My quest to watch every playoff game has once again been successful. It sometimes took watching chunks of games the next day during my lunch break, but after four weeks, here we are. Tuesday night was the last multiple game-night in the NBA this season as both the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors won their second round series in five games, setting up a highly anticipated western conference finals. On the other side of the bracket we saw LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers completely take the life of the Toronto Raptors in a four game sweep. Meanwhile the Boston Celtics knocked off the Philadelphia 76ers in five very entertaining games. I am going to get to a quick preview of the conference finals later, but first an update on everything posted on the site in the last fortnight.
On the players list we have 10 new entries for you to check out and they include,
#84, Carmelo Anthony
#136, Jamaal Wilkes
#197, Horace Grant
#209, Lamar Odom
#212, Jimmy Jones
#224, Al Jefferson
#234, Reggie Theus
#259, Charlie Scott
#264, Hersey Hawkins
#273, Michael Redd
As for the moments list we are now up to #24. Each day we get closer and closer to #1 and some of the moments posted recently were a lot of fun to look back on. We had Kobe to Shaq on a classic alley-oop, Tim Duncan nearly dropping a quadruple-double in the Finals and Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a game.
It sometimes feels like everything we watched and talked about for the last six months is for naught when the teams that most expected to get to this stage actually get here. I disagree, though, as the journey should be the fun part, rather than the destination. Anyway, we are here now and both conference finals matchups are intriguing in their own right. Below are my thoughts, with a few keys to each series.
1) Houston Rockets v. 2) Golden State Warriors
- Can Clint Capela contain the Warriors guards and wings on switches? Capela has been great in these playoffs so far, but how he holds up in these specific situations will be huge.
- How will the Rockets role players shoot? It seems like an obvious one, because it is, but guys like P.J. Tucker and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute need to be hot for Houston to win this series.
- Is Steph totally back? He has looked great in some stretches but not like peak Steph. If he is darting around the court and finishing inside then Houston has a problem.
- A lot has been made of Houston's lack of a real home court advantage, and as someone who has been to about 15 games there, I agree with this assessment. It is a late arriving crowd and at times a dead one. I don't know how much this matters to the absolute elite players but evidence does show that typically bench players raise their game at home.
Warriors in 6
2) Boston Celtics v. 4) Cleveland Cavaliers
- LeBron James. He is always the biggest key.
- Can the Celtics wings continue their hot shooting? Heck, throw Terry Rozier in that as well. Boston is going to need four great shooting nights to knock off the Cavs.
- Which Kevin Love do we see? Love was excellent the last three games of the Toronto series but has had spells of poor play throughout his time in Cleveland. If he is in the mix on the boards and knocking down shots then the Cavs are nearly impossible to guard.
- I underestimated the Celtics in the last series and I don't want to do that here but I just don't see how they win four out of seven against a LeBron led team. This Cavs squad is clearly flawed and I don't think has a chance at all in the Finals, but...
Cavs in 6