NBA Conference Finals Re-cap
Shaping up to be one of the most exciting NBA playoffs in history, the Conference finals once again did not disappoint.
In the East, we saw the Miami Heat facing the Boston Celtics. Miami, the 5th seed in this years playoffs, come into this series HOT, having only lost 1 game all playoffs after facing a strong Indiana Pacers team and plowing through the NBA’s regular season leaders the Milwaukee Bucks. Whilst the Celtics, the 3rd seed in the East, have just come out of a tough fought 7 game battle with the Toronto Raptors, where their young guns in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart were able to will their team past the reigning champions to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
From the start, this series was going to be a battle of two gritty teams. Both excellent of defense systems and unpredictable on offence, their teams match up very, very well. Game 1 saw the Celtics start hot, but a massive 2nd quarter where the Heat outscored the Celtics 37-29 brought them back and we had a ball game. After 4 quarters, scores were tied, and we were going to overtime. In OT, a 35-year old Goran Dragic and the Heat proved too good for the Celtics, winning 117-114.
Game 2 saw a similar narrative. The Celtics started hot, but a 37-17 3rd quarter assisted the Heat to a 5-point win with solid contribution from Heats youngsters Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson.
In game 3, the Celtics were able to flip the switch, starting hot and not slowing down. Winning all quarters except the 4th, they ended up winning game 3 to bring the series score to 2-1 with a comeback on the way. Although, a 20-year-old rookie by the name of Tyler Herro had plans to interrupt the Celtics run, and game 4 became his coming out party. In 35 minutes, Herro shot a ridiculous 66.7% from the field en route to scoring a career high 37 points, leading the Heat past a trying Boston to extend their series lead to 3-1.
But, once again, the Celtics were not backing down. Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown lead the game with 31 points and 28 points respectively, gritting their way back into the series winning this one 121-108.
With the series in the balance, both teams were determined to come out and put on a show in game 6. The Heat came out all guns blazing, but there were no signs of slack from the Celtics, finishing the first quarter 27-33. The game went back and forth all 4 quarters, and at the beginning of the 4th with scores tied, the Celtics had a breakaway and looked like they were going to push a game 7. But, Jimmy Butler and veteran Andre Iguodala had other plans, effecting the game on both ends of the floor with a series of steals and big 3’s to will the Heat past the Celtics, winning 125-113 and advancing the Heat to their first NBA Finals since 2014, and becoming 1 of 4 5th seeds or lower to make the finals in NBA history.
In the West, we saw the heavy weight LA Lakers taking on a young and gritty Denver Nuggets who had just taken down the Lakers crosstown rivals in 7 games. The Lakers, who had already breezed through the first 2 rounds of the playoffs only losing 2 games so far, looked to fight through the Nuggets defense and attend their first NBA Finals in 10 years. Whilst the Nuggets looked to continue their impressive run against quality teams and push the Lakers to their limits and reach their first NBA Finals in franchise history.
Game 1 of this series saw Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic star for the Nuggets, both producing 21 points apiece. Although, it was not enough to stop the force that is LeBron James and Anthony Davis. LeBron, whilst only posting 15 points, put up 12 assists, helping Anthony Davis star in this game as he put up a staggering 37 points, pushing the Lakers to take game 1 126-114.
Game 2 saw a similar narrative the same as the eastern conference series, where the Nuggets had Murray put up 25 points and Jokic 30, although it again wasn’t enough to stop the brilliance of LeBron and Davis. LeBron produced 26 points and 11 rebounds, whilst AD had 31 points and 9 rebounds all on top of his fade away 3-point buzzer beater to win the game 105-103.
Game 3 saw the Nuggets how we had seen them all series. The comeback kings had 3 players above 20 points and surged past the Lakers 114-106 despite gallant efforts from LeBron and AD.
Game 4 saw another huge effort from LeBron James, having 26 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists as the Lakers again pushed past the Nuggets 114-108, taking a 3-1 lead, that doesn’t seem so commanding. With the Nuggets coming back from deficits exactly like this in both of their prior series these playoffs, the Lakers knew their series win was not in the bag and that the Nuggets were going to come out blazing.
Game 5 saw one of LeBron James’ most dominant performances ever. 38 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists. This lead the Lakers past the Nuggets with no worries, taking out the Nuggets in 5 games, sending James to his 10th NBA Finals appearance.
The NBA Finals is set. The Heat vs the Lakers…
What a series we are in for.