After last season’s NBA playoffs, most were starting to see that there was a lack of parody in the NBA. Now, just one season advanced from then, and it couldn’t be more of the opposite. There has been a plethora of good matchups for the NBA appetite this time around, complete with surprises that no one could have predicted.
This set of conference finals matchups could be one of the most anticipated conference finals the NBA has seen in a long time. There’s even been a lot of talk about how the Western conference matchup between the Warriors and the Rockets are the real NBA finals this season, as everyone is interested in seeing if the defending champions can be tamed.
Discrediting the man on the other side, LeBron James looks to advance from this round for the 9th time in his career as he and the Cavaliers take on the Brad Stevens-led Celtics.
Golden State Warriors Vs. Houston Rockets
Is there a more anticipated matchup than this one? Since Kevin Durant had moved to Golden state, the Warriors have been virtually impossible to beat in a 7 game series. It is not hard to see that this Rockets team was built solely to try and beat the Warriors. We’ve seen teams attempt to out defend them and we’ve seen teams try to out score them, but we haven’t seen a team successfully execute both against them over the course of a series. The Houston Rockets are the first team attempting to knock off the defending champion that at its best, could match the competitiveness on both sides of the floor against this historic team.
Chris Paul, James harden and Clint Capela have only lost a handful of games while on the court at the same time this season. They’ve achieved the NBA’s best regular season record and will go into the series with a much needed home court advantage. The Rockets have the fire power to compete with the juggernaut offense of Golden state, and when their offense is clicking their defense seems to take itself to another level with it.
Coach Mike D’Antoni will tell you that this team is different from all the other teams he’s ever coached. That this team is more than one dimensional and can win ball games in many different ways than just the three point shot. This will be the ultimate test to D’Antoni’s system put in place for this Houston team. I’m curious to see how the Rockets handle themselves if the ball isn’t going through the hoop early.
Prediction: If Kevin Durant wasn’t on this team I would say that the Rockets have a fighter’s chance at taking this series. Durant is the other dimension every coach wishes they had in their arsenal to deploy. The Rockets have a team full of good defenders but none that I believe can cancel out Durant’s effectiveness. Even if the Warriors team isn’t hitting their outside shots, they will always have Kevin Durant to go to, to rise up over any defender and shoot that mid range shot he loves. This series is going to be a lot of fun to watch, but I think Warriors are still able to advance without much threat. Until Golden states proves that they can be beaten or bothered in a seven game series with Durant then I won’t be picking against them.
Golden State Warriors in 5.
Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Boston Celtics
While all eyes are on the Western Conference Finals, there is a matchup of equal excitement on the other side. LeBron James has been on a great playoff run so far; coming close to elimination in the first round against the Pacers, followed by a sweep against the number one seeded Toronto Raptors. Both series included spectacular game winning shots by James.
The supporting cast for the Cavs have been scrutinized all playoffs, with the narrative being that LeBron needs more help. In the Toronto series, however, they showed up to play and gave hope to James and all Cavaliers fans that they could give the 3 time NBA champion the support he needs to take them all the way again.
Not so fast, is what Brad Stevens would say if we caught him off the record. What Stevens has been able to do with this youngy oung,i riddled and young team is just as or even more impressive than what LeBron James has done this post season. They have made there way to consecutive Eastern Conference Finals all without their two all stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
If Brad Stevens isn’t the definition of Coach of the Year then I don’t know what is. There have been reports out saying that Brad Stevens has been picking Kyrie Irving’s brain as much as he can on Irving’s time with Cleveland and LeBron James trying to gain any advantage that he can to try and stop or at least irritate the opposing side this series.
Prediction: Stevens and Boston will still have there hands full despite any insight. LeBron James has recorded more playoff minutes and experience than the entire active Boston roster combined. This isn’t an unfamiliar place for the Cavs as they routed the Celtics last year in the Eastern Conference Finals in five games. Although rosters and situations are different this time around, James will look to lead his team to the same outcome but I am betting that its not going to come as easy as it did last time.
Cleveland Cavaliers in 7.
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