The 2021 NBA playoffs are well underway as teams in both the Western and Eastern Conference fight for their right to a shiny Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy and serious bragging rights.
As the conference semifinals continue their stride with big matchups from the league’s most elite, let’s take a quick look at some of the most important takeaways from this year’s playoffs so far.
The League Will Have a New Champion in 2021
Following a huge upset against the Phoenix Suns in the first round, LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs after they lost 113-110 in Game 6. Although the team’s playmaker fought hard, the lingering ankle injuries of both LeBron and power forward Anthony Davis undoubtedly thwarted them on the court.
Now, it is clear that the basketball league will have a brand-new champion in 2021, as the Lakers will not be back-to-back victors as previously hoped for. Whom exactly that winner will be is still undetermined, but fans are continuously following expert NBA picks all the way up to the Finals in anticipation. Perhaps with some much-needed post-season rest, LeBron will return to the league healthier and stronger next season.
Joel Embiid Is Unstoppable
Speaking of playing injuries, power forward and center Joel Embiid is no stranger to them, having recently sustained a torn meniscus in the first round. However, despite his impairment, the Cameroonian superstar returned back to the court just in time to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 118-102, tying the series.
The 76ers’ powerhouse is truly unstoppable. In the recent Hawks match, he scored a career high of a whopping 40 points, and some are already calling him the league’s 3rd best player, right behind LeBron and Nikola Jokic. If he continues with this complete domination, there’s a good chance Philadelphia will be Eastern Conference champs, or better yet, Finals victors.
The Jazz Are the Western Conference’s Shining Gem
The 76ers may be taking over in the East, but the West is being occupied by a franchise who, ironically, has never won an NBA Finals title. Although they have yet to be Championship title holders, the Jazz are playing phenomenally as of late, recently defeating the Memphis Grizzlies.
The franchise is looking forward to upcoming matches against the Los Angeles Clippers, but based on Utah’s track record, it looks like it will be pretty difficult for anyone else to overtake them in the East.