LeBron James and LA Lakers are gone: the NBA is waiting for a new champion, and the road is wide open

In this NBA it is already clear: there will be a new champion. Many first champions. The second round of NBA playoffs begins Saturday night, and nowhere are the franchises winning nearly two-thirds of the titles awarded in league history. There are new faces, like a Phoenix team that is in the second round for the first time since 2010, Brooklyn for the first time since 2014, Atlanta for the first time since 2016. On top of that, if the NBA gets to its last eight teams, there will be no more than eight players – and possibly as few as five, depending on how the last remaining series in the first round between Dallas and the Los Angeles Clippers ends on Sunday. – who previously won a championship. So, for virtually everyone left in the playoffs, this is a whole new world. New teams. New faces. New stories. Finally, of course, there is a new winner and a whole bunch of guys getting their fingerprints on the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time. “I don’t think it matters in any way,” Philadelphia coach Phil Rivers said. He will be one of only two coaches in the second round to lead a team to a title, with Dallas Carl Rickle or the Clippers’ Tyronn Lue the other. “I think people like great NBA basketball and that’s what they want to see.” And that can be great. But it will definitely be different. This is only the third time in NBA history that the finalists of one season – in this case, the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat – were not one of the last eight teams to be in the playoffs next season. So far, five of the last eight teams in the restart of last season are ready for this season – the number will be six if the Clippers lose on Sunday. Of last year’s last four in the NBA, only Denver is the last eighth season again. “Our goal is much bigger,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. Among the teams, there is currently nowhere to be found: the franchises that have combined to win 36 of the last 37 NBA championships, with Dallas – the 2011 champion – the only exception there. Or we can say 47 of the last 49 titles. Or 68 of the 74 titles ever claimed. Defending champions Lakers went out in the first round and limped a six-game loss through Phoenix. The government’s reign as champion of the Eastern Conference ended with a sweeping battle against Milwaukee. “It’s drained,” said Lakers forward LeBron James. “Mentally, physically, mentally, emotionally exhausting. … Every team has to deal with it, of course, but with us and Miami, who go into the bubble for a long time and then come back at short notice this season, it’s very exhausting. ” James missed the playoffs in 2019 due to injury. Other than that, he has been in the NBA Finals since 2011. The run is over.

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Round 2 begins in Brooklyn, where the Nets host Milwaukee Saturday in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The second series for the Eastern Conference semifinals begins Sunday, with the fifth seeded Atlanta visiting No. 1 in Philadelphia. Outside, Utah, which is the best-seeded, will face the Clippers of Dallas by Tuesday, while second-seeded Phoenix tackles third-seeded Denver from Monday. Perhaps the absence of the usual suspects over the past two decades or so – no Lakers, no Celtics, no Warriors, no Bulls, no Spurs, no Heat – is surprising. But the way Round 1 went can also not be a big shock, as the number 1, no. 2 and no. 3-seed to both halves made the semifinals of the conference and no worse than a no. seed will fill the lands. While the new faces in the second round may be good for the league, those still playing are not exactly wasting time in a big picture. “I’m not even going to go there,” Falcons coach Nate McMillan said. “I’m not going to talk about what’s good for the league. My focus is on the Hawks and looking at Philadelphia. ” There are eight players in the playoffs that were part of a team’s winning trip to the NBA Finals: Danny Green of Philadelphia and JaVale McGee of Denver are three times champions, Kevin Durant and Clippers’ teammates Kawhi Leonard and Rajon Rondo of Brooklyn have each two lazy, while Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, the Clippers ‘Serge Ibaka and the 76ers’ Dwight Howard won the title. (Joe Harris of Brooklyn was part of the 2015-16 season at Cleveland, but was moved in that season and was not there for the Cavs title over Golden State.) Of course, no one left in this play-off match has won a ring with their current club. This all means that the road to the finals is wide open for the first time in years. And for someone, a breakthrough awaits. “We have the chance to do something special,” said Jazz Center Rudy Gobert. Green talked to teammates about how to win a ring, but his lessons are more often about the years in which his teams fall short _ and how to avoid those moments. “I think a lot of the world is amazed that the defending champion and Miami went out as early as they did,” Green said. “It’s happening. Injuries are happening. It’s a long season. … As a fan I love watching basketball, watching competitive basketball and rooting for my underdog. I love seeing certain teams “I’m not focused on or worried about any other team.”