Some would say that the 2016 NBA Playoffs were off to a slow start due to injuries to stars such as Golden State Warriors Point Guard Steph Curry, and Los Angeles Clippers Point Guard and Power Forward, Chris Paul, and Blake Griffin. The injuries were so devastating, the Clippers lost there two stars for the remainder of the series, and were knocked out by the 5th seeded Portland Trail Blazers. Golden State was able to sustain and make it out of the first round before eventually advancing past the Trail Blazers in the 2nd round.
Fast forward to the Conference Finals. In the East you have the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Toronto Raptors. Most pundits and fans expected this series to go no more than 5 games in the Cavs’ favor if not a quick sweep, especially since going into the series Cleveland was undefeated through the playoffs and Toronto had just finished a grueling 7 game series against the Miami Heat.
Game 1 was an old fashioned beat down for the Raptors, the Cavs dominated from beginning to end en route to a 115-84 win behind 24 points from LeBron James, and 27 points from Kyrie Irving. Game 2 was much off, the Cavs took a 2-0 series lead behind a triple double from LeBron in the 109-89 victory.
As the series moved to Toronto, the chance of the Raptors to stop the Cavs were looking slim to none, but in front of their home crowd, the Raptors came out and showed heart and grit from the opening minute. Things even got chippy towards the end of the 4th quarter when Bismack Biyombo took a hard foul on LeBron James who took exception. Things escalated once more toward the end of the game when less-often used Cavaliers Guard Dahntay Jones checked into the game and struck Bismack Biyombo in the groin in an apparent retaliation for the hard foul on LeBron James. The Raptors went on to win the game 99-84. Game 4 will be a pivotal game still for the Raptors before heading back to Cleveland. Check your local listing to schedule info to tune in and see can the Raptors somehow stop LeBron James from reaching the NBA finals for the 6th straight year.
Over in the West, you have one of the most competitive, and star driven Conference Finals in recent memory. The Golden State Warriors vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. In game 1, the Thunder came back and stunned the Warriors and their fans with a 108-102 win on the road, led by Russell Westbrook’s 27 points, in which 19 came in the 3rd quarter.
In Game 2, a motivated Warriors team came out and made quick work of the Thunder in a 118-91 route behind another sensational performance from back to back MVP Steph Curry, 28 points. As the series shifted home for Oklahoma City, questions lingered about how OKC would respond, until they ran Golden State out the building in a 133-105 victory.
The action in the NBA Playoffs is just heating up! Make sure you’re tuning in and feel free to comment below with your predictions of which two teams will end up in the 2016 NBA Finals