The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

NBA Finals Preview/Playoff Recap

On May 30, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 124-103 to advance to the NBA Finals, setting up their matchup with the Boston Celtics.  Both of these teams have played very hard to reach this point, but they have done it in different fashions.

The Celtics dominated the Eastern Conference in the regular season, finishing as the first overall seed.  Boston had a record of 64-18, which was seven games better than the first-seed in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma Thunder, and fourteen games better than the second-seed in the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks.

On the other hand, the Mavericks had been inconsistent all year, as they sat at eighth in the Western Conference in the middle of March.  However, the Mavs, led by their MVP candidate Luka Doncic, went on a 16-4 run to end the year.  The run propelled them to the fifth seed in the West.  Despite their different seeding, the two teams have dominated the playoff competition and are now set up for what is expected to be an exciting series.  

“I’m super excited for this Mavs versus Celtics series.  The Mavs have owned the West so far in the playoffs and I think they keep this hot streak going and win in six  games versus Boston,” said sophomore Cal Lundberg.  

The Celtics road to the Finals began in the first round when for the fourth time in five years, they matched up with the Miami Heat in the playoffs.  However, without their star Jimmy Butler, Miami struggled to get anything going, and the Celtics won in five games.  

Following this series, the Celtics would take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference semifinals.  Once again, the series was dominated by Boston, as they would defeat the Cavs in five games.  Even though the Cavaliers dominated Game 2, the rest of the series was all Boston, with the only other competition from the Cavs coming in a seven point loss in Game 4.

After defeating the Cavaliers, the Celtics would move onto the Eastern Conference Finals, where they would take on the Indiana Pacers.  Despite the Celtics sweeping the Pacers in four games, Indiana may have put up the best fight Boston has faced so far.  Boston dominated Game 2, but Games 1, 3, and 4 were all within five points, with the Celtics just pulling away in the late moments in each game.  

“As a Celtics fan, I’m happy with our performance to get here.  But I think the Mavs will definitely be our best challenge yet, so we need to be ready,” said sophomore Noah Gould.  

The Celtics have been led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who have each averaged over 25 points per game in the playoffs.  This duo will look to continue to produce as they prepare to take on the Mavericks.  

On the other side of the league, the Mavericks began their playoff journey in Los Angeles, when they took on the Clippers.  The series was tightly contested through the first four games, with each side taking two apiece.  After a dominating 30 point victory in Game 5, the Mavs edged out the Clippers 114-101 in Game 6 to advance.  

In the following series, the Mavericks headed to Oklahoma City, where they took on the first-seeded Thunder.  OKC dominated Game 1, but Games 2-5 were all within single digits, with Dallas taking three of the four games.  This set up a key Game 6, with the Mavericks leading the series 3-2.  The Thunder led by 17 in the third quarter, but a triple double from Luka Doncic helped the Mavericks outlast the Thunder 117-116, sending them to the Western Conference Finals.

There, they met the Minnesota Timberwolves in a series that the Mavs dominated from start to finish.  They took the first three games of the series with ease, before losing a tight Game 4.  Nevertheless, they would bounce back to dominate Game 5 and advance to the NBA Finals.  Throughout the playoffs, the Mavs have been led by the duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, who have accounted for nearly half of the team’s total points.  They now prepare to match up with the Celtics in the NBA Finals, in what may be their toughest test yet.  

“The Mavericks have done a great job of adjusting and making a deep run this year after missing the playoffs last year.  It will be fun to see what they can do against a loaded Celtics roster,” said junior Harry Gindi.  

It remains to be seen if the Mavericks roster changes are enough to lead them to the Larry O’Brien trophy, which they have not won since 2011.  They will face a hungry Celtics team, who look to recapture the glory that Boston enjoyed during their dynasty in the 1960s.  The series is set to begin on Jun. 6, as we await to see who will be crowned champion in 2024.