Read and React: Why we're OK with the NBA's first round being a chalkfest

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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Good morning, good people! The NHL is headed toward its third Game 7 after the Canes beat the Caps on Monday and the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs has been as wild and unpredictable as the sport of hockey itself.

The first round of the NBA playoffs? Yeah, not so much. The Bucks completed a sweep of the Pistons last night while the Rockets hit a small road bump against a Jazz team they’ll almost certainly wipe out in Game 5, losing 107-91. Three additional series (76ers-Nets, Blazers-Thunder and Warriors-Clippers) can close out in five games tonight and tomorrow. Only Spurs-Nuggets looks like it could go the distance with that series tied at two.

But it’s OK! This is going exactly how we should want.

The NBA is all about the second round

First-round upsets are a lot of fun to watch, so long as you’re not a fan of the Tampa Bay Lightning or Calgary Flames. But they can have an unintended negative ripple effect as the quality of the later rounds get compromised.

That doesn’t look like it will be the case in the NBA, where we’re headed for some matchups we’ve waited all season for. The Bucks-Celtics is already happening and features the two teams that are arguably playing the best basketball in the NBA right now. We’re one more Warriors win away from seeing if the Rockets have enough to unseat Golden State in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference finals. Throw in a presumed Raptors-Sixers series that should be bananas and we’ve got a second round that will set a high bar to clear for the ensuing conference finals.

So … yeah. While the NBA’s first round may largely be a preordained walkthrough, we need it for all the pieces to fall in place. Nobody should want a Clippers-Rockets series that nobody asked for.

NBA: Luke Walton sued by reporter for alleged sexual assault

Reporter Kelli Tennant alleges in a lawsuit that Walton forced himself on her after she visited his hotel room in search of an interview for a book she was writing. The alleged incident took place in 2017 when Walton was an assistant with the Warriors. Walton recently landed a new job with the Sacramento Kings, who said they were collecting facts and would have no further comment.

NCAA hoops: Duke secures yet another top player for next fall

The rich get richer. Four-star guard Cassius Stanley was expected to be leaning toward UCLA or Kansas, but made a surprise commitment to Coach K on Monday. The Blue Devils now have five of the Rivals’ top 50 headed toward Durham for next season.

MMA: Former UFC fighter allegedly killed by rideshare driver

Bizarre story. Rodrigo de Lima died in Brazil after allegedly being hit by a rideshare driver he had been arguing with. de Lima was 26.

Hannah Keyser: It’s time for the beanball to finally get plunked

Dan Wetzel: Why Nashville is the perfect NFL draft host

Jay Busbee: The year Dave Winfield was drafted four times


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