NBA Playoffs: The Contenders meet their worthy Challengers

When the season started, a lot expected a Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors rematch in the finals and the teams standing in their path are the Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets. Well, its halfway from that pre-season prediction.

Can the Celtics keep winning ways Lebron James and Cavs?

The Celtics were doubted very much on reaching this point of the playoffs but they have always found a way to pull through.

Many said they would be crushed by Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in the first round. When they passed the test, they were again installed as the underdogs against the Sixers in the next round. They were even more impressive in this one.

I’m not gonna underestimate these Celtics, even against the Cavs. They’re legit. They are a well-oiled machine that packs a very potent defense and an offense that comes multiple sources.

They are like a boxer who lacks a power-punch but can deliver rapid jabs and straights and who knows how to protect himself from incoming blows.

Meanwhile, the Cavs were almost upset by the Indiana Pacers in the first round but Lebron James carried them to a sweep in the next round against the Toronto Raptors, an opponent whose number they have for three years.

The Lebron we’re seeing this playoffs is a different one from what we were accustomed to. He is actually taking matters into his own hands, taking the ball in crunch time and manufacturing points when the Cavs needed to.

This is the Cavs I liked to see. The one which gives you shivers because they have a go-to guy that is pinpoint in the clutch and knows how and when to involve his teammates.

They’re the exact opposite of the Celtics. They’re like a fighter who is not excellent defensively but has the power to wallop opponents with a knockout punch.

Both teams barely came out of the first round but dispatched their semis opponent quickly. Both also cannot be left hanging around during games because they usually are deadly come crunch time.

I think this series is harder to predict, contrary to popular opinions.

If the Celtics are to win this one they would do two things: (1) shut down the Cavs’ supporting cast and (2) take advantage of their “next man up” mentality.

The Cavs basically thump Toronto because their supporting cast were rolling. Kevin Love, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson all did fine in the Raptor series and that’s the difference.

If the Celtics can stop these guys from producing and their roster continue to chip in numbers from all their guys as they did in their first two series, they will take this one.

On the other hand, The Cavs need to control the boards and the paint if they are to win this one.

One of the Celtics weaknesses is they don’t have a paint protector. If the Cavs can penetrate with impunity and get extra possessions on the offensive glass, they will be difficult to stop.

I think this series could go other way. Whoever executes better the entire game will emerge victorious. It should take six to seven games to end this series.

I fell the King will dominate the series but still take the Celtics to win in seven games.

Rockets to use Warriors’ main weapon to end their streak

The Warriors were the first to prove that a team can get a championship by making the three-point shot as a main weapon. They will now be under attack with same concept by the Houston Rockets.

Even after Chris Paul was traded to the Rockets, many still hesitate to give them a shot at dethroning the Warriors from ruling the West.

They are probably right.

The Warriors are the best team assembled in the NBA today. All five starters blend well as they have the best combination of an inside and outside game.
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Draymond Green and Kevin Durant is the perfect match for Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry while adding Andre Iguodala creates the mix that is near to perfection in today’s game.

No other mixture in any team’s line-up can surpass, much less equal, this.

On the other hand, it is their first time to meet a team that eerily looks similar to them.

The Rockets are the epitome of a team who rely on the three point shot. They are the first team in NBA history to have more three point shot attempts than two pointers in the regular season.

This is a team that can give the Warriors a problem they did not really face before. One that they used on their opponents and is yet to be solved.

If the Warriors are to win this one, I feel they should put the clamps on James harden and Chris Paul. Unlike Lebron James, it is easier to find match-ups for these guys and the Warriors have the tools to do it.

Meanwhile, if the Rockets are to win this series, they should continue to keep those threes flying and Clint Capela should be able deal with Draymond Green inside the paint.

If there is anything that has to be tried in countering the Warriors, its their own medicine. Do the Warriors the antidote to this strategy, that we should see.

Should Capela combine a healthy mixture of inside presence to Houston’s outside threat, especially commanding a double team in the paint, then we will have a series.

I feel Durant is the x-factor here. Nobody in the Rockets lineup can guard this guy. The Rockets will still be firing a barrage of threes and their success depends on how accurate the conversion is. I take the Warriors in six games here.

By: ARMANDO BOLISLIS

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