukee Bucks who are led by 2x MVP, 1x NBA Champion, 1x Finals MVP, and one of the three MVP finalists for this season Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo is averaging 31 points with 12 rebounds and five assists per game. The Bucks are facing Jimmy Butler and the 8th seed Miami Heat in the first round after the Heat eliminated the Chicago Bulls in the Play-in game on April 14th. The Heat have downgraded from where they were last year as the 1 seed in 2022 but they still show they can stick around with the best.
In the first game of the 7-game series, the Bucks shot an abysmal 24% from 3 (11/45) to the Heat’s season-high 60% (15/25) from 3 and the Bucks shot an underwhelming 49% (45/91) to Miami’s above average 59% (50/84) from the field which was a big reason for the Bucks loss.
Maybe the even bigger loss for the Bucks was at the end of the first quarter when Antetokounmpo drove into the paint for a layup but collided with Miami’s Kevin Love who was trying to take the charge and landed on his back where he was obviously hurt but he tried to play through the pain but ultimately Antetokounmpo subbed himself out in the 2nd quarter and went into the locker room where he would be ruled out of the game. The Bucks weren’t the only ones who were having injury problems, Miami’s Tyler Herro is out 4-6 weeks with a broken right hand which he injured in the last minute of the 1st half in game 1.
A big part of the Bucks Championship run in 2021 other than Antetokounmpo was Khris Middleton who has been injury prone this year by only playing 31 of the 82 games in the regular season, when he’s healthy he is a great asset for Milwaukee but question is if he is going to stay healthy.