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Final 4: NBA Edition

Then there were four.

The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics will face off in the Eastern Conference Finals for the right to make the NBA Finals.
In the Western Conference Finals, the Golden State Warriors will face Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks for a spot in the NBA Finals.

Miami were first to advance to the Conference Finals, disposing of a Philadelphia 76ers team who really seem to be struggling for answers in the playoffs.
The facial injury to Joel Embiid didn’t help, but the lack of productivity from James Harden in the Game 6 elimination game is alarming for this team.
There really was no winner this season in the Harden for Simmons trade, although you could make an argument for Brooklyn given the addition of a shooter like Seth Curry in that deal.

Miami were led by the brilliance of Jimmy Butler, and he showed Philly fans how big of a mistake they made paying Tobias and Ben ahead of him.
Jimmy is averaging just shy of 29 points a game in the playoffs on 52.5% shooting, to go along with just over 7.5 rebounds and over 5 assists per game.
He will go a long way in deciding a winner in this next series and getting the Heat back to the NBA Finals for the first time since the NBA Bubble.

Boston joined Miami in the Conference Finals by beating the Bucks in a thrilling 7 game series.
Game 7 didn’t live up to the hype, as the Celtics put on a clinic in the last quarter to beat the Bucks and kick out last year’s champions.
No Khris Middleton didn’t help Milwaukee in this one, where a lack of a true shot creator hurt them in a series where they had more than enough chances to win.
Giannis was incredible this series to get the Bucks in a position to make it back to the Conference Finals, posting record numbers of 200+ points, 100+ rebounds and 50+ assists.
Boston had their backs to the wall multiple times in this series, coming back from a 3-2 deficit to win back to back elimination games.
Grant Williams was the unlikely hero in game 7, hitting 7 3s on his way to 27 points, but the series may well have been won on the back of the heroics of Jayson Tatum in game 6.
Tatum tallied 46 points and 9 rebounds in Milwaukee to force a Game 7 back in TD Garden, finishing just shy of 200 points of his own in the series win.

Eastern Conference Finals Series Prediction: Boston 4-2

Golden State are back in the Western Conference Finals, one season after being knocked out in the Play-In tournament at the hands of the team they just defeated in the 2nd round.
Golden State finished off a gallant Memphis Grizzlies team in 6 games, and had to survive a scare without the services of Ja Morant for the back half of the series.
Memphis could very well have won this series if not for a few mishaps of their own.
Ja Morant missed a lay-up at the buzzer to lose Game 1 by a point, as well as a late game collapse in Game 4 of the series to go down by 3.
They can definitely hold their heads high though, as with Morant back to full health next season (and another years playoff experience to this young team), a trip to the NBA Finals isn’t far away!
It was an interesting series for Golden State, given they had a blow-out 30 point win in game 3, yet backed that up with a 39 point loss (55 at one stage!) in game 5.
Game 6 Klay was in full effect for the Warriors, as he erupted for 30 points (8-14 from 3), just when this team needed it most from him.

Dallas pulled off the big shocker in the 2nd round, with Luka Doncic and the Mavs destroying the souls of every Suns fan in Phoenix in Game 7.
Dallas pulled off a 123-90 win in Game 7 of the series, and that score line somewhat flattered Phoenix.
Doncic was tied at the half with the Suns at 27 apiece, as a chorus of boos went around the arena.
Devin Booker and Chris Paul were complete non-factors in the series deciding game, and will leave a lot of Suns fans wondering if they’re just regular season bullies heading into next season.
The hamstring injury to Booker in the playoffs may have had something to do with his poor play, but Chris Paul’s inability to win Game 7s must be some cause for concern.
Take nothing away from the brilliance of Luka Doncic though, as he orchestrated one of the best Game 7 performances we’ve seen for some time, with all the damage done in the first half finishing with 35 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.
This team has what it takes to cause another upset in the Conference Finals!
Western Conference Finals Series Prediction: Dallas 4-2

We should be in for some exciting basketball over the next couple of weeks leading into the NBA Finals!

Bauky

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