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3 NBA Playoff Teams Who Should Be Most Disappointed In 2022

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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

 

For two NBA playoff teams, Sunday was Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

For the 14 playoff teams already eliminated, Sunday was simply the end of the weekend.

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However, the sting of not being in the Finals this year stings more for three teams.

Teams like the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans, and Minnesota Timberwolves were younger teams still looking to build their postseason experience.

The Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks are also both young teams who made runs past the first round.

While teams like the Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, and Milwaukee Bucks all dealt with major injury issues.

But these three teams had title aspirations and came up short.

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Their respective offseasons will carry a sense of disappointment in how 2022 ended for them

 

3. Brooklyn Nets

First up is the preseason title favorite for the 2021-22 season, the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets have been labeled as title contenders ever since bringing in both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving during the 2019 offseason.

And after making a blockbuster trade to acquire James Harden midway through the 2020-21 season, they were seen as a near-lock to win a title soon.

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To this point, that has not been the case.

Injuries to both Harden and Irving in last year’s playoffs led to a second-round exit at the hands of the Bucks.

This season saw Brooklyn deal with the latest antics from Irving as well as significant missed time from Durant.

On top of Harden forcing his way out of town for a second consecutive year to the Sixers.

It all culminated with a first-round sweep to the Boston Celtics.

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All four games were close, but Durant seemed like a mere mortal against the Celtics’ staunch defense.

KD averaged 26.3 points per game but did so on 38.6 shooting from the field – a far cry from his 47.6% postseason career average.

And now there are reports the Nets do not want to re-sign Irving because of his spotty recent history.

Realistically, Irving will return as a Net next season.

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But the terms of how he returns will be worth monitoring.

For a team who entered the year with three superstar talents and the best odds at winning a title, 2022 can only be seen as a bust of a year.

 

2. Philadelphia 76ers

Next is the team who was the trade partner with the Nets for the midseason Harden deal, the Philadelphia 76ers.

Sixers’ General Manager Daryl Morey finally reunited with his star guard from Houston while simultaneously ending the Ben Simmons saga.

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Another NBA MVP-caliber season from Joel Embiid paired with a meteoric sophomore rise from Tyrese Maxey gave Philly another 50+ win season and the fourth seed in the playoffs.

They seemed primed to finally contend for a title as they raced out to a 3-0 series lead against the Raptors.

However, that good mojo died quickly.

Embiid suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb during Game 3.

The Sixers lost two straight before closing things out in Game 6.

But a Pascal Siakam elbow caused Embiid to suffer a concussion and orbital contusion and held him out of the first two games in the second round.

Philly dropped both playoff games and the deficit proved to be too much.

The Miami Heat dispatched them in six.

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In the end, the Sixers suffered a fourth second-round exit in five years.

For a team who has consistently said a lead-guard of Harden’s caliber would take them over the top, it was a disappointing result.

Harden failed to show up when it mattered most, and the supporting cast was not good enough to pick up the slack.

This offseason may be Morey’s last chance to build a contender in Philly.

 

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1. Phoenix Suns

Finally, we have the Phoenix Suns.

The best team in the NBA this season by a full eight games with a record of 64-18.

Chris Paul and Devin Booker continued to dominate the league as both guards received MVP votes.

Deandre Ayton took further steps in developing his game on both ends in his fourth year.

And Mikal Bridges made All-Defensive First Team to go along with his second-place finish in DPOY voting.

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But all of that was for naught as the Suns fell in seven to the Mavericks in the second round.

And it was not a hard-fought end to their season.

The Mavericks crushed them by 33 points in Game 7 – a number that was somehow closer than the game was.

Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, and Spencer Dinwiddie took turns cooking the Suns’ defense.

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Meanwhile, Booker finished 3-14 from the field and Ayton logged only 17 minutes.

After the game, coach Monty Williams‘ explanation for Ayton’s limited playing time in Game 7 was that “it’s internal”.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

And now, sources tell “The Athletic” that it is “more likely than not” that Ayton is not with Phoenix next year.

The best team in the association this year entered the playoffs as the no-brainer pick to hoist the NBA Finals Trophy.

