By JOHN LIKANJE
Heat Check is a weekly recap of the best basketball writing and analysis the internet has to offer.
- The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks both rebounded from embarrassing Game One losses with resounding Game Two victories (via FanSided writers Ian Levy and Micah Wimmer). But the top seeds in their respective conferences had their major flaws exposed, Tuesday: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s dominant performance was marred by foul trouble and the Lakers couldn’t match the Portland Trail Blazers’ offense.
- Last summer, LeBron James opened a basketball court at his I PROMISE school in Akron, Ohio. The 16-time All-Star caught up with old high school friends while visiting his hometown.
- Joakim Noah wished his teammates good luck before Monday’s game in the most eccentric way possible: walking down the Los Angeles Clippers’ hotel hallway burning a sage smudge.
- Last week, the NBA announced the finalists for each regular season award before the conclusion of the seeding round. The finalists were picked based on their performances before the suspension on March 11th. Here are my predictions on who will win each award.
- The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder were supposed to be locked in a tight and competitive first-round series. Instead, James Harden has led his squad to back-to-back victories without Russell Westbrook. The Rockets superstar received much-needed assistance from the rest of the roster in Game Two (via FanSided writer and NBA editor Gerald Bourguet).
- Jimmy Butler played a solid all-around game once again and Duncan Robinson netted seven three-pointers as the Miami Heat took down the Indiana Pacers in Game Two (via Levy).
- Luka Doncic doesn’t seemed fazed by the NBA playoff atmosphere at all. After dropping 42 points in Game One, the 21-year-old star scored 28 as the Dallas Mavericks tied up their series with the Clippers (via Wimmer).
- The Boston Celtics lost Gordon Hayward to another freak injury. They didn’t lose a step, Wednesday evening, and proceeded to blow out the Philadelphia 76ers to take a 2-0 series lead (via FanSided writer Alec Liebsch).
- The Utah Jazz have gone under the radar in terms of their competitiveness in the bubble. They’ve given the Denver Nuggets everything they can handle in their first-round series. Wednesday afternoon, Donovan Mitchell produced another outstanding performance to lead the Jazz to the win (via Bourguet).
- The Toronto Raptors fought off a scrappy Brooklyn Nets squad for the second straight game (via Levy).
You can also find John at fansided.com/nba.