Historically, the NBA playoffs have been nothing short of exciting, and this year is no different. It is yet another series of superstar performances, deep triples, poster dunks, and beautiful emotion. The NBA playoffs bring out the purest form of basketball seen all season. As the finals rage on, consider each team’s journey to the finals. The Golden State Warriors, the team of the West coast, look to take home their fourth championship title in eight years. The Boston Celtics, representing the East coast, the NBA’s original dynasty, look to take home their eighteenth NBA title, tying them with the Lakers for most titles in the NBA.
While the Warriors are finally back in the finals, it wasn’t without a hard fight. In round one, the Warriors took on the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets, which hold the MVP in Nikola Jokic, were riddled with injuries, and so the Warriors got the gentlemen sweep, winning four consecutive games out of five. Jordan Poole was a standout player, exceeding expectations in his first playoff series ever. The Dallas Mavericks took on the Utah Jazz, and crushed their will, winning in six games. Luka Doncic, like always, was the standout in that series. The Phoenix Suns, former Western Conference Champions, took on the New Orleans Pelicans, who were fresh out of the Play-In Tournament. They did better than most expected, but were no match for the one-seed, as the Suns won in six. Lastly, the Memphis Grizzlies took on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves had some big leads, but were not able to close them out, giving the Grizzlies a series win in six. In the second round, the Mavericks took on the top-seeded Suns. Most expected the Suns to win this series, and when the Suns went up two to nothing, everyone thought the series was over. But the Mavericks proved that it is never over when you have Luka Doncic on your team, as the Mavericks rallied to a Game 7, and then crushed the Suns at their own court in the finale, allowing the Mavericks to move to the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors took on the Grizzlies in an ugly and gritty series. Each team fought with resilience. In the end, as Ja Morant suffered an injury late in game 3, the Warriors were able to close it out at home in 6. The Mavericks faced the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. While the Mavericks were able to handle the Suns, they were no match for the Warriors. The Warriors once again got the gentlemen sweep, winning in 5. The Warriors were on to the Finals.
The East was as intense, if not more, than the West. In round one, the one-seed Miami Heat took on the Atlanta Hawks, a Play-In team. Trae Young of the Hawks could not replicate the postseason success that he had seen the year prior as the Heat won in 5. The Boston Celtics took on the Brooklyn Nets. What was thought to be an intense and close series was the farthest thing from it, with the Celtics sweeping. This is actually the only sweep of the entire playoffs this year. The Milwaukee Bucks took on the Chicago Bulls. The former champions went on to beat the Bulls in 5. The Philadelphia 76ers took on the Toronto Raptors, and while the Raptors had their will, the 76ers took care of business and won in 6. Onto the second round, starting off with the Miami Heat taking on the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers were without their star player Joel Embiid for the first two games, giving Miami a two-nothing lead. The Sixers could not rally back upon Embiid’s return, as the Heat won in 6. The Bucks and Celtics had a tense series. Back and forth, both teams split evenly in the first 6 games, leading to a game 7. The reigning champs could not rally harder than the Celtics, as the Celtics beat the Bucks in 7. The Eastern Conference Finals was yet another close and gritty series, as the Heat and Celtics both matched up well against each other. A couple of injuries to key players on both sides and some outstanding performances from Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler led this series to 7. Game 7 went down to the wire, and a missed Jimmy Butler three sealed the Heat’s fate. The Celtics won in 7, and moved on to the Finals.
At the time of writing this, the Finals are tied one-one. The Celtics stole Game 1 on the road, in a tremendous fourth quarter comeback. The Warriors then rallied back, blowing them out in Game 2. It’s going to be a close series, and it’s anyone’s championship. Will the Warriors continue the dynasty, or will the Celtics bring glory back to Boston? Who will hold the Larry O’Brien trophy in the NBA’s 75th season? We will find out in the coming weeks.