By Garrett Athey
The 2017 NBA season ended with a lot of unexpected twists and excitement as the final 16 teams were decided. The Boston Celtics outplayed the Cleveland Cavaliers to get the number one spot in the east, defying most people’s expectations that Cleveland was the Beast of the East. Other teams from the east that made the playoffs were the Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, and Chicago Bulls. The Golden State Warriors did hold true to their expectations and gained the number one seed in the Western Conference. The other Western Conference teams that made the playoffs this year were the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, and Portland Trail Blazers. These sixteen teams were the best of this season and deserved to be in the playoffs.
The first round of the playoffs in the east included the Boston Celtics beating the Chicago Bulls in six games after trailing early on in the series. The Cleveland Cavaliers dominated the Indiana Pacers as they completed the sweep of the series. The Washington Wizards were winners too as they beat the Atlanta Hawks in six games, and the Toronto Raptors saw success as well after beating the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. In the west, the Golden State Warriors swept the Portland Trailblazers with ease. The San Antonio Spurs beat the Memphis Grizzlies in six games, and the Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. The Utah Jazz surprised many as they beat the favored Los Angeles Clippers in seven games.
The second round featured a couple sweeps including the Warriors over the Jazz and the Cavaliers over the Raptors. The Spurs also moved on to face the Warriors as they finished off the Rockets in six games. The Celtics and Wizards had the closest series as they played all seven games. The Celtics were eventually victorious as they moved on to play the Cavaliers. With the Celtics win, the conference finals will feature the number one and number two seeds from each conference. Almost everyone expected the Cavaliers and the Warriors to be in this spot as they were in the finals last year. These two teams are the powerhouses of the NBA as they are stacked with the league’s best players.
As for champion predictions, the Warriors and the Cavaliers are heavily favored to win it all. The Warriors are a dangerous team with all their talent and flashiness. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green are a deadly group with all-star talent. Junior, Dalton Marshall likes the Warriors’ chances because, “Their three point shooting ability is unmatched in the league.” Curry and Thompson are easily the two best shooters in the league and cannot be left open.
The Cavaliers are another outstanding team and could easily take the championship home with their dominance. With stars like Kyrie Irving, Lebron James, and Kevin Love, Cleveland is a team to be reckoned with. Junior, Connor Hughes, likes Cleveland’s chances because “Lebron is the greatest player of all time and they have yet to be beaten in the playoffs.” If this matchup were to happen, the world would definitely be in for a great show.
With the season ending, the MVP race is also something to watch for as this year's race will definitely be a close one. The two favorites to win are Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and James Harden of the Houston Rockets. Both players had outstanding seasons and both deserve to win. Junior, Kyle Rumsey, believes Harden will win because, “His team made it farther in the playoffs, and that will be a big factor.” The Rockets did in fact knock the Thunder out of the Playoffs this season. However, Hughes feels Westbrook has the edge because “He averaged a triple double this season which has only been done by one other player.” Westbrook had a historic season and proved he was the most dominant player in the league. The final decision will be left to league officials to decide who win the most valuable player award.
In conclusion, this year’s playoffs were packed full of entertainment for everyone as the best players in the league showed off their talent. Lebron will always be a joy to watch because of is his display of aggressiveness and greatness. Curry offers mind boggling shots for fans as it appears that every shot he takes goes in. Westbrook is so explosive that everyone around him seems to be moving in slow motion. Durant and Harden are incredible all around players that dominate in every aspect of the game. The 2017 NBA season was unlike one ever seen in the history of the game and left fans in awe.