NBA FINALS: Preview and Predictions
NBA FINALS: Preview and Predictions
Written by: Andrew Felton
Finally, we have our NBA finalists, starting with the Eastern Conference champions the Boston Celtics. The Celtics are one of the most decorative teams in basketball history and wouldn't it be poetic if they won their 18th championship, whilst the NBA was celebrating their 75th anniversary. They won't have an easy game going up against one of the best teams in recent history, the Golden State Warriors, led by Steve Kerr, looking for their fourth title in 7 years.
The Boston Celtics have not had an easy run to these finals with two of the series going the distance. Their road to the final started against the failed 'superteam' the Brooklyn Nets. Winning this series 4-0, the Celtics swept the Nets in what looked to be an easy match up. Jayson Tatum was the star of the show contributing 29.5 PPG and 7.3 APG, with Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart backing him up providing solid points and assists. After dispatching the Nets, the Celtics took on last year's champions the Milwaukee Bucks. Again, Boston's three main threats dominated for them with Tatum providing 27.6 PPG, seeing off a resilience Giannis who tried to ruin their chances with an average of 33.9 PPG. However, back-to-back was not meant to be and on the Celtics went. After beating the Bucks, we witnessed another outstanding battle with the Miami Heat, who many thought would be back on top, but after a 7-game thriller, the Celtics managed to prevail and book their spot in the finals. Once again Tatum led the way with 25 PPG and won himself the very first Larry Bird Eastern Conference MVP award. Jaylen Brown also stepped up in this series averaging 24.1 PPG, which was needed against a side who saw Jimmy Butler have 35- and 47-point games. However, it was the lack of scoring for the Heat in the games they lost, which caused them to miss out on these finals.
The Golden State Warriors made their route to the final look a little easier than Boston, with no series going more that 6 games. In round one they took on the sixth seed, the Denver Nuggets, who had recently crowned MVP Nikola Jokic, who was looking to push the Nuggets to the finals. It was not to be for Denver, as the Warriors won the series 4-1 with Steph Curry average 28 PPG, Klay Thompson returning this season and showing what they have missed averaging 22.6 PPG and Jordan Poole who in only his third season in the NBA, started off very impressive in these playoff series. The Conference Semifinals saw the Warriors beat the Grizzlies in what was a series where Ja Morant tried his very best to dethrone Steve Kerr's Warrior's, averaging 38.3 PPG and 8.3 APG, really making a name for himself, in the postseason. It was once again the Warriors super star three who stepped up to help win this series 4-2, along with contributions from Andrew Wiggins. Onto the conference finals where the Warriors took on the Dallas Mavericks and superstar Luka Doncic. Again, the Warriors made this series a short one winning 4-1, with Steph Curry leading the way. Doncic tried his best to carry the Mavs with 32 PPG, 9.2 RPG and 6.2 APG, but he could not stop the Warriors impressive offense and will surely come back stronger next year.
This therefore, leaves an NBA finals contest between the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors. With many tipping towards the way of the Boston Celtics, with talks of a new 'Big Three', Tatum, Brown and Smart, they really do have ability to lead them to their 18th championship. However, with the splash brothers back together, Steph and Klay will be looking to dominate from beyond the arc and not let this series go to a game seven. Predictions for this series are...
Celtics to win in 6.
Jayson Tatum Finals MVP.