Was there anything surprising about how the Conference Semi-Finals actually went?
All season long it’s always been four teams who everyone could imagine to be in the Conference Finals. And here we are looking at those teams.
If you’ve been following along since NBA Playoff Predictions, you would have seen that I predicted each round of the playoffs as the standings stood at the all-star break.
Even though I picked Oklahoma City Thunder to beat the Golden State Warriors, it didn’t happen, nor would it have happened.
Both the Houston Rockets and Warriors have been the top teams in the league all season long.
Rockets eliminated the Utah Jazz in five games behind the 41 point performance by Chris Paul. Paul become the first player in NBA history to score 40 + points, 10 + assists, and no turnovers.
That’s what it takes for Paul to make it to the Conference Finals for the first time in his career. He’s also proving that he may not be a fraud like I claimed he was after joining the Rockets. Read it here.
The Warriors are back to full health with the return of Steph Curry and they will not slow down. They are the defending champions and they don’t look like they are ready to stop winning yet.
Speaking of stop winning, the Eastern Conference has turned into the LeBron James feast.
After battling through a tough seven game series in round one vs. the Indiana Pacers, James turned his team around and put a whooping on the Toronto Raptors and took a sweep. This is the third straight year James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have eliminated Toronto.
This was the worst of all for Toronto as they were the no. 1 seed in the East, but LeBron is the King and he’s not ready to give up his throne yet.
Maybe Boston could be the team to beat LeBron, but without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward that may be tougher than the last matchups, the Celtics have faced in the playoffs.
Now it’s on to my predictions of the Conference Finals. If you’ve been keeping up with my articles, you would’ve seen that I did not have the Celtics getting past the Philadelphia 76ers, but they did. I also didn’t have LeBron embarrassing the Raptors the way he did.
But that sets us up for a rematch of last years Eastern Conference Finals.
2. Boston Celtics vs. 4. Cleveland Cavaliers
Historically, Boston has had more success when it comes to most overall wins and NBA Championships. They are currently at 17 and have been searching for No. 18, but LeBron has been in the Celtics way of finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Just like Toronto, Boston has been eliminated by LeBron James’ Cavaliers in each of the past two seasons.
James will not stop until he gets what he wants. We already know what that is…. The Larry O’Brien Trophy for the fourth time.
In order for him to get that, he’ll have to get past Al Horford, Terry Rozier III and the Boston Celtics. We could expect that to happen especially with James’ former teammate, Kyrie Irving, not in the Celtics lineup.
Of course, it’s going to take more than just LeBron to win a series, so let’s look for J.R. Smith and Kevin Love to continue their performances.
1.Houston Rockets vs. 2. Golden State Warriors
Winner: Houston in 7
Let’s make things interesting a bit. We have the best team in the NBA this season versus the best team in the NBA over the last four seasons. As much as everyone wants to see the Warriors win another title, it’s time for a change.
In order for the Rockets to win, they will need everyone to have the best seven games of their careers.
The biggest impact player for the Rockets will be center Clint Capela. Although Houston won both the previous rounds in five games, Capela was able to keep Minnesota’s Karl Anthony Towns and Utah’s Rudy Gobert under control so they couldn’t really get anything going.
The Warriors don’t have an offensive threat at the Center position, but if they plan to use Andre Iguodala in the starting lineup that would force Capela to be defending Draymond Green most of the series.
It’s really tough to pick a winner between these two because we know what each team is capable of.
Houston’s Trevor Ariza will also be playing a big role on the defensive side to slow down Warriors’ Kevin Durant.
But all eyes will be on the guard matchup. You have the beard and CP3 versus the Splash brothers. Who will get the upper hand in this series. Chris Paul and James Harden have never made it this far in the playoffs before, so they may just seem to be more hungrier for it this year.
Also, stay tuned for another playoff prediction for the NBA finals in a few weeks as we find out the results.