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NBA Conference Finals Preview by Stephanos Mavroides

Overview and Predictions for the 2022 NBA Conference Finals Matchups

ECF- Boston Celtics VS. Miami Heat

Tomorrow the Eastern Conference Final is set to start as the Boston Celtics play the Miami Heat. This series is going to be physical and worth the watch as we have so many great but physical players. Some of these physical  players include Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Jimmy Butler,  P.J Tucker, and Bam Adebayo. There is also great shooting from each team as the Heat have some great shooters in Tyler Herro, Max Strus, and Duncan Robinson if he plays much this series. The Celtics also have good shooting as we saw in their game 7 effort versus the Bucks, they have players like Jayson Tatum, Payton Pritchard, and now Grant Williams who had a monster game on Sunday. Overall, we will see a mix of physicality in this series but also a burst of scoring because of the ease at which both teams can catch fire. It will be a must watch series and we will see some young stars be able to rise in big moments like we haven’t been able to see before. Some of the players  from the Heat other than Jimmy Butler that I think can turn this series in their favor are Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Max Strus. Tyler Herro is a streaky player and at times is forgotten, but when he is on, he can change the the whole momentum in a game or series. Having a shooter like that on your team is vital and I believe if he catches fire and has high confidence he can propel the Heat past the Celtics. Next, Bam Adebayo is a guy that is crucial inside, he’s very strong and can provide that solid play that you need at the center position. The reason I picked Adebayo is because the Celtics truly don’t have an All-star calibre center in Horford, and I believe a guy like Adebayo can expose that weakness. Lastly, Max Strus is another great find by Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley, he is a lethal shooter, as he shot 41 % from three this season. Like with Herro, a guy like this can turn a series in their team’s favor, and the amount of shooting and grit the Heat have will go a long way for them. Next, for the Celtics three players that I can see being a huge help in defeating the Heat other than Jayson Tatum are Jaylen Brown, Grant Williams, and Payton Pritchard. Jaylen Brown is a very athletic player who attacks and shots at a high level. I believe he can be an X-factor in this series because the Heat don’t have a counter for him at the guard position. Most of their guards aren’t as athletic as him, and I think as Butler guards Tatum, we can see Brown get the ball more and hopefully take advantage of the opportunities. Next, Grant Williams is a role player that I love to watch because of his shooting ability, but he is not afraid to take it to the basket. Having a guy like that is crucial and he provides the Celtics depth at the forward position and the ability to score. Lastly, Payton Pritchard is a guy I really liked when coming out of Oregon. He shoots the ball with ease but he is also a very good ball handler. Look to see more of what Pritchard did in Game 7 this series, to allow the Celtics to be more potent from deep. 

Prediction-  Celtics win the series in 6 games. I believe Jayson Tatum is going to take over and finally put himself in the talk of being a top 5 player in this league. 

WCF- Dallas Mavericks VS. Golden State Warriors 

I cannot wait for this series to start, this series is going to bring a lot of scoring but also great defensive games as well, as both teams have the ability to shut down star players. For the Mavericks, they had such a great defensive series against the Suns, but really showed their strength during Game 7 when they gave up 11 points to Devin Booker and 10 to Chris Paul. The Golden State Warriors also have a very good defense led by Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins. But, this series is going to be about scoring. And while the Warriors have the best shooter to ever live with Steph Curry, and very good shooting in general, I believe and know the best scorer and player in this series is Luka Doncic. Everything is slow for Luka and he processes things at a level most players can’t and that’s what separates him for every player in the league. I believe in this series it will be his coming out party as the best player in the league and he will dominate a very good defensive team in the Warriors. Next, three players that can help the Warriors’ chance of winning other than Klay and Steph are Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, and Andrew Wiggins. Draymond is such an underrated player who has been overshadowed his whole career by Klay and Steph. His defense and ability to pass makes him a valuable forward and the unselfishness he brings gives the team a diverse way of scoring. During the series he may not guard Luka, but he will be a big part in taking away any second to third option for Luka and make him beat the Warriors by himself. Next, Jordan Poole has been the most improved player in my opinion this year, he can score with ease and is a nice backup to Klay. He will be big in this series because he can provide that shooting off the bench and spell Klay or Steph when they need a break. Lastly, Andrew Wiggins is a very very solid player and is very underrated. He is a good two-way player and he is going to vitale this series because I believe him and Klay will be guarding Luka the majority of the time. If Wiggins can be effective on both ends of the court, he will give the Warriors a great chance to move on. Next, three players other than Luka who can give the Mavericks a good chance of moving on are Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Spencer Dinwiddie. Brunson is a very underrated player who will hopefully get the bag this off-season. He gives the Mavs a solid PG presence on the floor, but also relieves Luka from being the primary playmaker on all plays. With how good the Warriors defense is, Brunson needs to be a playmaker and help Luka out as much as possible. Next, Finney-Smith is a very good defensive guy, and in this series he needs to be a problem for guys like Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, if he can limit the three pointers from their wings. Lastly, Spencer Dinwiddie had an amazing game 7 against the Suns, dropping 30 points. With the lack of scoring depth on the Mavericks, if he performs like he did in Game 7 it will give the Mavericks an advantage in this series. 

Prediction:  The Mavericks will take this series in 7 games. I believe Luka Doncic will take over the series, and it  will show that he is the best player in the world.

By: Stephanos Mavroides

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