We’re almost there.
The NBA Finals are underway and we’re looking forward to seeing if the Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and the Chicago Bulls have enough firepower to make a run at the title.
Here are five things to watch in the next two weeks.
The Warriors and Cavaliers: The Warriors are headed to the Finals.
The Cavaliers are headed for the Western Conference Finals, and that’s the best shot they’ve had to make it to the finals since their title run ended in 2011.
That streak of success could be broken.
But with the league’s best defense, Stephen Curry’s offense and Kevin Durant’s defense, the Warriors and Cavs will be battling for supremacy, especially against teams with the potential to be elite in the future.
And with the Warriors’ big man Draymond Green still injured, it will be a test for everyone to see whether or not the team can find its groove.
The Thunder and Bulls: This is a matchup to watch.
The Bulls are in a playoff position, but their road to the playoffs has been a long, drawn-out slog.
If they can get the same kind of run in the playoffs they did in 2015-16, they could have a chance to win the title, even if they fall short.
If that happens, they’ll need to take a step back to rest some key pieces and focus on the next step.
The Rockets, meanwhile, are in the midst of a rebuild and the return of Kevin Durant.
With that in mind, it’s hard to see them coming back to the postseason.
The Celtics and Thunder: The Celtics have lost their best player, Al Horford, for the year and will likely be without Kevin Garnett, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and a host of other key contributors.
That’s why they’re still in the playoff hunt.
If Boston can get past the Heat and win its final three games, it could have the potential for a big run.
The only question is whether the team’s new coaching staff can turn things around.
The Bucks and Hawks: Both the Bucks and the Hawks are heading into the playoffs in a different fashion.
The Hawks are on pace for their worst season since the 1970s and have struggled to stay afloat since the All-Star break.
But they’re loaded with talented players, especially in the frontcourt, and could make a push for the playoffs if they continue to work their way back into the playoff picture.
That will be an important task for the Hawks.
The Pelicans and Raptors: It’s a different situation for the Pelicans.
The team is in a rebuilding phase after a dismal season in 2016-17.
The bench has struggled, and they’ve lost several key players, most notably center DeMarcus Cousins.
The addition of point guard Buddy Hield will be huge for the team.
But if the team continues to struggle, it might not be a team that can be relied upon to compete in the postseason, especially if the offense continues to slide.