Most Thrilling Series of NBA Playoffs

The first round of the NBA Playoffs is mostly in the bag, and, despite no shortage of deliriously fun moments, thus far it’s mostly been chalk. Going in to the bracket many observers predicted 

 The Boston Celtics–Brooklyn Nets series as a sure-fire seven-gamer; after a dramatic Game 1, the Celtics handily swept Brooklyn out of the playoffs. The plucky eighth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans 

Little scare into a shorthanded Phoenix Suns squad until Thursday night, when Phoenix sent them packing behind a record-setting, 14-for-14 shooting performance from Chris Paul. 

Philadelphia went up 3–0 on the Toronto Raptors before losing their next two, prompting speculation that they might become the first NBA team in history to choke away a 3–0 lead … until Thursday night

At the time of this writing, seven of the eight first-round series have been decided, with the higher seed winning every one and nary a Game 7 to be found. Luckily, the one series 

The Wolves and Grizzlies are two young and very inexperienced teams, and at times the product on the floor has reflected this. Minnesota has led the series for nearly three-quarters

Yet find themselves in a 3–2 hole. None of the first three games of the series were particularly close; the most recent two have been nail-biters that have been thrilling

A representative sequence would be the end of Game 5, which Ja Morant won for Memphis on a last-second layup partly enabled by blown defensive coverage by Wolves guard

 who unsuccessfully gambled for a steal. If Edwards had made the play he was trying to make, it would have been absolutely legendary: He’d just tied the game with a 3-pointer

There was still plenty of time for him to go for a breakaway, game-winning dunk. Unfortunately he did not make the play, an outcome he probably should have considered more.

Whichever of these teams advances looks likely to get buzz-sawed by the Golden State Warriors in the second round, which is just one reason we should want this series to go as long

Both of these teams are hungry, exciting, and often seem to play out of pure enjoyment. So much of any given playoffs is pre-emptively drenched with pathos, teams scrambling 

The top of the pile while trying to beat back postseason ghosts of the past. Will Chris Paul dodge postseason injury hexes and win this era’s most elusive championship? Can Steph Curry silence

The last remaining doubters and finally win a Finals MVP? Can Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown break the Celtics out of the East at long last? And then there’s the Philadelphia 76ers