Before getting rid of the emails that indicate your favorite player has been deleted, let’s first establish the main parameter for inclusion in this list: Their teams must survive the playoffs.
Such is the case for two first-round MVPs with Jason Tatum and the Boston Celtics preparing to host Giannis Antikonmo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday at TD Garden in the Eastern Conference semifinals (1 ET, ABC).
Tatum and Antetokonmo carried their team into the opening post-season round. Tatum’s Game 1 bell set the tone for Boston to sweep Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets 4-0, while Milwaukee eliminated the Chicago Bulls 4-1 behind 33 points, and nine rebounds from the Bucks forward in Game 5.
As we set our sights on the conference semi-finals, let’s point out the five best players from the post-season opening round, listed alphabetically:
Giannis Antikonmo, Milwaukee Bucks
Playoff stats: 28.6 ppg, 13.4 rpg, 6.2 apg
Antetokounmpo’s post-season average is down 1.3 points from the regular season, but with second Bucks top scorer Chris Middleton out for an unspecified period of time with a. MC . sprainL, the NBA Finals MVP boosted his numbers in rebounds (13.4 rpg in the playoffs, compared to 11.6 in the regular season) and assists (6.2 apg in the playoffs, compared to 5.8 in the regular season). The Celtics are well aware of Antetokounmpo’s gaming capabilities, despite his fondness for creating his own attack. “With these guys, he makes it really difficult because of how aggressive he is, how he can get into the lane and not only build for himself, but also for other players,” said Celtics goalkeeper Marcus Smart. 2021-22 Kia Defensive Player of the Year. “These guys are waiting there, ready for him to serve it on a platter.”
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Playoff stats: 29.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 5.7 apg
Doncic missed the first three games of the Dallas inaugural round series against the Utah Jazz, but base rule dropped at least 30 points in two of his next three contests on the way to the Mavs’ 4-2 win in the series. Pushing the club past the opening round For the first time since the start of the 2011 tournament, thanks to strong playing power from Jalen Bronson, who averaged 32 points in the first three games, Dallas snatched a 2-1 lead over Utah in the first round despite Doncic’s absence. One of the encouraging signs we saw from Doncic in the first round was his ability to make the right decisions when the Jazz filled with traps and double teams to stop him. “If they want to [double-team]Doncic said.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Playoff stats: 26.2 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 2.3 apg
Embiid put together a season of MVP caliber only to be surrounded by injuries in the postseason. First, Embiid tore a ligament in his thumb in a first-round game three shootout against the Toronto Raptors. Then, on Friday, the 76ers announced Embiid would be out of the squad indefinitely after suffering a right orbital fracture and a mild concussion. 6 win game In Toronto following the performance of 33 points and 10 rebounds. The strange injury occurred with 3:58 minutes remaining to play with Philadelphia, ahead of 29 points. The Sixers haven’t set a potential timeline for Embiid’s recap, which is unfortunate considering they face top-seeded Miami on the road on Monday at the FTX Arena (7:30 ET, TNT). The team didn’t rule out Embiid in the playoffs, but there’s a good chance they’ll miss this entire upcoming series.
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
Playoff stats: 22.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 11.3 apg
The seasoned veteran finished only the first round as he could, breaking a post-season record. 14 field goals without missing them Top seed Phoenix also eliminated New Orleans 4-2 to play a conference semi-final with the Dallas Mavericks. Top scorer Devin Booker missed games 3-5 after sustaining a hamstring injury, but Paul led the Suns to a record 2-1 in his absence. “When you win and he does that in a close game, it’s special,” Suns coach Monty Williams said of Paul’s performance in Game 6. “We celebrate everything, and when a player like Chris, who has given so much to the game and invested so much to be in such situations, has a night like this, you want to make sure you get to know him.” We certainly do. Paul averaged 14.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 10.8 assists in the regular season, and you can see that he raised those numbers in the playoffs.
Jason Tatum, Boston Celtics
Playoff stats: 29.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 7.3 apg
Tatum demonstrated his elite two-way ability in the first round to lead the Celtics sweep the Nets, thereby raising his status to a bona fide superstar. Aside from his stifling defense, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of Tatum’s opening round performance was his persistence as a playmaker. Tatum always seemed to play the right plays when Brooklyn increased the pressure on him. Tatum needs to take that to the semi-finals against Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. In the three regular season encounters between Boston and Milwaukee, Tatum averaged 31.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. “[They’re the] They’ve been there before, they’ve got the job done,” Tatum said of the heroes. “Obviously it’s going to be a huge challenge. I just look forward to it. It will be fun.”
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