Article written by Nicholas Lane Rat Pack Sports NBA Insider
The second round of the playoffs provided a lot of drama and hard-fought battles to get to the conference finals. We had everything from a star fail as a leader, Toronto won a tough series vs Philly and Portland surprised the league by beating Denver. Follow me as we preview the Conference Finals and who will represent their respective conference in the NBA Finals.
Portland Vs Golden State: This is an interesting series with superstar Kevin Durant out with a calf injury and DeMarcus Cousins out with his torn quad he suffered vs the Clippers. This gives us what the Warriors looked like before Durant and Cousins joined the team and despite this Portland is in trouble. Golden State still has enough shooting, defense, close out on three’s and a good coach in Steve Kerr to win this series easily. Portland is going to struggle with how fast Golden State is on defense this will cause Portland to turn the ball over too much and force tough shots from Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Portland has a shot with Golden State being shorthanded, but they must take advantage of this and get high scoring totals from there terrific backcourt. Portland needs to realize that they can’t play Kanter more than 20 minutes a game in this match up due to his inability to close on shooters that Golden State has. Myers Leonard is unplayable due to a worse version of Kanter, Zach Collins will have to play as many minutes as Stotts can give him he is the best chance to cover more ground and rim protect on defense. Golden State is proving so far, they don’t need Durant and will advance to the NBA Finals in a convincing 4-1 series win.
Milwaukee Vs Toronto: Milwaukee made quick work of Boston and will look to win this series vs an opponent that will give them a tough match up. Milwaukee has too much shooting, Head Coach Mike Budenholzer is better than Nick Nurse, good enough depth, Middleton and Bledsoe is better than Gasol and Lowry, Giannis Antetokounmpo is slightly better than Kawhi Leonard and despite that matchup being must see TV the Bucks just have too much and will take this series.
Toronto will have to see if Serge Ibaka can morph into himself like he was on the Thunder and become a series changing player especially on defense. Toronto has no rim protection besides Ibaka and Kawhi and they will need any and all they can get if they have a chance to win this series. Both teams have a good defense they both play physical and have good personal coming off the bench. It just looks like Milwaukee has players that are ready for the big moment this will matter at the times when the starters come out. This series will present close games and great moments from both teams, Milwaukee will win 4-2 setting up a terrific match up vs Golden State that would be a great series and a tough one to call until it happens.