By Sean Simara @Sean_FootyMad @TLE_Sport
So then there were four. We have reached the Conference Final stages of the NBA season, which will see Houston Rockets play Golden State Warriors in the West. Then, in the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers face the Atlanta Hawks.
To start in the West, Houston Rockets turned around a 3-1 deficit against the LA Clippers to win the series 4-3 in dramatic style. The Clippers are known as ‘Lob City’ for their explosive highlight plays during the game. What happened though was they turned into ‘sob city’ – they simply choked their big moment. Clippers’ collapse in game 6 in front of their own fans at the Staples Center was something they couldn’t come back from in Houston in game 7. Team leader Chris Paul finds himself a star of the NBA for 10 years but he’s never been to a conference final. This was a chance for the Clippers to step out of that giant Lakers shadow in Los Angles; they couldn’t and they remain the ‘second class citizens of Los Angles’ as the Lakers fans mock them.
However let’s talk about the team that got through the series, the Rockets, who I didn’t expect to make such an amazing comeback. Surprisingly, it was not headed all by James Harden. Other stars such as Josh Smith, Dwight Howard and Trevor Ariza all had their moments and stepped up.
That comeback will give Houston momentum and belief against the Golden State Warriors, against whom they struggled during the regular season. This match-up of course brings together Stephen Curry and James Harden, who went head to head for the MVP award this year. Harden has had a bee in his bonnet since the winner was announced so what better way to show who was the real MVP than taking out the winners team in the finals?
The Warriors have been fantastic all year. They deserve their place in the finals – their first appearance in 39 years. Golden State were the only team to beat the Rockets all four times in the regular season too. I think this will go down to the wire again and I’m going for Stephen Curry to underline his MVP credentials and win the Western Conference Finals.
In the Eastern Conference, Lebron’s ‘New Team’ have reached the finals. The pressure is now on the Cleveland Cavaliers to deliver.
From the second Lebron James went home the Cavaliers were made favourites to win the NBA title simply because of who he is. There were parts of the series against the Chicago Bulls where he played ‘mad’ – when he plays mad no one can stop him. He also hit a buzzer beater which James has been criticized for in the past for not taking that vital shot but passing to a team mate.
He’s without Kevin Love who is out injured but Kyrie Irving has said he will be available for game one after struggling with injury. The Cavaliers have had to evolve through-out the play offs, whereas the Atlanta Hawks starting 5 has been steady and healthy. Even though Atlanta finished number one seed in the east it will be an upset if they get past the Cavaliers. I think this will be a hurdle too far for them. The expectations are high but I’m going for the Cleveland Cavaliers to be crowned the Eastern Conference champions and head to the NBA final.
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