Two of the greatest offensive forces in NBA history on one side, and the looming King on the other. One can only hope for a good series from both sides but let’s dive into whether or not the NBA has become too repetitive, or if a passing of the torch can occur.
Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Brad Stevens continues to be the best coach in the NBA (even though he got zero votes for coach of the year, but that’s for another article), and LeBron continues to, well, be LeBron. This series leaves the audience wondering the “what-if” Kyrie wasn’t hurt and how much more interesting this series could be. For now, we’ll have to break down and settle for Brad Stevens vs. The King (part deux).
How’d Boston do?
“Scary” Terry Rozier let the 76ers know what the Celtics came to do with 29 points in game one and led the Celtics with 17 3-pointers made in the whole series. Jason Tatum remains the last star-rookie standing after Simmons crumbled in the series and Mitchell got handled by the Rockets. Brad Stevens continues to overachieve with this depleted Celtics roster that seems to rotate which star steps up every night, and will continue to be the scrappiest team in the postseason.
How’d Cleveland do?
Dwane Casey joins a growing list of NBA coaches fired immediately following a playoff series loss to LeBron. The Cavs were firing on all cylinders with Kevin Love playing at a high-level grabbing boards, and putting up over 30 points in one game. Other players such as Korver and J.R. played efficiently shooting .560 and .769 from deep respectively. Even with other players still stepping up, this series was about LeBron. From the buzzer beaters, to his now seemingly unstoppable fadeaway, the Raptors had no answers for The King as they were the only team to be completely swept in this round (REMINDER: THEY WERE A NO. 1 SEED).
If you’re still upset that this Celtics team doesn’t have Irving or Hayward, don’t worry you’re not alone. However, this series should still be interesting with the Celtics’ youth providing an electric highlight reel from “Scary” Terry popping threes, and Jason Tatum throwing it down, we won’t be short of close games with Stevens at the helm. However, betting against LeBron hasn’t worked in a really long time, and he’s been playing out of his mind more than ever this year. Looks like a repeat of last year with the Cavs taking care of business.
Winner: Cleveland Cavaliers
Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors
The series we’ve been waiting for all year with the best teams in the league facing off with plenty on the line. The acquisition of CP3 will go down as a success for the Rockets with a playoff series win over the overpowered Warriors. Is this the beginning of the end of the Warriors’ dynasty?
How’d Houston do?
This feels like a different Mike D’Antoni led team. One that can adjust. Joe Ingles scored 27, and Mitchell having a 17 and 11 to Ingles scoring 6, and Mitchell scoring 6. Capela started shutting down Gobert and dominated the paint down the stretch. The only game the Rockets lost was by 8, and then won by 21. The Rockets have shown good defense when they need to tighten down, and have shown they don’t need the 3-pointer to fall to win. It just makes them that much more lethal.
How’d Golden State do?
The Warriors with, or without Steph were leagues better than the Pelicans were. Draymond Green shined in the series in all facets of the game especially considering he was tasked with matching up on MVP candidate Anthony Davis. The Warriors are coming back to full strength at just the right time. The Pelicans weren’t necessarily a bad team either and were handled in all games but one.
The Rockets took the regular season series 2-1 against the Dubs including a thriller in October. However, this is the postseason. The Warriors just unleashed the “Hamptons 5” lineup for the first time all year and are willing to play whatever they need to do to win. James Harden isn’t looking to stop here and neither is CP3. The Rockets may be the hungriest team in basketball, but this seems like a series that D’Antoni has the reputation of losing… Steve Kerr outcoaching D’Antoni is the difference in this chance for the Finals.
Winner: Golden State Warriors