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Everything You Need to Know to Sound Like an Expert for the NBA Finals

Entertainment

Sat, June 08

The NBA finals are right around the corner, and it presents the perfect opportunity to get into sports even if you aren't a regular sports fan.

By the end of this article, you will be guaranteed able to flex your NBA knowledge around your friends and have a full comprehensive experience of watching the NBA Finals.

Background

For starters, the NBA, or National Basketball Association, is a reputed basketball league based in the United States, with 30 teams representing their respective states.

The 30 teams are split into two main divisions: the western conference, and the eastern conference, based on the location of the states that the teams are based in. Each team plays a total of 84 games in the regular season, and based on that record, the top 6 teams from each conference will move to the next stage of the league, known as the 'playoffs.'

The remaining teams in positions 7-10 on the points table will compete in a 'play-in' contest, where they each get only one chance before the final two teams move on to the playoffs. Now, with 16 teams in the playoffs, the final battle begins. Each team is matched up with another team based on their position and faces a 7-game series, where the team with a majority of 4 wins moves on to the next round. Lastly, there is what is known as a 'Conference Finals', where the final two teams standing in each conference face each other to move on to the grand league finals.

Following this structure, the Boston Celtics, captained by Jayson Tatum, clinched the No.1 Spot in the Eastern Conference and overcame a tumultuous path to the league finals after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, with a commanding 4-1 lead in the series.

Image Credit: Erik Drost - Wikimedia Commons

On the other hand, the Dallas Mavericks, led by Luka Doncic, ended up in fifth place in the Western Conference and defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 4-1 lead.

Image Credit: Erik Drost - Wikimedia Commons

Teams

Now, for the matter at hand: The NBA Finals 2024

Following a heartbreaking loss to the Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics have shown immense motivation this season, determined to secure the trophy this year.

On the other hand, making his finals debut this year, the 25-year-old Luka Doncic, leading the Mavericks into the Finals, is also fired up to secure the first ring of his career. The young star has five All-Star appearances, five All-NBA First Team appearances, and recently received the MVP (Most Valuable Player) Award in the Western Conference finals, having averaged an impressive 32.4 PPG (Points per Game).

However, Jayson Tatum is also a man of many accolades. He has two All-Star appearances, a Finals Appearance, and an average of 21.5 points in the 2022 Finals.

Key Players

Here are some names to watch out for, apart from the captains, in the 7-game Final between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks:

Boston Celtics:

1. Jaylen Brown

Named the MVP of the Eastern Conference Finals, Jaylen Brown averaged 29.8 points and 5.0 rebounds, with a game high of 40 points, in their four-game sweep against the Indiana Pacers. He played a key role in propelling the Celtics into the league Finals, and his posturizing dunks are definitely something to look out for!

2. Kristaps Porzingis

It is anticipated that Porzingis, a key role player who helps create space on the court, will revert to his previous form by the time of Game 1 of the Finals following a calf injury. He is a reliable three-point shooter and a threat on lobs. The Mavericks will have to put in more effort to get shots around the rim because of his rim protection and 2.0 game block average.

3. Derrick White

White has been the Celtics team's third star in the playoffs since Porzingis has been sidelined. He can score in bunches, as seen by his 38-point performance against the Heat in the first round, or he can fill the box score, as demonstrated by his 15-point, nine-assist, and six-rebound performance against the Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. His unpredictable offensive plays are a treat to watch!

Dallas Mavericks:

1. Kyrie Irving

The star has proven to be the best match alongside Luka Doncic, as the Mavericks would not have made it this far without his plays. Exhibiting strategic steals and deflection, Irving's presence has immensely impacted the team's gameplay. Moreover, he has averaged 7.5 points in the fourth quarter, which ranks fifth in the playoffs statistics leaderboard.

2. PJ Washington

As a key trade acquisition, he has been averaging over 15 points while shooting 38.3% from beyond the three-point line. His ability to get open, facilitate plays, and get floaters into the basket has been very helpful for the Mavericks. He has also showcased his defense skills by playing lockdown defense against the Timberwolves in the conference finals.

3. Dereck Lively II

In his rookie year, Dereck has shown immense potential by helping convert his team into a finals team, even though it is his first year experiencing the NBA atmosphere. His lobs are a factor to look out for, as he has been exhibiting a high success rate and getting useful second-chance opportunities for his team.

Conclusion

The Finals matchup will be intense, as both team captains will compete for their first championship. Only time will tell who will emerge victorious. As for the dates:

  • June 6: NBA Finals Game 1 - DAL at BOS (8.30 ET, ABC)
  • June 9: NBA Finals Game 2 โ€“ DAL at BOS (8 ET, ABC)
  • June 12: NBA Finals Game 3 โ€“ BOS at DAL (8:30 ET, ABC)
  • June 14: NBA Finals Game 4 โ€“ BOS at DAL (8:30 ET, ABC)
  • June 17: NBA Finals Game 5 โ€“ DAL at BOS (8:30 ET, ABC)
  • June 20: NBA Finals Game 6 โ€“ BOS at DAL (8:30 ET, ABC)
  • June 23: NBA Finals Game 7 - DAL at BOS (8 ET, ABC)

You might think that the Celtics' four home games are an unfair advantage against the Mavericks, but always keep in mind that in a situation like this, both teams are on equal ground!

With the stage set, pick your team to support, grab your popcorn, and get ready to witness and enjoy the NBA Finals 2024 as a newly established NBA expert!

Adhitha Chezhian

Writer since Jun, 2024 ยท 3 published articles

Adhitha Chezhian is a high school student, pursuing the IB Diploma at LMOIS. She enjoys participating in MUNs, and other conferences, and has won the Best Delegate Award in Harvard Model Congress, and represented India in SCoPA : GEM Youth Conference 2021 on COP26. She is very passionate about literature, and loves to take part in essay and other literary competitions worldwide.

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