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NBA - US Sports – Conference Finals: Preview

We're down to the last four in this season's NBA play-offs and there are two thrilling Conference Finals to look forward to.

(This article was originally published on 16.05.2022) 

In the East, the Boston Celtics go head-to-head with the Miami Heat, while the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks collide in the West.

GSW are the current 7/5 favourites to go on and claim their seventh NBA title, with Boston available at 2/1, Miami can be backed at 4/1 and Dallas are the 13/2 outsiders. You can follow the action via our Sports Live Streaming platform.

Golden State experience will prove crucial

Dallas knocked out the top seeds in the West, in the Conference semi-finals, when seeing off the Phoenix Suns 4-3 with Luka Doncic again playing a pivotal role.

The man from Slovenia fired 35 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in the deciding game against the Suns – Doncic is currently second in the league for points scoring, averaging 31.1 per game.

The Mavericks only once failed to score 100+ points in a game against Phoenix, but a lack of play-off experience is the concern heading into this best-of-seven clash with Golden State.

Until this season, Dallas had failed to get past the first round of the play-offs since their title success back in 2010-2011 – in stark contrast to their opponents.

The Warriors have reached the NBA Finals in five of the last seven years and with Steph Curry now back to full fitness and pulling the strings, it looks ominous for the other three remaining teams.

Even with injury issues for their star man for spells this season, GSW have managed to deal with his absence and, in particular, Klay Thompson has stepped up to the plate when needed.

The experienced Shooting Guard has averaged 20.4 points per game and Thompson chipped in with 30 points in the Warriors' final win over Memphis.

Golden State are 5/12 to win the series, with Dallas – who have won three of the four meetings between the teams this season – can be backed at 2/1.

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In-form Celtics can take the Heat

Probably the biggest surprise of the play-offs so far was Boston's series success over the defending champions, Milwaukee Bucks, in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

The Celtics were just one game away from defeat with a 107-110 loss in Game Five, but Ime Udoka's men showed the fight that helped them finish strongly to clinch second spot in the East.

Jayson Tatum and Grant Williams shone again in Game Seven against the Bucks, but it's the Celtic's defensive prowess that has stood out over recent weeks.

They kept Giannis Antetokounmpo to just 25 points in the decider and in Robert Williams III, they have a player who is averaging 1.8 blocks a game.

Tatum is the number one offensive weapon for Boston, averaging 29.5 during the play-offs and the 24-year-old is currently available at 5/2 to be named the Finals MVP.

Miami – who finished top of the Eastern Conference - had the most comfortable passage through to the last four, with a 4-2 success over the Philidelpha 76ers.

Jimmy Buttler has enjoyed a brilliant season for the Heat, averaging 28.7 points per game – which included 32 points in the final game against the 76ers.

But despite having a better regular season record, Miami have lost two of their three previous meetings with the Celtics – who are 20/33 to make it to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

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