The time has come for the best of NBA. Time for great definitions. the time of Conference Finalswhich will feature two teams that closed the regular phase with a sheet of candidates and two others that entered the playoff out the window and surprised in the early rounds of the postseason. This Tuesday the definition of the westthat he will have to face Denver nuggets with los angeles lakers. And Wednesday the Thisin which they will play Boston Celtics AND Miami Heat.
Jokic, penultimate obstacle in the Lakers dream
The impressive and unexpected resurrection of the Los Angeles Lakers faces its penultimate hurdle in the search for the ring in the Western Conference Finals: the Denver Nuggets of the Serbian genius Nikola Jokic.
He Ball arena Denver will host the first game of this final on Tuesday, which is a re-release of the one played in the 2020 ‘Bubble’, with a 4-1 victory for the Angelenos, who would go on to win the title.
The Nuggets, the best team in the West in the regular season, face the Lakers with the hope of making history. It’s that they’ve never won a ring. They haven’t even reached the Finals in their career in the most competitive basketball league in the world — they rack up 0-4 in conference definitions, and three of those losses have been to the Angels.
The main reason Coloradans believe this time could be different is Jokicdouble NBA MVP (2021 and 2022) and who in these playoffs is performing at an extraordinary level, bordering on the triple double: 30.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 9.7 assists per game on average.
The Serbian center was not only the beacon that guides the Nuggets’ entire offensive, but he also shone with his effectiveness (54.9 percent in field goals and 47.5 percent in triples) and left performances to remember , such as the 53 points in the fourth game of the semifinal series against Phoenix.
Next to Jokic, Jamal Murrayalready with his injuries in the past and giving very good sensations, he leads a compact and powerful list of squires in which they also appear Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. And at the helm appears Mike Mallonewho has already spent eight seasons as coach of a team with a very stable and solid project, which this season seems to have reached its right point of maturity.
Another cause for optimism in Denver? They have the home field factor in their favor, as they are undefeated at home in these playoffs and finished at home in the regular season with a 34-18 record.
Of course, in front of him he will have the Lakers who are expert climbers in climbing the most complicated peaks in the NBA. With 17 titles to its credit, the California franchise shares the league record with its legendary rival Boston. But hardly anyone had Lebron James, Anthony Davis and company fighting for a place in the Final, especially after the hair-raising 2-10 with which they started the season.
On that roller coaster, the departure of the controversial Russell Westbrookthe signatures of D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura OR Jarred Vanderbilt and the growth of austin reaves They have been fundamental in relaunching the Lakers who, after going through all kinds of misfortunes, have become an ultra-competitive team, very physical in defense and totally convinced of their potential.
It was not easy to reach this instance. They went 18-8 in the final stretch of the season, came back to Minnesota Timberwolves inside playthey surprised Memphis Grizzlies (second from west) and dethroned the current champions, the Golden State Warriors From Stephen Curry.
Although the entire team shone in the playoffs, the Lakers wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for the fabulous performance of their two stars: a gigantic Davis under the basket (21.2 points, 14.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks on average with an accuracy rate of 53%) and a LeBron who, at 38 years and twenty years in the elite, continues to defy time and accumulated 23 .4 points per game plus 10 rebounds and 5.3 assists.
The duel between Jokic and Davis could end up being one of the keys to this Western final matched in terms of previous ones: Lakers and Nuggets have shared (2-2) their four games this season, but have not crossed paths since January.
Tatum and Butler reenact a duel of the titans
Jason Tatumhead of the Celtics, e Jimmy Butlerthe heart of some surprising Heat, will resume a duel of the titans in the finals of the Eastern Conference from Wednesday, after the vibrant series of seven games played last year.
Boston and Miami, two of the most glorious cities in American basketball, will host a series between the second-seeded Celtics and the eighth-seeded Heat who have passed two rounds of play and they deleted Milwaukee Bucks Already New York Knicks on its way to this instance.
If the Greens have made it this far this season, much credit goes to Tatum, who made history Sunday with 51 points in game seven of the series against the Philadelphia 76ers. No one in NBA history had scored so many points in a seven-game playoff game. The St. Louis, Missouri-born striker improved on the milestone set just two weeks earlier by Stephen Curry and fueled the team’s in-ring dream joe mazzulla.
After the disappointment of the Finals loss in 2022 against the Warriors, Tatum has taken another step in his growth. He showed mental strength recovering from three lackluster quarters in game six and put the foot down to establish himself as one of the best players in Celtics history.
To last year’s stellar trio, Tatum, Jaylen Brown AND Mark Smartat the helm of the Dominican Al Horford and to the growth of Derrick Whitethe Celtics added this season to Malcolm Brogdonwho won the sixth man of the year award based on excellent performance.
Mazzulla’s team, which he replaced Ime Udoka At just 34, he had to come back from a 2-3 loss against the 76ers and is preparing for a new challenge against a Miami team that has lived a regular season away from the spotlight, but which has completely changed the game. chip as the pressure increases.
The Heat started the game with a loss at home to Atlanta and trailed by five points until midway through the fourth quarter against Chicago. They knew how to comeback and stay in the playoffs, where they overwhelmed Milwaukeethe best team in the regular season, with a 58-24 record.
With a Jimmy Butler Monumental, scoring 19 points in the final five minutes of Game 4 of that series (56 points total), the Floridas advanced with a sensational 4-1 run against the Bucks and then beat the Bucks 4-2. New York in the semifinals.
The striker born in Houston 33 years ago has confirmed himself as one of the best leaders in the NBA. Lead a superbly trained team from Erik Spölstrawhich has also been able to make up for the loss of a piece of great importance such as tyler herrowho broke his hand.
Hand in hand with Butler, with the pivot Bam Adebayo contributing his physical power in painting and supporting elements such as gabe vincenzo, Max Strus, Duncan Robinson AND Caleb Martinthe Heat managed to plant themselves in the finals of their conference for the third time in four years, after those of last year and those of 2020, won 4-2.
The Celtics, by tradition, talent and roster thickness, come out favorites in this series, in which they also have home field advantage, but Miami has shown that they have the character to give another surprise.
We saw it before last year, when the Celtics, also considered clear favorites, needed a heartbreaking victory in Miami in Game 7 to win 4-3 and reach the Finals.
The complete program of the Conference Finals
West: Denver Nuggets-Los Angeles Lakers
Race 1 – Tuesday May 16, 21:30 from Argentina, in Denver
Race 2 – Thursday May 18, 21:30 from Argentina, in Denver
Race 3 – Saturday May 20, 21:30 from Argentina, in Los Angeles
Race 4 – Monday May 22, 21:30 from Argentina, in Los Angeles
Race 5 – Wednesday May 24, 21:30 Argentina, Denver **
Race 6 – Friday May 26, 21:30 from Argentina, to Los Angeles **
Race 7 – Sunday May 28, 21:30 from Argentina, in Denver **
East: Boston Celtics-Miami Heat
Race 1 – Wednesday May 17, 21:30 from Argentina, in Boston
Race 2 – Friday May 19, 21:30 from Argentina, in Boston
Race 3 – Sunday May 21, 21:30 from Argentina, in Miami
Race 4 – Tuesday 23 May, 21:30 in Miami, Argentina
Race 5 – Thursday 25 May, 21:30 in Argentina, in Boston **
Race 6 – Saturday May 27, 21:30 from Argentina, to Los Angeles **
Race 7 – Monday 29 May, 21:30 in Argentina, in Boston **
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.