NBA round two recap: The Road to the Conference Finals

Aidan Carney Skytt

The second round of the 2023 National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs concluded on May 14, marking a series of historic games. This round was a thrilling roller coaster ride, brimming with unexpected upsets, decisive blowouts, gravity-defying dunks and finishes that kept fans on the edge of their seats until the final buzzer. As senior and basketball superfan Henry Lin puts it when referring to the caliber of play during this series, “It doesn’t get better than this.”

Unfortunately for Golden State Warriors fans, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Warriors in six games to advance to the Western Conference Finals. Theories abound as to what went wrong for the Warriors, a topic that has sparked intense debate among fans and analysts alike. These theories, born out of a mix of disappointment and disbelief, are not just speculative chatter but reflect genuine attempts to understand the team’s unexpected performance.

Namdar Pouradib, a senior with a passion for the NBA and an interest in analyzing the advanced statistics of the Golden State Warriors, believes the problems started at the center position.

Jimmy Butler dimes up his teammate in the paint. (Photo courtesy of

“The Warriors didn’t have anyone to match up [against] Anthony Davis. He’s too big and athletic for Kevon Looney or Draymond Green to consistently stop him,” Pouradib said.

At six feet 10 inches with a seven foot six inch wingspan, center for the Lakers, Anthony Davis, outsizes everyone on the Warriors’ roster. Lin also notes Davis’s skill and believes that pairing him with another Lakers star sealed the Warriors’ fate.

“Davis and LeBron James in the paint together are unstoppable. They both have to be double-teamed. Their presence creates too many open three-point shooters or easy points inside,” Lin said.

The Warriors and Lakers matchup wasn’t the only eventful series of the second round. The Denver Nuggets defeated the Phoenix Suns in six games, including a blowout win on the Suns’ home court. In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in game seven on May 14, and the Miami Heat outperformed the New York Knicks to advance as well.

While the previous games were certainly exciting, many believe the best basketball of the playoffs is still to come. Fans, brimming with anticipation, have been vocal about their predictions and expectations for the upcoming games.

Anthony Davis uses his agility to get easy points. (Photo courtesy of

Among them is Lin, who has been closely following the playoffs. He shares his thoughts on the Denver Nuggets’ prospects, expressing a high level of confidence in their star player, Nikola Jokić.

“I think the Nuggets will go all the way. There’s no one left that can guard Jokić. The guy is unstoppable,” Lin said.

Jokić, who plays as a center, is no stranger to accolades. The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player is currently chasing his first championship, a goal that seems increasingly attainable given his recent performances. In a stunning display of his dominance on the court, Jokić scored a career-high 53 points against the Suns in game four of round two. This number further solidifies his reputation as an unstoppable force in the league.

While Lin’s confidence in the Nuggets and Jokić is palpable, not all fans share his perspective. Pouradib, who has been closely observing the dynamics of each team and the performances of key players, views the situation differently.

“I don’t see the Nuggets making it out of the West[ern Conference]. The Lakers are too deep with talent. In my humble opinion, you can never bet against LeBron,” Pouradib said.

Pouradib’s insights aren’t limited to the Western Conference. He also turned his analytical gaze to the Eastern Conference, weighing the strengths and weaknesses of the teams vying for the top spot.

“I see Miami coming out of the East. My dislike of the Celtics could be clouding my judgment, but I believe the Miami Heat want it more,” Pouradib said.

Regardless of what happens, one thing is certain: the basketball will be top-notch. Records are being broken left and right, and there are still plenty of games until the championship. Given their historic significance, these games are expected to be a highlight for many fans.