• Kaunda Chama

Time for the NBA Playoffs bubble to burst open

Saturday evening saw the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 126 – 122 in the first ever and hotly contested play in game. Memphis put up a brave fight, but their inexperience got the better of them as they easily lost the many leads they managed to take even after coming back from deficits as big as 14 points.

The showdown secured the eighth seed in the Western Conference for Portland who will now face the top seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Playoffs which will commence on Tuesday.

This has been one of the most anticipated ends to an NBA in recent years, especially considering the fact that it was marred by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and came to a halt on March 11th, leaving both the league and its fans stunned with no clear date as to when it would return.

Quarantines and a bubble later, July 30th saw the return of the regular season with 22 teams that where still in playoff contention playing seeding games at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, now affectionately known as The Bubble.

With the seedings now being determined, its is literally time for The Bubble to burst with all the high-octane action that characterises the NBA Playoffs, its time for teams and players to engage their “Beast Modes” and give fans the level of post-season basketball they are used to.

The Western Conference first round matchups will be as follows:

The first seed Los Angeles Lakers (52-19), will face eighth seed Portland Trail Blazers (35-39); the second seed Los Angeles Clippers (49-23) face the seventh seed Dallas Mavericks (43-32); the third seed Denver Nuggets (46-27), will face the sixth seed Utah Jazz (44-28); while the fourth seed Houston Rockets (44-28), will face the fifth seed Oklahoma City Thunder (44-28).

The Eastern Conference first round matchups will be as follows:

The top seed Milwaukee Bucks (56-17) will play the eighth seed Orlando Magic (33-40); the second seed Toronto Raptors (53-19), will play the seventh seed Brooklyn Nets (35-37); the third seed Boston Celtics (48-24), will play the sixth seed Philadelphia 76ers (43-30); while the fourth seed Indiana Pacers (45-28), will play the fifth seed Miami Heat (44-29).

Some of the most exciting matchups to look out for will be the Lakers-Trail Blazers, where Damian Lillard will look to upset the top seeded Lakers and get revenge on Anthony Davis at the same time, and the Rockets-Thunder where Chris Paul will be facing his former teammates and Russell Westbrook will do the same.

In the Pacers-Heat matchup promises to be one of the most exciting playoffs series of this postseason, and the Celtics-Sixers will be a test of tenacity between two young teams.

Below is the official 2020 NBA Playoffs Bracket.

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