The National Basketball Association Conference Finals are underway and basketball fans are approximately one week away from the NBA Finals. The Eastern conference has the Boston Celtics facing the Cleveland Cavaliers for the right to represent the East and attempt to win the NBA championship. In the Western conference, the Houston Rockets are battling the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Just three weeks ago when the NBA playoffs started, it appeared reasonable to believe that the LeBron James-led Cavs, were on a collision course with the Warriors for a 4th straight season. Then LBJ and Co. struggled in the first round, but were able to advance to and coast through the second round. Enter the young Celtics. Considering the talent they have soldiered through the postseason without (Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are injured), Boston has been impressive in both rounds, earning their stripes against an equally young and hungry Philadelphia 76ers team in round two. Confirming their arrival, the aggressive Celtics have taken a commanding 2-0 lead over the Cavs and are poised to complete the series in 5 games or less. And this is where the story begins…
While the Warriors and Rockets are currently tied at 1 game apiece, their series can still go either way. For the NBA as a league and basketball fans alike, a Boston vs Houston NBA final would be the best outcome. The opportunity to market new faces and different teams would be greatly beneficial to the league and by default, the players whose faces will be plastered everywhere during the series. Save a couple of players from the old guard, Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza, most of the players from both teams are up and comers, still making a name for themselves. One might even include James Harden in the up and coming category as his star is still rising.
Fans will be treated to a very uptempo, high-flying series in which youth will collide head on and the last men standing will hoist the O’Brien trophy right around Father’s Day. This series would have the potential to go seven games and provide the type of suspense and entertainment that was missing from last year’s uneventful coronation of Kevin Durant as the next King of the NBA.
The Celtics boast a young and hungry roster of boy dawgs who have not shown a sliver of intimidation in the face of LeBron James. Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Jason Tatum, and Terry Rozier have proven that despite inexperience, a driven team can defeat the mighty. After coasting to victory in game one, the Celtics used an impressive second half in game to take a commanding series lead. All signs point to a short series wrap-up and a trip to the NBA finals.
In the West, the Rockets are facing what appears to be a much bigger challenge in the Warriors. But after a forgettable game one to open the series, Houston licked their wounds and came out guns blazing in game two. Falling by 13 at home clearly sparked a 22 point fit of payback in the well balanced Rockets core of players. Harden, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker all produced 20+ points, while the Rockets managed to place 5 players in double figures. This team looks poised to be very dangerous for the rest of the series.
The greatest payoff of the 2018 postseason would be a Boston vs. Houston NBA Finals!