NBA Conference Finals Matchups


Tony Peoples, Reporter

With the NBA’s final four set, let’s take a look at the matchups as the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets battle for the title.

Lakers vs. Nuggets

The problem for the Lakers is that Nikola Jokić is even better than he was three years ago when they matched up in the bubble. Capable of scoring from anywhere and dishing assists. Against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals, the Lakers held the Warriors and Stephen Curry to under 100 points in Game 3. They’ll have to keep that pressure up against Denver. Lebron will have to rely heavily on Davis, Reeves and Lonnie Walker IV to try to claim this series. The Nuggets’ starting five are excellent. They have size, scoring, experience. Jokić is always No. 1 when it comes to Denver. But without great bench play while the starters rest, Denver will be heading home sooner than they hoped even after taking Game 1. This matchup will for sure go to a Game 7 as both teams are championship hungry as the Nuggets have never been to the finals in its team history.

Celtics vs. Heat

Everything starts with Jimmy Butler. He is the key to the Heat’s success from being a play in seed to making it to this point. the Heat’s other ace in the hole is their coach, Erik Spoelstra. One of the best in the game, capable of turning a slight advantage into one that could decide a series. The Heat grind out games, and the Celtics are well aware of that, having faced Miami last year in the conference finals, going to seven games and barely winning. Boston’s two stars, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, are complemented by Al Horford, Robert Williams and Marcus Smart: many would argue the only NBA team that can beat the Celtics are the Celtics. If the team loses confidence, Miami will easily take advantage and there will be no tomorrow. It will be up to Boston’s coach to make sure the team stay rooted in their identity: a killer one-two punch with a talented supporting cast.