There are eight teams remaining as we head into the NBA Conference semi-finals and some players looking to be hitting top form at just the right time.
We may have lost the Milwaukee Bucks and the Memphis Grizzlies, but the defending champions Golden State Warriors and the joint-most successful NBA team of all-time, the Los Angeles Lakers, still remain.
Golden State avoided a first-round playoff exit, thanks to another brilliant display from Steph Curry which helped them to see off the Sacramento Kings.
The four-time NBA champion scored a playoff-best 50 points at the Golden 1 Center, to see off the Kings on their home court and seal a 4-3 series victory.
The defending champions were two points behind at half-time, but Curry stepped up and saw the Warriors home by 20 points, with a 100-120 victory.
Not only did the 35-year-old score 50 points, but he also claimed eight rebounds and six assists as GSW made the Conference semi-final for the seventh time in the last nine years.
The Point guard has averaged 33.7 points per game so far in the seven post season encounters, while Klay Thompson has chipped in with a 20.6 average.
The Warriors will have to turn the table on the Lakers though, with Darvin Ham’s men having won three of the four regular season encounters, including a 113-105 success in the last meeting in March.
Curry and co. are 4/6 to win the best-of-seven series, while the 17-time champions the Lakers can be backed at 11/8.
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The Boston Celtics only needed six games to see off the Atlanta Hawks and star duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been two of the key reasons while they will be in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Both players are in the top 10 of the post-season points scorers, with Tatum averaging 27.2 points and Brown averaging 26.7.
It was Brown that top scored in Friday’s 120-128 win over the Hawks, while four-time All Star Tatum fired 30 points and also chipped in with 14 rebounds on the night.
The Celtics finished second in the East in the regular season and will now face the franchise that finished third, the Philadelphia 76ers.
Boston have had the upper hand over their opponents this season, winning three of their four regular season meetings with Tatum now 2/1 to be named the Finals MVP.
Miami Heat already hold a 1-0 lead over the New York Knicks in their Eastern Conference semi-finals and the Knicks have to find a way to stop Jimmy Butler.
The Heat’s Small forward is seeking his first NBA title at the age of 33 and his form in the playoffs has been incredible, draining 56 points in Game 4 against the Bucks.
Butler then followed that up with 42 in Game 5 and helped Miami to an early lead against the Knicks, with 11 rebounds and 25 points – taking his post-season average to 35.5 points.
Game 2 is also at Madison Square Garden and another win for the Heat will put them in pole position to make it through to the Eastern Conference finals.
Miami, who haven’t won the NBA Championship since 2013, are currently 2/5 to win the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, six-time NBA All Star Butler is 8/1 to be crowned Eastern Conference Finals MVP.
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