LeonardThe challenge of 20 NBA teams for the ‘O’Brien Championship Trophy’ begins. On the 12th, starting with the play-in tournament between the Miami Heat-Atlanta Hawks and LA Lakers-Minnesota Timberwolves, who took 7th and 8th place in both conferences, the NBA Playoffs (PO) for the 2022-2023 season will begin a two-month fierce battle. The winning team that wins the game on the 12th will receive the 7th seed, while the losing team will play the 8th seed match against the winner of the play-in tournament between the 9th and 10th places.
Among the matchups that have already been confirmed, the match that draws the most attention is the confrontation between the 4th seed Phoenix Suns in the West and the 5th seed LA Clippers. Phoenix, who finished runner-up in the 2021 championship match, took first place in the Western Conference last season, but lost to the Dallas Mavericks led by Luka Doncic in the conference semifinals after a seven-game match. In an attempt to win again this season, Phoenix acquired Kevin Durant, the best scoring machine in existence, right before the trade deadline. The bleeding was top-tier resources Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, plus four future first-round picks. This time around, he is determined to aim for the championship.
With Durant joining the existing key players leading to Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix truly became a ‘super team’. Durant suffered knee and ankle injuries during the season that prevented him from playing many games in a Phoenix uniform, but Phoenix won all eight of Durant’s games. The existence of Durant, who can operate the scorer anywhere from the paint zone to the 3-point line, is expected to be a ‘report of transfer’ in the PO stage where the opponent’s defense becomes more rough.
The reason why the match between Phoenix and Clippers is attracting attention is because of the presence of Durant and Russell Westbrook, who played close friends in Oklahoma City since his early days as a pro, but now has become an enemy. Durant and Westbrook worked together from 2008 to 2016 and made Oklahoma a strong team by advancing to the championship game together, but it was distorted when Durant moved to Golden State in 2016 to win the Finals.
Westbrook, who remained in Oklahoma without Durant and became a superstar by winning the regular league MVP award and recording a season record triple-double, is now being treated as a ‘giggle’ due to his chronic disease of jumping shot hunting. Westbrook, who started this season with the LA Lakers, eventually moved to the Clippers. The battle of pride between Durant, who is still treated as a superstar, and Westbrook, who has become a main player and a sixth man, is expected to draw attention.
The player who will face Durant directly is Kawhi Leonard, the ‘Championship Contractor’. Leonard, who is considered the best offensive and defensive forward in the NBA, is famous for his ‘strong heart’, which rages even more when he becomes a PO enough to win the championship MVP twice, once each in San Antonio and Toronto in the past. Two players with overlapping positions are expected to defend each other, so the flow of the series will change depending on the confrontation between the two. However, as Leonard’s partner Paul George is likely to miss the first round due to injury, Phoenix seems to have a slight advantage.
The ‘defending champion’ Golden State, led by Stephen Curry, the best 3-point shooter of all time, will face off against the 3rd seed Sacramento Kings as the 6th seed in the West. Sacramento succeeded in rebuilding with De’Aaron Pax and Domantas Sabonis at the center, and came to the PO stage 17 years after the ‘Millennium Kings’ days. In terms of the season record, Sacramento, which is behind Golden State with 1 win and 3 losses, calculates that it must win all home games using Golden State’s away win rate of only 26.8%. Attention is focusing on whether Curry will overcome the lower seed and lead Golden State to the championship again.
LeBron James,카지노사이트the Lakers’ “unrevealed superstar,” who surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time leading scorer this season, kicks off PO with a play-in tournament. For LeBron, who has already reached the age of 40 in Korea, physical strength is expected to determine the success or failure of this ‘spring basketball’.