From April 13, the 2019 NBA playoffs begun, consisting of a best of seven elimination tournament. All 30 teams of the league fought for 16 spots in the playoffs. In the Western Conference, the defending champions Golden State Warriors (GSW) ended the regular season as the first seed, followed by Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Jazz Utah. A Lebron-less Eastern Conference for the first time in 14 years, Milwaukee Bucks seized their first seed, then Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Indiana Pacers. With many unknown variables on the final results of the games, watching the NBA playoffs and especially the championships will be as fascinating as a cliffhanger.
In the conference finals of the playoffs season, Stephen Curry’s GSW secured their spot for the championship finals after the 4-2 win with Houston Rockets and sweeping Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals. However, as much as it seemed like a smooth march for Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks, Kawi Leonard’s Raptors took away two consecutive wins at home after the first two losses in Milwaukee.
“It was surprising to see Milwaukee’s two consecutive losses after two home game wins,” said Nathan Kim (9), JV boys basketball player. “Many say that the winner of Game 5 Eastern Conference Finals will probably win the series, and advance to the finals to play against the Warriors.”
GSW is on a 5-0 run without Kevin Durant, similar to the 2014-2015 season in which the Warriors have won a ring without KD as well. It is still an unanswered question whether KD, arguably the best scorer in the league right now, will return for the finals. With regards to whether GSW will achieve three-feat, however, KD’s injury still holds a great amount of threat to opposing teams.
“I think Milwaukee Bucks is going to win,” said Morgan Miller, JV girls basketball coach, and a Blazers fan. “They have Giannis to defend KD, and two other defenders that can potentially guard the splash duos. As the most pessimistic Blazers fan, I thought Blazers would get swept by OKC. I would bet on GSW if KD returns, but I am rooting for the Bucks.”
Despite worries about the Blazers’ performance, they advanced to the finals which was the farthest that the team has ever gone to. On April 23, Damian Lillard hit the game-winning and series-winning buzzer-beating logo three-pointer, 37 feet away, to eliminate the OKC to give the Blazers the 118-115 win. Rodger Sherman, an NBA commentator, praised Damian Lillard’s play for his confidence, which allowed his team to make history once again.
Finding out who will be the 2019 NBA Champions is one of the primary interests during this time of the year. With massive free agents trade that will be made over the summer, prospects for 2019-20 season will result in joy and tears for some teams. With lottery results for NBA drafts 2019 and a few retiring players, 2019-20 season will be another one with bountiful events, intense games and again determining the champion of the league.