LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers defeats Draymond Green of Golden State in the last NBA Playoff Eliminator.
Facing the reborn Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James will take on Jimmy Butler’s Heat from giant Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets and Jayson Tatum’s Celtics on Tuesday in an NBA conference finals with plenty of hunger for revenge.
The four franchises, and their respective stars, will replay the same conference finals that were held in Orlando, Florida in 2020 after the NBA shut itself down at the Disney World Sports Complex to protect itself from the Covid pandemic.
The Lakers, the winners of that championship in the finals against the Heat, are now the most unexpected guest at this point.
The California team began the course with an embarrassing 2-10 record and missed the playoffs after changing their squad in February with the departure of Russell Westbrook and the arrival of valuable secondaries like D’Angelo Russell, Jared Vanderbilt or Rui Hachimura. .
Backed by the unbreakable LeBron James, who continues to enforce his law at age 38, and Anthony Davis back to his prime, the Lakers accounted for the Timberwolves in the playoffs and returned to the playoffs after a year. By doing this, he restored his pride. absence.
They completely eliminated the second-seeded Grizzlies in the Western Conference in the first round, and then caused a major blow by dispatching defending champion Stephen Curry’s Warriors.
– “Much respect” –
Crowned the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in February, LeBron continues to win his race against time and is now just four wins away from playing in his 11th Finals.
To earn the right to fight for his fifth ring, ‘King James’ will have to overcome the biggest obstacle ever, Jokic’s Nuggets, the first seed in the conference.
The Serbian center, winner of two MVP awards, directs a team that has played with heart for years and that barely gave Kevin Durant and Devin Booker’s Suns chances in the Western Semifinals.
Point guard Jamal Murray and forward Michael Porter Jr. remain the other figures on a much stoic squad that lost 4-1 to the Lakers in Disney World’s ‘bubble’.
Los Angeles’ coach, rookie Darwin Hamm, will have to figure out the formula for stopping Jokic, a center with unparalleled intelligence and skill who was able to average a monumental triple-double (34.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and 10.3 assists.) The Sun series against.
“We know what they have,” LeBron James warned. “We come into this series with a lot of respect for Denver, what they’ve accomplished and what they can do against us.”
The Nuggets were far better in the regular season and had home court advantage in the series, but the Lakers’ history is on their side.
Denver, which has never reached the NBA Finals, succumbed to the Californians three out of four times in the Western Finals (1985, 2009 and 2020).
– Tatum Contra Butler –
In addition to the Lakers, the Miami Heat also broke most predictions by breaking into the top four teams on the course.
Also classified in the playoffs, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo’s squad delivered the big post-season surprise by eliminating Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, the best team in the regular season.
Without their third leading scorer, the injured Tyler Herro, the Heat overcame the rookie New York Knicks to reach their third East Finals in the past four years.
Starting Wednesday, Miami will look to avenge last season’s loss in Game 7 against the Celtics, in this instance in which Butler missed a crucial shot in the final seconds.
However, the combative guard hasn’t given up on his desire to reach for a ring, and at 33, he’s living up to his nickname of the “playoff butler,” averaging 31.1 points in these qualifiers.
The Celtics, on the other hand, don’t lack the confidence or the megastars to face this tough tie.
On Sunday, he passed Joel Embiid and James Harden’s Philadelphia 76ers in the final duel of the tie, with a single by Jayson Tatum, who broke the scoring record in the seventh game with 51 points.
At 25, the talented forward continues to shatter records some of the myths that preceded him with the Celtics tied for the most winning franchises in the NBA with the Lakers.
Now it dreams of inaugurating its trophy case, and to do so, it has All-Star guard Jaylen Brown and one of the best defenses in the league, with warriors like Marcus Smart and Dominican Al Horford.