As the end of May approaches, so too does the end of the NBA playoffs.
The sixteen-team tournament began just before the end of April. After a slew of grueling first round and second round match-ups, we are now firmly entrenched in the Eastern and Western Conference Finals.
The first round out west began with the (1)San Antonio Spurs facing the (8)Dallas Mavericks. The Spurs prevailed in seven games and went on to play the winner of the (4)Houston Rockets and the (5)Portland Trailblazers. Portland prevailed in six games but fell to San Antonio in a quick five-game semifinal series.
On the other side of the bracket, the (2)Oklahoma City Thunder outlasted the (7)Memphis Grizzlies in seven games. They went on to face the winner of the (3)Los Angeles Clippers and the (6)Golden State Warriors. The Clippers won in seven but fell to the Thunder in six games.
The Western Conference Finals now pits the two most recent conference champions against each other, with the Spurs leading the best-of-seven series two games to none against Oklahoma City.
In the Eastern Conference, the first round pitted the (1)Indiana Pacers against the (8)Atlanta Hawks. Indiana prevailed in seven games and then faced the (5)Washington Wizards, who defeated the (4)Chicago Bulls in five games. The Pacers defeated the Wizards in six games to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The other first round match-ups saw the (2)Miami Heat sweep the (7)Charlotte Bobcats in four games, while the (3)Toronto Raptors lost in seven games to the (6)Brooklyn Nets. Miami then dispatched Brooklyn in five games to reach the next round.
The defending NBA Champion Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals in six games. They will meet the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals in the second straight year. The Spurs beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals in six games as well.
*Numbers in parentheses indicate the team’s playoff seed.