Brought to you by: Big Shucks
By Joel Montgomery
The NBA Playoffs has finally narrowed down to its final four competitors. In the West, the top two powerhouses expected to come out of the smoke did so with relative ease, as Houston and Golden State prepare for the battle we’ve been waiting all season to watch unfold. And in the East, the Celtics who continue to surprise everyone look to try and slow down LeBron James and the Cavaliers, who finally look locked and loaded after coming off a complete steamrolling of the Raptors.
Western Conference Finals – (1) Houston Rockets vs (2) Golden State Warriors
The matchup that both of these organizations have been looking forward to all year has at last arrived. With Houston touting it’s newly-shaped offensive super weapon of a scheme as the “Warrior buster” fans of league parity have been longing for since Kevin Durant’s infamous move two years prior, the Rockets look to finally put their money where their mouth is as both James Harden and Chris Paul would love nothing more than to silence the critics and take out the team on top en route to the long awaited championship win. While the Rockets have proven all season that their offense is nothing to trifle with, Golden State, as usual, did the same, but on both sides of the ball. This is where their advantage lies; as their elite defense, incredible passing and teamwork philosophy that would impress even Gregg Popovich in his best years, and the fact that they have four top 20 players, is just something this league has yet to be able to stop. Even though Houston has had this goal and expectation to win this inevitable clash for the conference crown throughout the season, they’re facing a team that, still, is built unlike anything we’ve seen in the history of this league, and has yet to be stopped. Series Winner Prediction: Warriors
Eastern Conference Finals – (2) Boston Celtics vs (4) Cleveland Cavaliers
The Boston Celtics in their previous round matchup against the 76ers, proved that experience, composure and organization can always trounce inexperience and rashness. While not many had Boston winning this series, the injury-riddled team’s stellar home play and the outstanding job Brad Stevens has done for the team has led them their second straight Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavs. While the Celtics do come out of that impressive win against a young Sixers team feeling good, they’re running into a completely different beast come Sunday. LeBron James, in his 15th season, could (somehow) be playing his best basketball ever currently, and his lot of teammates are finally starting to get up to speed with the stakes and pace of postseason play. The team finally looks locked in with some definitive rotations, and the reawakenings of both Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love. While the Cavs do have much to worry about in the offseason regarding LeBron’s potential future, for now they can ride the course he’s setting, as he’s playing like he’s got nothing to lose and that should have Cavs fans excited for now. The Celtics have much to feel good about in an unexpectedly impressive season, and the future looks insanely bright. However at this current point, from the onset it looks like the road may very well stop here. Can the stellar coaching of Brad Stevens fare with a hungrier-than-ever James? Series Winner Prediction: Cavaliers
For both of these series, Game 1 will be extremely important in determining how the rest of the series will play out. Houston will need to prove they can compete with Golden State ASAP to keep their psyche at ease, and while many are expecting Cleveland to overwhelm an underhanded Boston team in the conference finals once more, the long-term consistency of play of LeBron’s supporting cast is still up to question, and if the Celtics can get an early series win with their homecourt advantage, they could prove some trouble. Both matchups will surely be exciting, so be sure not to miss a second of the best time of basketball season.
Series Start Dates
Boston vs Cleveland – Sunday, May 13
Golden State vs Houston – Monday, May 14