Even though the regular season is thoroughly enjoyable, it’s not what basketball fans tune in to see. The regular season is just the preview and the warm-up for what really matters which is the Playoffs and the NBA Finals.
All the regulars season awards like the MVP, DPOY, All-Star nods, and All-NBA selections are rewards for helping your team get closer to the only prize that counts which is an NBA Championship. Any team that has serious title aspirations uses the regular season to find out how good they are and where they can improve throughout the year. This is then translated in practice sessions and implemented in Playoff series when big teams go head to head.
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When the NBA Finals roll around all basketball fans are at the edge of their seats because this is the highest standard of basketball anywhere in the world; the best teams from each conference going head to head for the championship. This year will be no different and here the top 5 matchups we’d love to see come June next year.
5. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Just admit it, you want LeBron James in the NBA Finals every year until he retires. He is the best player we’ve seen since Michael Jordan and the most talked about athlete in America. Whether you love him or hate him whatever he does draws national attention.
Now that LeBron is with the Lakers there’s even more reasons to want him in the Finals. If he does make then it means that the Warriors didn’t which would be a huge shock to us all. If the 76ers get to the Finals then we would be seeing LeBron vs Ben Simmons which would be great as well.
Also, Joel Embiid in the Finals? You know he would troll everyone if the 76ers made it.
4. Golden State Warriors vs. Philadelphia 76ers
In the Finals, you want to see star power. You want to see the best players in the game going head to head because we as fans love to talk about legacies. Go to any sports bar and you’ll hear debates about MJ vs LeBron, Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi, Tom Brady vs Aaron Rodgers.
If the Warriors face the 76ers then we will have Durant, Curry, Thompson, Green, and Cousins vs Embiid, Simmons and Jimmy Butler. That’s 8 All-Star caliber players all for us to enjoy. The Warriors are looking for the 3rd title in a row which would be a historic achievement. The 76ers are aiming for their first title since 1983 and their first Finals appearance since 2001 with Allen Iverson.
3. Golden State Warriors vs. Toronto Raptors
With the drama unfolding between the Spurs coaching staff and Kawhi Leonard, it would be great to see if Kawhi could win a title without Gregg Popovich. Kawhi sat out most of last season but has bounced back with force leading Toronto to the best record in the NBA.
Kawhi is known as a sort of kryptonite to the Warriors given how dominant he was in the 2017 Western Conference Finals against them (no, I’m never going to forgive Zaza). He is the best two-way player on the league and given the supporting cast alongside him they could go the distance.
Kyle Lowry is still ballin, Danny Green is still a great 3-point shooter, Ibaka is great defensive Power-Forward and Valanciunas is a decent center. The Raptors are for real and this could well be their time.
2. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
The best rivalry in basketball; Boston vs LA. East Coast vs West Coast, blue-collar grit vs flamboyant razzle-dazzle. What started in the 60s with Bill Russell, Hondo, Wilt, and Jerry West battling it out over a decade was then taken to another level in the 80s when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson had their historic rivalry. Then, in the late 00s, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol faced off against Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce twice in the Finals.
It will be a very tough challenge for the Lakers, but nothing is impossible. You can follow NBA every night and try to win with a Better Bettor.
We need another matchup of the 2 biggest teams in the NBA. Sadly, given the current situation in LA and Boston’s semi-implosion this season I don’t think we will get to see this come June. Next season could be one as both teams look to improve in the summer.
1. Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics
As mentioned above the Celtics have not been as good as people thought they would be this season. With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward returning from injury and the development of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, everyone thought they would be the favorites to make it out of the East.
Boston’s defense is still great, but their shooting from the outside has suffered. The NBA is now a 3-point shooting league and the Celtics aren’t as good as they were last season. It may be that Kyrie Irving has disrupted the rhythm that Boston created last year. The Celtics pushed the Cavs to 7 games last season all without their star point-guard.
I have a feeling that Boston will turn it around. Brad Stevens is too good a coach and this roster is too talented for them not to make it to the Conference Finals. Once they reach the postseason they will kick things up a notch and the 76ers and Raptors should be extremely wary of what is to come.