Both Conference Finals matchups have been great so far haven’t they? You know, aside from the 30+ point blowouts. What’s great about these matchups is that both are tied 2-2. Nobody’s getting swept, which you hope wouldn’t happen when the two best teams in each Conference are playing each other. What will happen the rest of the way? Will the Cavs continue to keep the momentum? Can either the Rockets or Warriors put together consistent performances? Here are my predictions for the remaining games of the Conference Finals.
Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers (Series Tied 2-2)
Game 5: Cavaliers win to take a 3-2 lead
Game 6: Cavaliers win the series 4-2
This Cavaliers team has looked much different over the last two games. LeBron has looked the same, but his supporting cast has shown up. Tristan Thompson, George Hill, and Kyle Korver are a few names who’ve stuck out recently. I originally picked the Cavaliers to win this series in 6 games, so I’m sticking with that, although I didn’t think the Cavs would have to win 4 games in a row to do it. Over the last two games the Cavs have seemed to figure it out on both ends of the floor. In Game 4, I saw a game plan that allowed LeBron to switch onto much smaller defenders like Terry Rozier, after which he easily got into the paint for a bucket. Until that stops working for the Cavs, I expect much more of it.
Both teams have gotten their blowouts out of the way. I don’t expect to see and really hope we don’t see anymore 30 point victories in any of the remaining games. Boston will stick around, and I’m hoping they’ll stick around enough for at least one game to come down to a buzzer beater. We all know how LeBron has been hitting those recently. The main reason why I’m picking the Cavs over the Celtics, is because the Cavs are getting more contributions from their supporting cast players. Boston gets those contributions from everyone every night, but when the Cavs are getting that and they have LeBron scoring 40 points, it’s too much. Boston had all the momentum after going up 2-0, but the Cavs quickly took it all back after winning both games at home. If any team can come back and win four straight games after being down 2-0, it’s the Cavaliers. Why? Because they have LeBron James. I’m starting to think LeBron’s getting down early on purpose so he can prove something to us. If he is, it’s working.
Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors (Series Tied 2-2)
Game 5: Rockets win to take a 3-2 lead
Game 6: Warriors win to tie series 3-3
Game 7: Warriors win series 4-3
So far this has been a back and forth series that has been fun to watch. Neither team can put together consistent play. The Warriors aren’t playing their usual game in this series. The most assists they’ve had as a team in any game is 24, which is lower than their usual average. Last night in their loss against the Rockets, they had just 14 assists. At first it was just Kevin Durant not sticking to their game, but now everyone except Draymond Green is backing away from it too. While Houston only had 12 assists last night, that’s what has worked for them all season. I feel like if the Warriors consistently played their game of moving the ball, they’d easily take the series, but for whatever reason they’re making it harder on themselves.
Last night’s game could have gone either way, but Houston was able to pull it off because of some hustle plays. Of course, they put in effort for a win the game after I wrote about how their lack of effort would be their downfall. It was a complete switch from Game 3 to Game 4. The Rockets actually shot worse from three point range and overall than the Warriors did, but they made the necessary plays at the end of the game. For Houston to win this series, James Harden and Eric Gordon need to fix their shooting woes. Harden shot 11-of-26 last night and 3-of-12 from three point range. Gordon shot 4-of-14 and 1-of-8 from three point range. Shooting 31.6% from three point range as a team isn’t going to be enough to consistently beat the Warriors. I have Houston winning Game 5 to get the upper hand, but then the Warriors come right back to tie the series 3-3. I originally picked the Warriors to win this series in 7 games, so I’m sticking with that. I think they’ll finally realize what they’ve been missing and put it all together when everything is on the line.