The Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers made it to the NBA Playoffs.
Behind the play of D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen the Nets are making their first appearance in the NBA Playoffs since 2015.
The Clippers are the largest first-round underdog since 1988 as they take on the Golden State Warriors with 100-1 odds to come out on top against the two-time defending champions.
“I think they’re one of the best stories in the NBA,” ESPN senior writer, Ramona Shelburne told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“To me, Doc Rivers and Kenny Atkinson on the Nets should be right there for Coach of the Year and I know probably Mike Budenholzer’s gonna get that, like the Bucks are taking a giant step forward with the best record in the league, he’ll probably get it, but man, look at what the Clippers have done.”
That’s high praise and both teams deserve that recognition.
At season’s end, the Nets found themselves as the sixth seed, facing off against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.
Per Basketball Society Online: The two teams split their season series 2-2 with each team blowing out the other at home once and winning a close game on the road once.
The Sixers are favored in this matchup but there are plenty of reasons to expect this to be a close series.
The Clippers have no star power.
Per Basketball Society Online: The Clippers rely on a scrappy roster fueled by the hard-nosed attitudes of Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell while getting ‘just-add-water’ microwave offense from Lou Williams. Lou will have to have everything working for him on offense in order to keep Los Angeles in it. The Warriors have the bodies and experience to make life hard on the defensive end. Good defense is always susceptible to better offense, however, and once Williams gets hot there is nothing anyone can do.
“I enjoy going to Clippers’ games,” Ramona Shelburne tells Scoop B Radio.
“I haven’t been to as many as I normally do because I have a little baby at home, so I haven’t been going to quite as many games this year, but the ones I do go to, I think the Clippers are one of the best watches in the NBA. They play hard, they have a great system, they’re always working together, you don’t see people ball-hogging it, and they have this pick-and-roll between Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams and every team that plays them says the same thing, you know that’s coming, you know that’s what they’re going to do, and they still beat you with it every damn time. They’ve just got that down, I think Lou Williams is fun, Montrezl might be one of my favorite players these days, he’s a really good dude, didn’t know he had all that kind of offensive game when he came into the league, right? Like you see this energy guy, but he plays hard, he and I, off the court, we sort of bonded because we both have little babies at home, we show each other baby pictures, these guys are easy to root for. And we complain about teams that tank, but the Clippers absolutely tanked. They could keep their pick if they tank, otherwise they give Boston a first-round pick, it would be better if they would get a better pick, but they don’t, they play hard and I really appreciate that, I think that’s kind of how you should do it.”