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NBA playoffs: Conference finals matchups locked in


May 16, 2022

The GIST: Hydrate and take some deep breaths because, after yesterday’s Game 7 doubleheader, the NBA Conference Finals matchups are locked in, with the Eastern battle tipping off tomorrow. No time to waste.

Game 7 recaps: Despite Giannis Antetokounmpo’s (pronounced YAH-niss ah-det-oh-KOON-boh) best efforts (25 points, 20 rebounds), there’ll be a new NBA champion after the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 Boston Celtics eliminated the defending champ No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks 109–81, a lopsided ending to an otherwise evenly contested series.

  • And there’ll also be a new Western Conference champion after the No. 4 Dallas Mavericks galloped to a stunning 123–90 victory over the top-seeded Phoenix Suns, who were title favorites after posting the league’s best regular-season record. Wow.

Eastern Conference preview: Boston will face the No. 1 Miami Heat, starting tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. ET. Both squads boast superstars in Miami’s Jimmy Butler and Boston’s Jayson Tatum, and both are also contending with injuries — the Heat’s Kyle Lowry (hamstring) is unlikely to play in Game 1 while the Celtics’ Robert Williams III (knee) didn’t play the last four games.

  • They’re also equally matched when it comes to defense as the Heat have allowed the fewest points per game throughout the playoffs, a feat the Celtics achieved in the regular season. Yeah, this is going to be good.

Western Conference preview: The Mavericks will take on the No. 3 Golden State Warriors, who ousted the No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. Luka Doncic–led Dallas won the regular season series 3-1, but that was before Golden State’s Big Three — Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — reunited after various injuries. The intrigue.