NBA Playoffs: What’s been happening in the thrilling postseason?

As the NBA playoffs surge forward, basketball fans are witnessing a seismic shift in the league’s landscape. With the conclusion of the first rounds, a notable absence looms large: the conspicuous absence of perennial superstars LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry from the Conference Semi-Finals. Remarkably, this marks the first time since 2005 that none of these icons have graced this stage of the postseason. Their collective impact this year amounted to just a single playoff victory, highlighting a remarkable departure from their usual dominance. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Curry’s Golden State Warriors failed to clinch a playoff berth altogether.

In their absence, a new generation of talent is stepping into the spotlight, with emerging stars like Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder making their presence felt in the NBA Playoffs. As the Conference Semi-Finals unfold, the stage is set for a thrilling showcase of basketball prowess, signalling a potential changing of the guard in the NBA hierarchy.

NBA Playoffs – Who’s made it to the Conference Semi-Finals?

Eastern Conference:

Boston Celtics (1) vs. (4) Cleveland Cavaliers

New York Knicks (2) vs. Indiana Pacers (6)

Western Conference:

Oklahoma City Thunder (1) vs. Dallas Mavericks (5)

Denver Nuggets (2) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (3)

NBA Playoffs – How have the Conference Semi-Finals started?

It’s been an electric start to the Conference Semi-Finals. Anthony Edwards and his Timberwolves start have taken a resounding 2-0 lead against the reigning champions, Denver Nuggets. The Antman’s stock has gone up massively so far in this NBA Playoffs, with many analysts calling him the future face of the league. The series now heads to Minnesota, where the Timberwolves could pull off an unexpected sweep of Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets. Yet I’m sure Jokic, the man who is about to be crowned MVP for the third time in four years, will have some tricks up his sleeve and there will be more twists and turns in the NBA Playoffs.

Nikola Jokic will have to something special to advance the Denver Nuggets to the next round of the NBA Playoffs.
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers played out a thrilling first match at the Garden, with the Knicks taking a narrow win, putting the first game of the series in their favour.

On Tuesday night, both the Celtics and the Thunder made huge statements of intent with 20+ point wins over the Cavaliers and the Mavericks respectively in the first games of those series.

NBA Playoffs – Best Players:

Jalen Brunson – New York Knicks (Point Guard)

Jalen Brunson really is that guy. He’s the face of New York at the moment. If he walks into any New York restaurant or bar, he’ll eat or drink for free. Nothing proves Brunson’s greatness more than the fact that he is the first player since Michael Jordan to score 40+ PTS in four consecutive games in the NBA Playoffs.

Brunson is the first and only player in NBA history to score 39+ points while shooting above 45% in five straight playoff games. Pacers guard TJ McConnell called him “as elite of a 1-on-1 player as there is.”

He’s been truly exceptional and as the Knicks progress, he could well become the Finals MVP.

Fueled by the disappointment of not winning the NBA MVP, Brunson is coming for it all in the NBA Playoffs!
(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Anthony Edwards – Minnesota Timberwolves (Shooting Guard)

The Antman is different. In the first game of the Timberwolves’ NBA Playoffs series against the Suns, Edwards scored on Kevin Durant, his idol, and started trash-talking him. Firing up KD could be a bad idea. He’s the best scorer of the last decade. Yet Ant backed it up. Minnesota swept the Suns and Edwards’ stock, to quote Drake, has been going up just like a crescendo. He’s averaging 32.3 PPG and just looks electric. Videos of him mic’d up and hyping up his teammates have gone viral and everyone now considers him to be the future of the league. He looks like Michael Jordan, he plays like Kobe Bryant and he scores like Kevin Durant. He’s got it all.

The Antman is special!
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks (Point Guard)

There aren’t actually enough adjectives for this guy. He’s simply too good. Averaging just under a triple-double every game in the NBA Playoffs, he propelled the Mavs through their series against the LA Clippers.

He’s still only 25 but is regarded as one of the greatest European players of all time. My bold take is that by the time he retires, he’ll be considered top ten of all time.

This guy is just too good. Watching him play is incredible.
(Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

NBA Playoffs – Stats Leaders:

PPG: Jalen Brunson (36.6) – New York Knicks

He’s simply that guy.

APG: Luka Doncic (9.4) – Dallas Mavericks

He’s simply also that guy.

RPG: Anthony Davis (15.6) – LA Lakers

There’s only so much a man can do. AD tried his very best against the Nuggets but just did not get the support he needed from his support cast.

AD is an elite rebounder, but it wasn't enough as the Lakers fell short to the Nuggets.
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

BPG: Evan Mobley (2.8) – Cleveland Cavaliers

Evan Mobley, one of the favourites for Defensive Player of the Year, has put up crazy block numbers this year and has carried that through into the NBA Playoffs. In his third season in the league, he has developed into a real talent.

SPG: LeBron James (2.4) – LA Lakers

To be this good at 39 years of age is just preposterous.

King James. Despite being 39 years old, he'll be back at it in October.
(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Best Series: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Orlando Magic (4-3 CC)

The series that goes to seven games has to be called the best series. The series hung in the balance, momentum swaying from side to side but eventually, it was Donovan Mitchell and the Cavs who progressed through to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.

Donovan Mitchell is a certified baller!
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

In more exciting news, Victor Wembanyama has been crowned as the NBA Rookie of the Year. Surprised…? Of course not. He’s incredible. Read more about Wembanyama’s first season in our analysis piece on him here.

By Nicky Helfgott / @NickyH3lfgott on Twitter

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