The NBA playoffs are well under way and as exciting as ever as the teams battle it out to make to the finals. Currently, the playoffs are at the semi-finals stage, with the Eastern and Western conferences both close to deciding who will be contesting the Conference final.
At the moment, things are looking good for the Miami Heat, who have made to the Conference final, and soon fans will find out whether they’ll be up against the Boston Celtics or the Milwaukee Bucks. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns are tied 3-3 with the Dallas Mavericks, and the Golden State Warriors are leading the Memphis Grizzlies are leading 3-2, so there’s everything to play for.
Who are the favorites?
Anyone checking out the NBA finals odds will see the original odds that predicted the Suns and the Bucks would make it through to the finals are diminishing. Sportsbooks feel a repeat of the previous NBA final, in which the Bucks won their first NBA final since 1971, is less likely than they first thought. The Bucks were the fifth team in NBA history to come back from a 2-0 deficit to take the finals (they won 4-2).
So now, only one team in that prediction remains, however, and that’s the Suns, who have received +290 on the betting lines. Not far behind them are the Golden State Warriors at +300, and only a little behind them are the Boston Celtics, who are enjoying +340 on the betting lines.
The Suns may be the favorites, but they’re not having the easiest road to the conference final, if they’re to make it. Right now they have to get past the Dallas Mavericks, who forced the series to go all the way to the seventh game, thanks to 33 points from Luka Dončić and a 113-86 win in Game 6.
The Suns made relatively short work of their previous playoff opponents, the New York Pelicans, in the quarter finals. They won the series 4-2. The Mavericks, however, appear to be a much more even match. They dispensed with the Utah Jazz in the same way in the quarter finals, by also ending the series on the good side of 4-2.
Suns key players
Two players are going to be instrumental if the Suns are going to take the title: Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
All the time spent on the court is allowing Chris Paul to go from strength to strength, and his legendary basketball IQ is growing sharper and sharper as time goes on. His uncanny knack of decoding and defeat every defensive cover in the league has transformed into a terrifying offensive weapon for the Suns.
Meanwhile, Devin Booker possesses deadly accuracy when it comes to shooting and is comfortable shooting from all over the court. He has a special fondness and talent for shooting from mid-range, and he’s not scared to throw a 3-pointer either.
Golden State Warriors
If the Suns don’t lift the NBA title, the sportsbooks feel it will be the Warriors who will have the pleasure of doing so.
But if they’re going to do that, they first have to put one last nail in the 2022 playoff coffin of the Memphis Grizzlies to advance to the conference final. The Warriors are leading the boys from Memphis in the series and need one more win to cement their place in the final. Injuries during the regular season to Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green, however, could be threatening their chances of clinching that spot.
The Warriors have already shown their grit and short supply of mercy by sending the Denver Nuggets home with a 4-1 series win in the quarter finals. The Grizzlies, however, have made it abundantly clear they’re in no mood to be going home just yet, after staving off elimination in Game 5 with a 134-95 win over the San Francisco boys.
Key players for the Warriors
Stephen Curry is going to be hugely influential. He’s one of the most complete players in the NBA, although he’s a shooter through and through, displaying precision shooting outside of the D but also executing pinpoint shooting from the charity stripe. His passing and dribbling are both highly creative, and he has a real talent for steals. He’s simply a defensive player’s very worst nightmare.
Perhaps the only area where Curry struggles a little is in one-on-one defensive play, as he’s somewhat on the shorter side for an NBA guard. He’s a little turnover prone, too, and the Warriors could get hit with points against them unexpectedly.
The battle to reach the NBA finals is on, and the playoffs are providing all the drama and intensity they ever have done. Will the Suns emerge glorious in the finals? Or will the Warriors deprive them of the win that escaped them in 2021? The world will see very soon.