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It ended in a whimper with serious concerns moving forward.

2022 was a disappointing season for the Suns.

The post 3 NBA Playoff Teams Who Should Be Most Disappointed In 2022 appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Jackie Bradley Jr. to make first start with Blue Jays vs. Guardians on Friday

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Jackie Bradley Jr. will make his first Toronto Blue Jays start on Friday night as the team hosts the Cleveland Guardians. He will play in centre field and bat ninth.

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Bradley Jr. signed with the Blue Jays on Tuesday after being released by the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 4.

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The 32-year-old Bradley Jr. is a .228 hitter with 107 homers and 434 RBIs in 1,098 major-league games. He was the MVP of the 2018 AL Championship Series and won the AL Gold Glove in centre that same year.

Watch the Blue Jays take on the Guardians on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW starting at 7 p.m. EST.

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The Orioles Are Reportedly Calling Up Another Top Prospect

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(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

 

Despite trading slugger Trey Mancini and All-Star closer Jorge Lopez at the deadline, the Baltimore Orioles keep winning games and are in contention for a spot in the postseason.

They are currently 58-53, fourth in the AL East division and just half-a-game behind the Tampa Bay Rays.

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It’s an incredible organizational turnaround, considering that Baltimore had an awful 52-110 record in 2021.

Recognizing that they do have a strong chance of making the playoffs against all odds, the Orioles are making a win-now move, a refreshing development considering they traded the aforementioned stars.

“Source: DL Hall is joining #orioles in St. Petersburg,” MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko reported via Twitter.

The world is about to see what the Orioles are made of: they are playing a three-game series against the Rays, starting on Friday.

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Austin Voth will start tonight’s game for Baltimore, and will face off against veteran right-hander Corey Kluber.

The Orioles have been able to bring in, nurture, and develop many young players this year, most notably position players and relievers.

 

Baltimore Needs Rotation Help, And Hall Can Provide It

Their starting rotation, however, remains a work in progress.

That’s where a guy like DL Hall can help.

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He is one of MLB’s best pitching prospects.

He has some issues with his control, but the quality of his stuff is unquestionable.

So far, the left-hander has a 4.52 ERA and 126/45 K/BB ratio over 77 2/3 innings while covering three levels this season.

He has 114 strikeouts in 70 Triple-A innings, though, so the potential in that area is tantalizing.

Hall has a chance to be a special pitcher, as long as he can keep the walks under control (no pun intended).

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If he pitches well, the O’s will have another quality starter to fuel their playoff run.

The post The Orioles Are Reportedly Calling Up Another Top Prospect appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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The Yankees Are Dominating With Defense From 2 Key Spots

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Defense is always a major key to the success of a baseball team.

One of the reasons the New York Yankees have been so dominant for most of the season is the fact that their defense is among the best in all of baseball.

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But from two particular spots, the defense has been elite for the Yankees.

The Yankees have 70 defensive runs saved, with 29 of them coming from the pitcher and catcher positions.

Jose Trevino‘s pitch framing skills have certainly helped, but Yankees pitchers are also second in all of baseball in defensive assists.

SIS Baseball tweeted some of the stats that show why the Yankees have been so dominant on defense.

 

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What Makes The Yankees Great

Sometimes, just one guy can be the key to the defensive success of a team.

Other times, it can be a combination of guys.

For the Yankees, it’s clear that their defense is a well-oiled machine and is one of the main reasons they have been so dominant for much of the season.

Pitchers fielding their position is also an important aspect of a great defensive team.

The club clearly has pitchers who can field their positions very well.

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But as mentioned previously, Trevino has emerged as a solid defensive catcher.

The Yankees do also lead all of baseball in caught stealing percentage.

That’s always a sign of a good defensive catcher.

It goes even beyond his pitch framing skills.

But all of that stands to reason why the Yankees have been so successful defensively this season.

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Defense is always key for great teams, and it has been ever prevalent with the Yankees during the 2022 season.

As the old saying goes, offense wins games, defense wins championships.

The post The Yankees Are Dominating With Defense From 2 Key Spots appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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