No more Tim Duncan. No more Dwyane Wade. No more Heat. No more Spurs. The Conference Finals are over, the big stage is here, and we’ve got some new blood in town (LeBron James, James Jones, and Mike Miller notwithstanding). Before we review the last round and preview the Finals, let’s assess the world’s second most important sporting event of the season–the BSB(R) tournament.
The above collection of confusing text and colors does reveal something, I promise. What they reveal, though, marks the two polarizing tales of this year’s BSB(R):
- On the positive note: Nearly half of our group (17 out of 36) predicted this year’s Finals matchup. Given the strength of the West and the fact that the Cavs weren’t even a 1-seed, that shows some impressive intuition among our group. Also, it’s much better than last year’s predictions, where 8/24 people correctly predicted the two Finalists.
- On the negative note: While the playoffs aren’t yet finished, the BSB(R) is over. And even worse, Dave Attewell won. For those who don’t know, I hate Dave Attewell IN REAL LIFE and promise to pour whisky on his head for as long as we both live. I pledge to corrupt him and drag him as low as I manage to sink myself, which could be some Mariana Trench level shit if I follow my current path. Goddamnit, Dave. Goddamnit.
Despite the collective misfortune we suffered at the hands of witnessing an Attewell victory, we can still celebrate the NBA playoffs. Below, AGR offers its brief summary of the Conference Finals.
Conference Finals Recap
Hawks-Cavs: Another series, another sweep for LeBron. Granted, the Hawks were far from full strength–Kyle Korver missed games 3 and 4 due to an ankle sprain, Paul Millsap played through a bum shoulder, and DeMarre Carroll fought through a knee sprain. The Cavs were also dealing with their fair share of injuries (Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao were out; Kyrie was playing at 50% and missed two of the games; LeBron battled ankle, knee, and calf issues). What would have projected to be an epic series a few months ago turned out to be a total dud, culminating in a 30-point blowout in Game 4. Between LeBron’s leadership/playmaking and the fantastic support from Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith, the Cavs are exceeding everyone’s expectations given their health as they head into the Finals.
- Hero: LeBron James
- Goat: Superstar-less basketball
- Line of the series: James went video-game on the world, putting up 37 points, 18 rebounds, 13 assists and 3 steals in a clutch Game 3 win.
Warriors-Rockets: Steph Curry and James Harden–the MVP and the runner-up, respectively–dueled it out in an entertaining but short five game series. The Rockets kept each of the first two games close, which is an impressive feat considering they were playing in Oakland. Credit Harden, who finished one assist shy of a triple double in both games, for keeping the Warriors in it, but credit Lil B for making him falter when it mattered most. The Warriors delivered the knockout punch in Game 3, though, where they won 115-80 behind a ridiculous game from Curry (40 points on 12-19 FG). The Rockets didn’t lay down, winning Game 4 behind Harden’s magnificent night (45 points on 13-22 FG), but the Warriors put the Rockets out of their misery in Game 5 with a handy 104-90 win.
- Hero: Steph Curry
- Goat: Patrick Beverley’s injury
- Line of the series: Both Curry’s Game 3 line and Harden’s Game 4 line. Curry in Game 3: 40 points (12-19 FG, 7-9 3PT, 9-10 FT), 7 assists, 5 boards, 2 steals and a block. Harden in Game 4: 45 points (13-22 FG, 7-11 3PT, 12-13 FT), 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks. Those guys are fantastic.
What to look for in the Finals
- How healthy will Kyrie Irving be throughout the series?
- Will Mosgov and and Tristan Thompson continue to rebound like maniacs against Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green?
- Will LeBron’s three-point shooting (and general scoring efficiency) improve from it’s relative lows this playoffs?
- Between Green, Iguodala, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes, who will guard LeBron and how well will they do it?
- Who will the Cavaliers employ to guard both Curry and Thompson?
- Can Curry handle the pressure of his first trip to the Finals?
It all starts Thursday, June 4th at 9pm EST. Hope the Chef is cookin’ up a good one.
Who are your picks to win, both the Finals and the AGR tourney? Comment on the article or e-mail us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook