Previewing NBA Conference Finals, Latest News and Buzz from Around the LeagueMay 28, 2012
The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat promise the Eastern Conference Finals we've been eagerly awaiting.
In this episode of Basketball by Association, Ethan Norof and Joel Cordes also discuss why the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder provide everything one could want in a Western Conference Finals.
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Sure, most regular season prognosticators couldn't stop drooling over a Miami and Chicago Bulls ECF showdown, but a Boston Celtics sighting had to be 1A on most hoops fans' lists.
Will the Beantown Big Four era end with another NBA Finals appearance, or will the Miami Heat get one step closer to that elusive and vindicating prize?
Miami is thin across the roster, and Chris Bosh doesn't appear to be walking through that door any time soon.
They showed a ton of grit in ousting the Indiana Pacers, but the Heat's true identity remains in question, even if that's because the pundits and public just won't let the issue die. The Celtics are also banged up and devoid of bench depth. They have the moxie to make things interesting, but their inconsistency against the scrappy Philadelphia 76ers is a cause for concern.
They've proven they still can win any game, but will they string victories together like Miami can?
On the other side, the Spurs took the Thunder's best shot, and then swung back even harder in their Game 1 win.
This Texas versus Oklahoma tilt has the makings of an all-time-classic seven-game series in which home-court advantage means everything.
Oklahoma City had the early edge when playing at an especially frenetic pace, but the new run-and-gun Spurs reverted back to an older identity.
They showed enough defensive mindset for control late, eventually forcing long jump shots, while still penetrating for a drive-and-kick game of their own.
OKC has to get James Harden going while limiting Manu Ginobili's big-shot back-breakers.
Find out what to expect in both series from Bleacher Report's Assistant NBA Editor (Norof) and its resident NBA GM (Cordes).
The guys also discuss the impending Golden State Warriors' move to San Francisco, whether basketball will return to Seattle and the coaching fates of the Orlando Magic's Stan Van Gundy, Houston Rockets' Kevin McHale and New York Knicks' Mike Woodson.