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NBA Storylines Down the Stretch

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Doris Burke is an NBA analyst for ESPN so doors the All star break is over and NBA. Games are back. We wanted to talk to you. About what surprised you so far this season. And how you see the last couple of months shaping up as we enter the homestretch before the playoffs. Let's start in the East right where there is an unequivocal number. One team in Milwaukee they have the best record in the NBA and they are destroying teams winning by an average margin of victory of more than twelve points per game now of the eleven teams that have had a double digit margin of victory over the course of a season. Eight have gone on to win it. All Doris. Is there something that stands between Milwaukee and the NBA Finals? Yeah this is a great question. So in their eight losses the one thread that is consistent throughout those are teams are averaging sixteen point nine threes and philosophically. Their priority is protect. The paint. First and foremost they are so elite. At that that we have not seen this kind of rim protection in the modern NBA. With the possible exception of Spurs team that had both Tim Duncan and David Robinson but the fact of the matter if a team gets hot and really can create shot opportunities then. I think that they can be beat. The other thing that happens is your and you saw in the All Star game. Jaanus is the first player to go twenty five and eleven back to back all star Games but he was over to note points in the fourth quarter because they did playoff teams. We'll do they set up a wall and they said somebody else is going to beat us so well. No one's really doubting the bucks at this point. I think there is still a lot of skepticism about the number two seed in the east the Toronto Raptors. I mean after losing finals. Mvp Kawhi Leonard. They were not seen as favorites coming into this year yet. They have the same record right now that they had at this point last season doors one hand the raptors have been under five hundred against winning teams but on the other they had a lot of. Are we underestimating them? While I'm definitely giving them punchers chance to get to the Eastern Conference finals and a punchers chance to come out in the past historically particularly when Demar Derozan Kyle lowry. Were on the team together. What we knew was they understood how to win in the regular season but they're always seemed to be this level of doubt in their minds when the calendar turn to April but the fact of the matter is. They changed that a year ago with championship. There is a different feel a different presents a different countenance about the entire group and yes unequivocally the record versus plus five hundred versus minus five hundred is concerning but let's remember that their top six guys including Serge Ibaka. Who's having the Best Year of his career? Kyle lowry Markelle Saul Fred Van Bleed. Norman Powell Pascal them. All six of those guys have missed at least ten games so I don't know that we have the clearest picture the other thing working in their favors they have one of the best coaches in the league. Nick nurse wears that head coaches mantle with ease. Why because he's been calling the shots for the vast majority of his career. In any number of circumstances his creative he's fearless. He's a little bit irreverent. And I'm telling you mean ah I give them a punchers chance to get to an east finals and a punchers chance to get out. Did you see this coming at all? Doors not even close and this is the question really ultimately. Do they have enough offense in what you're seeing is to me. What appears to be this grooming of Pascal? Ceac him of all right. You gotta go get your own in those minutes and a playoff circumstance where you don't care whether it's a mid range to a fall away jump shot a jump shot under duress of excellent defense. What matters is I need to put the ball in the basket right now because this game is teetering on our control or there's and we've got to have one and you're watching Pascal. Can he deliver in the postseason? He's been excellent in the regular season. I can't wait to see a play out. I think it feels right now. Like you've got the bucks in a tier of their own and then you've got the raptors celtics heat kind of swirling around each other. There was a feeling ahead of the trade deadline that the heat could vault to that number. Two spot perhaps even contend with the bucks if they really went all in and added Gala Nari. They didn't they did add Igwe Dolla. Do you think that's enough? You know the the last prism through which I saw. Andre Gonzala was a man who was battling an Achilles in the playoff series and seemed to be showing the signs of some age. But what I know. Unequivocally is this man from a basketball intellect standpoint. According to Kerr is one of the smartest in the history of the League. He has got championship. Dna He's got positional versatility on the defensive end that basketball intellect and the ability to process information quickly and to do it under the spotlight of the playoffs. He has all of that. I'm anxious to see how he changes the dynamic the Miami Heat. You know this. They're going to play hard defensively every single night. They're going to mix in one of the most effective zones we see in today's NBA and Eric's bolster is outstanding coach. So right now sitting in that fourth spot how far Jimmy Butler can take them. That'll be interesting. Those young guys. Right Duncan Robinson Tyler Hero Kendrick Nunn all those guys who have performed so well in the regular season when the calendar switches. Can you win with them? Let's see

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