The NBA has blessed us with two great conference finals matchups. The storyline in the East is “Will Lebron finally be dethroned and miss his first finals in 7 straight seasons?” In the West, the storyline is “Are the Rockets the real deal and actually competitive with the Warriors?” Both series are currently 2 games deep. While some may be surprised with the Western results, everybody is shocked with what’s happening in the East. The Celtics without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are up 2-0 on King James and the Cavs. Kyrie versus Lebron would have been the best storyline possible, but I don’t mind seeing this young Celtics squad beat up on Lebron. This Warriors team is supposed to be the best team in NBA history, yet they don’t even have a lead in their series.
Who Deserves more Credit/Blame for Where They’re at?
While the Warriors are nowhere near needing to be concerned, after game 1 people expected them to sweep Houston. Game 1 showed the Warriors handle the Rockets easily in Houston. People accused the Rockets of playing too much isolation in game 1, and boy did they adjust. The ball was moving, and they had perimeter shooters knocking down buckets all day long. PJ Tucker hit 5 threes and Gordon hit 6 threes. The Warriors really had no chance in game 2 from the jump.
The Celtics currently hold a 2-0 lead on the Cavs. Game 1 was never close, and the Celtics murdered Cleveland 108-83. Game 2 was a bit different but showed the Celtics resilience. The Cavs at one point led by 11 points in the first half. Lebron was the animal we all expected he would be, and it didn’t matter. The dude got a 40-point triple double and still lost. I’d be in such shock if he stayed with that shitty team in Cleveland. Nonetheless, nobody picked Boston to get this commanding lead on the series. They’ve gotten this lead with incredibly aggressive defense and utilizing mismatches to score. The Celtics deserve all the credit for being where they are.
Are the Warriors in Real Trouble?
The Warriors split the first 2 games of the series on the road. They shouldn’t be in any real trouble. The trouble comes if they get beaten badly in game 3 at Oracle Arena. If the Rockets win game 3 it’ll give them a shit ton of confidence that may just be enough to give the Warriors an early summer. My prediction is that the Warriors will take both games at home here. They have an outrageously loud arena that should give their guys enough to win. I’m expecting the Warriors to wrap up this series in either 5 or 6 games. I’d say 5, but I could see the Houston crowd giving them enough of a boost to snag game 5.
Will the Celtics be in the Finals?
I’m a diehard Celtics fan, so I really fucking hope so. But I’m also stubborn as hell and picked the Cavs to win in 6. I’m gonna have to stick to that prediction until it’s not possible anymore. The Celtics won the first two games of the series at home like they were supposed to do. The real challenge is beating Lebron in Cleveland. This Celtics team is for sure more talented than Cleveland, but man, Lebron’s just the best there is at doing what he does. Boston matches up way better with Golden State or Houston as well. They’d actually be able to defend the perimeter and make for some close games. If the Cavs make the finals and don’t get swept, the NBA is rigged.
The NBA Finals
If it was up to me, we’d see Boston taking on Houston in the NBA Finals. My favorite team versus my favorite player in James Harden. And we’re all sick of Houston and Golden State taking each other on. NBA Gods, I’m just asking for at least one new team in the finals. Please. The Celtics have the best chance of changing up the finals a bit, but don’t sleep on Houston either. This final 4 of the NBA offers some great matchups, and we just need to enjoy them while we can. It seems like the champion this season will be coming out of the West. Without question though, in the next year or two the balance of power will have shifted to the East.
-Brandon Black (Follow @bhblack02)