Here we go guys, this is where the fun really starts. Two of these teams are just four W’s away from the NBA Finals and thank god we won’t be subjected to Golden State vs Cleveland V. No mas. Just look at Rocky as the best example of this. Rocky 1-4 were all awesome and exciting flicks with Rocky 5 being one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. So I’m psyched for some fresh blood this year. But I digress, lets take a look at the Conference Finals matchups.
Golden State Warriors (1) vs Portland Trail Blazers (3)
(Game 1 – Tuesday at 9 pm)
In what ultimately made little difference for the Rockets, Kevin Durant will be out yet again for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday night. Durant is one of the top 3 players in the entire league, but lets not forget just how stacked this Warriors team still is with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Thats a 2x MVP, a 5x All-Star, and a 3x All-Star/Defensive Player of the Year. Soo yea the Warriors are still in good shape.
Kevin Durant is out for at least Game 1 of the WCF, source tells ESPN. He’s not being re-evaluated until Thursday so it’s “unlikely “ he plays Game 2 either.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 13, 2019
It doesn’t sound like Durant is particularly close to returning either though and if he misses multiple games in this series then it starts to become a legitimate threat to the Warriors’ NBA Finals streak.
Unless you’re watching a ton of NBA games, I don’t think many casual fans realized just how good the Portland Trail Blazers are. Everyone knows how good Damian Lillard is 25.8/4.6/6.9 with a ridiculous 28.4 in the playoffs, but his shot just was not falling in Game 7 (13 pts).
CJ McCollum when Dame wasn’t hitting shots:
— Jonny (@jvaysman7) May 12, 2019
Enter CJ McCollum, who is a bad, bad man. After averaging “just” 21 points per game in the regular season, McCollum has jacked that up to 25.6 in the playoffs, including 37 points in a ridiculous Game 7 performance against Denver.
— NBA (@NBA) May 12, 2019
Don’t forget about the brother on brother battle we’ll see with Steph Curry vs Seth Curry. Okay so maybe its not that big of a matchup with Seth only averaging 7.9 ppg to Steph’s 27.3 in the regular season but hey it’s still pretty cool to see two brothers playing against each other in the Western Conference Finals. Man, genetics are a trip.
While I can’t pick against the defending champs until I see them stumble, I really really like this Portland team. I just don’t know if they’ll be able to defend all of the Warriors elite shooters. If Durant misses a couple of games and Lillard and McCollum can keep scoring in the 25-30 points range each night, then I think they’ve got a real shot to dethrone the Warriors.
Milwaukee Bucks (1) vs Toronto Raptors (2)
(Game 1 – Wednesday at 8:30 pm)
The Kings in the North now turn their gaze towards conquering the East, which won’t be easy if you saw Giannis Antetokounmpo dropping 30 and 40 point games on the Celtics in the second round. There’s a reason the Bucks were the No. 1 seed in the East and why Giannis was my pick for MVP.
Kawhi Leonard is what Kyrie Irving wants to be when he grows up. Kawhi has singlehandedly willed this Toronto team from an annual playoff disappointment into one on the brink of the NBA Finals. He also produced the biggest shot in Raptors history with the immediately iconic Game 7 buzzer beater three over Joel Embiid.
🚨 THE SHOT. THE BOUNCE. THE WIN. 🚨
— NBA (@NBA) May 13, 2019
After being acquired by the Raptors in a risky one year rental he’s proving exactly why it was worth the risk for Toronto. He’s averaging 31.8 points per game in the playoffs, up from 26.6 in the regular season, while also leading the team in rebounds per game at 8.5. This guy is getting it done all over the court.
He literally made Joel Embiid cry for christs sake. And I love Embiid so thats not a knock, but do you know how badly you have to rip a guy’s heart out to make him cry on the court?
Giannis showed just how borderline unstoppable he can be though after personally breaking the Celtics’ will to live. Now do I think the Celtics played garbage defense and failed to adjust to Giannis (and his goddamn spin move)? Yes. Does that mean I think any less of Giannis’ dominance? Hell no.
The Bucks destroyed the Celtics in games 2-5 in a gentleman’s sweep, but had huge performances from guys that aren’t exactly household names like George Hill, Pat Connaughton (did you know he’s from Massachusetts?!), and Ersan Ilyasova. Thats not exactly a second unit I would bet my mortgage on, but the Bucks moved like a well oiled machine with everyone playing a specific role, so what do I know? They were the No. 1 seed after all.
We’ll also get more of Mallory Edens on national TV too and thats never a bad thing.
Ultimately, the 2019 Finals could very well be the long-predicted battle between the Warriors and Bucks, who are -550 and -300 favorites to oust the Trail Blazers (+375) and Raptors (+250), respectively. Any bettors out there looking for a great mobile betting experience prior to betting should check out this site. In terms of valued odds, you could definitely do a lot worse than Portland at +275 to win Game 1 vs Golden State. The Blazers have been road warriors in the playoffs and won’t be at a size disadvantage with Kevin Durant out. Golden State is susceptible when opponents beat them on the offensive glass, and Portland is the third-best offensive rebounding team in the league (regular season and playoffs).
While I’m bummed the Celtics bowed out like absolute dogs, we’ve got some awesome storylines to keep an eye on in the Conference Finals regardless. Who ya got? Tweet me @The300sBoston and let me hear it.