Warriors-Blazers, Bucks-Raptors Headline 2019 NBA Conference Finals
After a second round for the ages, here we are in the conference finals, where all four remaining teams will believe they have a reasonable chance at winning an NBA championship. Here is quick preview to get you ready for what’s to come.
? CONFERENCE FINALS GAME 1's! ?
Tuesday 9:00pm/et: (3) POR 0-0 (1) GSW, ESPN
Wednesday 8:30pm/et: (2) TOR 0-0 (1) MIL, TNT pic.twitter.com/7O4fcx6Sy5
— NBA (@NBA) May 13, 2019
Be sure to check out our exclusive coverage of Round 2 here!
Also, do not miss our latest episode of the BallnRoll Pick-n-Pod where we recap the first four game’s of the Bucks and Raptors series, provide predictions to what is to come and much more!
Ep. 14 of the @BALLnROLL Pick-n-Pod is here! ?️?
Don't miss as we talk ?️
? #Warriors Talk
? Lowry's Impact
? Playoff Norm
? FVV's Dad Strength
? Drake Factor
? Best-of-3 Series
Join the Convo ?
— Pick-N-Pod (@pick_pod) May 23, 2019
(1) Milwaukee Bucks v (2) Toronto Raptors
I think it is fair to say that the two best and most consistent teams up to this point in the Eastern Conference will square off in the conference final. The Milwaukee Bucks, who will have home court advantage in this series, have continued to dominate throughout the playoffs. After losing Game 1 to the Celtics, they bounced back to win 4 in a row, in relatively straightforward fashion. What’s particularly scary is that Giannis Antetokounmpo hasn’t even had to put up astounding numbers because the Bucks are getting contributions from several of their role players. It is in that area where they will have a significant advantage over the Raptors who, really can thank one man for making it this far.
Speaking of that one man, Kawhi Leonard is something else right now. I don’t care about Giannis’ season-long numbers; Kawhi Leonard is playing better two-way basketball than anyone in the NBA right now. And if the old adage is true that the team with the best player wins series in the playoffs, then the Raptors have a serious chance at winning this series. The Bucks won the season series 3-1, and have been resting for the past few days while the Raptors were involved in a gruelling 7 game series with the 76ers. They are the fresher team, the deeper team and will be entering this series as favourites. From a matchup perspective, both teams have capable defenders to throw on the opposing teams stars. Really, these games should be highly contested, low-scoring, grind-it-out affairs.
Game 1: Wednesday, May 15, in Milwaukee, 8:30pm
- Bucks use a big fourth quarter to win Game 1 to take a 1-0 series lead (108-100)
- Brook Lopez (MIL) scores 29 points in the win, Malcolm Brogdon (MIL) finishes a game high +18
- Kyle Lowry (TOR) scores 30 points on 7-for-9 shooting from long range
Game 2: Friday, May 17, in Milwaukee, 8:30pm
- Bucks blow by Raptors, take 2-0 series lead (125-103)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) scores 30 points, grabs 17 boards, three Bucks bench players finish in double-figure points
- Kawhi Leonard (TOR) scores 30 points on 10-for-18 shooting
Game 3: Sunday, May 19, in Toronto, 7pm
- Raptors win in double-OT to push series to 2-1 (118-112)
- Leonard finishes with 36 points, Pascal Siakam (TOR) scores 25 points and grabs 11 rebounds, Norman Powell (TOR) adds 19 points off the bench
- Brogdon and George Hill (MIL) combine for 44 points off the bench
Game 4: Tuesday, May 21, in Toronto, 8:30pm
- Raptors blow out Bucks to tie series at 2-2 (120-102)
- Lowry scores 25 points, Raptors bench combines for 48 points in the win
- Antetokounmpo scores 25 points, grabs 10 rebounds, Khris Middleton (MIL) finishes with 30 points
Game 5: Thursday, May 23, in Milwaukee, 8:30pm
- Raptors steal one on the road, take 3-2 series lead (105-99)
- Leonard scores 35 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, Fred VanVleet (TOR) scores 21 points (7-for-9 from long range)
- Antetokounmpo scores 24 points, Eric Bledsoe (MIL) scores 20 points
Game 6: Saturday, May 25, in Toronto, 8:30pm
- Raptors clinch first ever Finals berth after dispatching Bucks in six games (100-94)
- Leonard finishes with 27 points and 17 rebounds, Lowry scores 17 points and dishes out 8 assists, and Siakam adds 18 points in the win
- Antetokounmpo scores 21 points (on 7-for-18 shooting) and grabs 11 boards
(1) Golden State Warriors v (3) Portland Trail Blazers
That is what you call a gutsy effort. You have to be so impressed with the initiative and resolve shown by the Golden State Warriors. To lose your best or most productive player in the fourth quarter of game 5 and then to go on to close out the series in 6 games against the Houston Rockets is beyond impressive. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson reminded the world how this team won a championship before Kevin Durant arrived. Obviously the Warriors are not better without Durant, but what we saw was way more ball movement and team-play leading to more players getting involved and Steph and Klay being far more productive and efficient.
The Blazers, on the other hand, pulled off the incredibly hard task of winning a Game 7 on the road to advance to the Conference Finals. They will enter this series as heavy underdogs, but with an explosive backcourt themselves, and with the uncertainty surrounding Durant in this series, they will feel like they have a legitimate chance. With Jusuf Nurkic injured and limited front-court depth behind him, the Blazers were exposed by the Nuggets and struggled mightily with the inside threat of Nikola Jokic. In this series, however, they won’t have to deal with that as the Warriors don’t have an inside threat (unless DeMarcus Cousins makes a return sooner than expected). With that said, the Blazers don’t necessarily have any elite defenders either to deal with Curry and Thompson, which is why I expect this to be a high-scoring series where games will be won and lost on the offensive end.
Game 1: Tuesday, May 14, in Golden State, 9pm
- Warriors draw first blood, take 1-0 lead (116-94)
- Steph Curry (GSW) scores 36 points, Klay Thompson (GSW) scores 26 points
- Five Blazers finish in double figures in the loss
Game 2: Thursday, May 16, in Golden State, 9pm
- Warriors steal Game 2 from Blazers, take 2-0 series lead (114-111)
- Curry scores 37 points in the win, Thompson adds 24 points
- Damian Lillard (POR) and CJ McCollum (POR) combine to score 45 points, Seth Curry (POR) scores 16 points, grabs 4 steals off the bench
Game 3: Saturday, May 18, in Portland, 9pm
- Warriors push Blazers to the brink of elimination, take commanding 3-0 series lead (110-99)
- Curry scores 36 points, Draymond Green (GSW) finishes with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists
- McCollum scores 23 points in the defeat
Game 4: Monday, May 20, in Portland, 9pm
- Warriors sweep Blazers to advance to the NBA Finals (119-117)
- Curry finishes with 37 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists (played the entire second half and overtime), Green finishes with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists
- Lillard, McCollum, and Meyers Leonard (POR) combine for 84 points in the loss