As the Conference Finals approach, the true grit and will to win the remaining teams have begun to show. The Phoenix Suns have already advanced to the western conference finals and await the winner of the Jazz and Clippers Friday night. In the East, Brooklyn and Milwaukee are in a tight series as Brooklyn leads 3-2, and the same goes for the Hawks and 76ers series, as Atlanta leads 3-2 after a close win this past Wednesday night.
So with the Conference Finals closing in, which teams will come out the winner and advance to the Conference Finals? Let’s check it out.
Eastern Conference Winner: Brooklyn Nets
While it might seem rather obvious and cheesy to pick the Nets, respectively, they are one of if not the best team remaining in the East. Brooklyn has unfortunately lost All-Star Kyrie Irving to an ankle injury he suffered in game four, but they gained back James Harden, so that helps.
Realistically, if Brooklyn can keep Harden and KD healthy and get solid production from their role players in Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, and company, they should win the East. Brooklyn has an efficient offense if they can hit their shots and spread out the defense to allow for open threes and dribble drives for Harden and KD. This sounds easier said than done, but Brooklyn has the squad to pull it off.
Runner Up In Eastern Conference: Atlanta Hawks
I thought I sounded crazy saying Atlanta could hang with the 76ers, but yet I have not been wrong so far. If Atlanta can finish off Philly, this is a solid young team that could give Brooklyn fits. However, Brooklyn brings in quite a bit of playoff experience on their roster, and I feel that will be the downfall in the end for this young Hawks team.
Trae Young and company could probably steal a game or two from Brooklyn, but Kevin Durant and James Harden in the East Finals will prove too much to bear. Keep an eye on this Hawks though as they could try and make a splash in free agency and be right back in the East Finals next season.
Western Conference Winner: Phoenix Suns
Again, picking the two seed of the conference might seem obvious, but this Phoenix Suns team is the real deal. Besides the Chris Paul COVID protocol situation, which I think will be resolved in time for him to play, Phoenix can beat anyone. Phoenix has played perfect playoff basketball to this point and does not seem to be slowing down. Now, they have been off for nearly a week so that could affect their game one performance in the Conference Finals.
By the way, in case you did not know, Phoenix swept Denver in the second round, hence the gap between games for them. Phoenix runs the fast break exceptionally, and they also play stingy defense that creates more possessions for them. Phoenix can easily go up by 10-15 points in the blink of an eye and then play defense to coast to an easy win. If this Suns team manages to get Chris Paul back before the Conference Finals, Phoenix is a big-time favorite.
Runner Up In Western Conference: Utah Jazz
The LA Clippers have somehow managed to take the series lead against Utah, but it will not be for long. Utah is in yet another win-or-go-home situation, and this season, they will not be denied. Utah, I think, will even the series and take the final game seven, and head to the West Finals.
However, they will be run down from the tough Clippers series, and Phoenix, who will be well-rested, will prove too much for them. The Jazz and Suns are rather similar in their play styles as they both like to spread the wealth and beat you as a full team. The team that comes out on top though will prove to be the team that can get key stops down the stretch and key buckets when needed. This sounds rather fundamental, but when you have two solid teams, that is the only way to separate the winner and loser.
This year’s Conference Finals, no matter what will feature a few new teams that are not household names to be competing to move on to the Finals. Keep an eye on all these close series to see who comes out on top!
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