NBA Conference Finals Preview
The NBA Conference Finals begin Sunday, May 13 with game 1 for the East taking place in Boston followed by game 1 in the West taking place Monday, May 14 in Houston.This year the Houston Rockets and the Golden-State Warriors will face off in the West in a best-of-five series, and the same will be done for the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers in the East. The two teams will then move on to face each other in the NBA Finals, battling for the title of NBA champions.
So far this year the Celtics from the Eastern Conference have battled through the playoffs lead by rookie small forward, Jayson Tatum, and backup point guard Terry Rozier. Both have averaged 18+ points this post season and have lead this young, athletic team forward, despite star point guard Kyrie Irving being out with a knee injury. The Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round (4-3), with the help of Tatum who averaged 15+ a game and 2nd year Jaylen Brown who averaged 17+ points per game. They continued on, beating the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round (4-1), knocking off all-star Joel Embiid and possible rookie of the year, Ben Simmons. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers also from the Eastern Conference have made their own way to the conference finals lead behind the one and only King, Lebron James, who has not disappointed during the playoffs. James averaged 34.3 points per game and put up two 40+ point games in the first round v.s. The Pacers. The Cavaliers squeezed past the Pacers beating them (4-3) with some tight games, but Indiana was not able to contain Lebron. They continued on, beating the Toronto Raptors (4-0) in round 2 and declaring the first sweep in the playoffs, thus far.
Meanwhile the leaders of the West have been rolling through the past 2 rounds as expected, lead behind point guard Stephen Curry and small forward Kevin Durant. The Warriors beat the San Antonio Spurs in round one of the playoffs (4-1), even without Curry. Kevin Durant contributed with averages of 28.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 2.0 steals in the first round. Also, shooting guard Klay Thompson stepped up for the Warriors, averaging 22.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in addition to Durant’s numbers in round 1.They continued to impress, particularly with Curry back in round 2, where they beat the New Orleans Pelicans (4-1). However, they will face off against the Houston Rockets’ new dynamic duo, Chris Paul and James Harden. The Rockets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves (4-1) in the first round, and Utah Jazz (4-1) in the second. The Rockets were lead by James Harden who started off on fire with a 44 point game in round 1 v.s. The T-wolves. He continued to be a consistent offensive threat averaging 29 points in the first series, and 28 in the second. Harden was assisted by Chris Paul, who made his official debut past the first round of playoffs this year. Paul averaged 19.0 points, 6.6 assists, and 2.0 steals in the first round, while averaging 24.6 points, 6.2 assists, and 2.2 steals in the second round.