The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)
The Final Four does not disappoint
The franchise with the most titles. The best player of this generation. The reigning champions. The probable MVP.
The NBA has its Final Four.
It certainly does not disappoint.
Boston’s win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night brought down the curtain on the postseason’s second round — one that wasn’t exactly loaded with drama, since it was the first time since 2002 that none of the NBA’s four conference semifinal series went past five games. Cleveland swept Toronto, while Houston, Golden State and the Celtics all prevailed by 4-1 counts.
Everyone gets to catch their collective breaths for a few days, with the league going dark until the weekend. Cleveland and Boston don’t tip off the Eastern Conference finals until Sunday, and the Warriors and Rockets start their West title series on Monday. And yes, the Cavaliers and Warriors are four wins away from a fourth consecutive meeting in the NBA Finals.
A few things to know going into the conference finals:
LEBRON, OF COURSE
Any list of anything this time of year basically has to start with LeBron James, still generally considered the best player on the planet even at 33 years old and in his 15th NBA season.
Cleveland’s star is trying to reach the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive season — something only four other players have done, and they were all Boston Celtics. Bill Russell went to 10 straight title series, Sam Jones and Tom Heinsohn went to nine, and Frank Ramsey went to eight.
James is already the NBA’s all-time playoff leader in points, steals and minutes played. He’s fifth in playoff wins with 152, behind only Derek Fisher (161), Tim Duncan (157), Robert Horry (155) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (154).
This is the eighth time Cleveland and Boston have met in the postseason. Boston has won four of the previous seven meetings, but Cleveland has won the last two — including the East finals last season.
This is only the third Golden State-Houston playoff meeting, and all have come in the last four seasons.
The Warriors are 2-0 in the series, winning both times in five games — the 2015 West finals and a firstround matchup in 2016.
Golden State is trying to reach the NBA Finals for the 10th time, a mark that two other franchises have reached.
The Los Angeles Lakers have made The Finals on 31 occasions (winning 16 titles), and the Celtics have gone 21 times (winning a leaguehigh 17 titles).
If the Warriors successfully defend their NBA title and go back-to-back, it’ll be the franchise’s sixth time as the last team standing — and would tie Chicago for the third-most championships in league history, behind the Celtics and Lakers.