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Gareth Bale
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NBA Playoffs: Boston Bag Another Gentleman’s Sweep While Luka Doncic Dazzles OKC

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The “We want Boston” chants at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse a few days ago certainly didn’t age well, as the Boston Celtics easily cruised past the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games to book their tickets to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. This marks Boston’s third consecutive trip to the ECF—six in the last eight seasons, to be exact—cementing their dominance in the East during the Jayson Tatum era.

Despite not having the services of their literal big offseason signing, Kristaps Korzingis, Jaylen Brown and the rest of the boys from Bean Town proved that their dominant run in the regular season was no fluke.

Although, it certainly helped that the Cavs’ main contributors, Jarrett Allen and Donovan Mitchell, went down to injuries. But as avid basketball fans all know, the NBA postseason folklore is riddled with series-defying injuries, and unfortunately, the Cavs are the latest victims of this curse.

To entertain every narrative, Jayson Tatum has been under the microscope since the start of the postseason, as the 26-year-old superstar has been struggling to find consistency in his stroke. The Duke University standout uncharacteristically boasts 41/26/85 shooting splits, showing a drastic dip in efficiency from what he was producing during the regular season.

However, on the other side of the coin, the Celtics leader is doing a superb job of facilitating, rebounding, and defending in the playoffs. His counting stats have seen a considerable uptick despite his poor shooting performances, and luckily for him, he has a star-studded team to pick up the offensive responsibilities while he figures things out.

Now, Joe Mazzulla and the rest of his outfit can, even for just a short while, put their feet up as they wait for the winner of the series between the Knicks and the Pacers. There’s no doubt that the Celtics will be guns blazing against whoever they’ll face in the Conference Finals.

Could this finally be the year the Celtics win it all?

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, need to sort a lot of things out on their way to Cancun. Notably, the Cavs organisation will have to deal with the looming question mark over the heads of Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, and Darius Garland, who are all entering pivotal stages in their contracts next season.

J.B. Bickerstaff also faces uncertainty moving forward. Despite leading the injury-riddled Cavs to the fourth seed in the East with a series win to boot, Bickerstaff might still find himself riding the NBA head coach carousel in the offseason.


The Luka Magic show arrives in OKC

NBA: Luka Doncic exploded with a triple-double stat against the Thunder in Game 5
Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic reacts after scoring in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma City Thunder

Despite being the NBA 2024 odds underdogs entering Game 5 of their best-of-seven series against the Thunder, the Doncic-led Mavericks got the job done with a 92-104 win at Paycom Center.

Prior to tipoff, Coach of the Year winner Mark Daigneault made NBA 2024 news headlines as he opted to move Josh Giddey to the bench. As pivotal as Giddey has been for the success of OKC in the regular season, the Australian’s inability to space the floor and his struggles to shoot from beyond the arc became a glaring problem for the Thunder all throughout the series.

It wasn’t a surprise that their Game 5 clash would be an all-out dog fight, and true enough, both teams gutted it out for the entire contest.

Luka’s first magic trick came five minutes into the first quarter, when he tossed up an awkward looking floater right inside the arc as he tried to get a whistle. After seeing that shot hit nothing but net, this SBOTOP writer immediately assumed that it was going to be a long night for OKC.

While the Thunder found success in providing the proper mismatch for their star point guard, SGA’s masterful middy was no match for Luka’s magnum opus of the series. The Mavericks leader posted a 31-10-11 triple-double, and it was enough to give the Mavs a 3-2 series lead amidst the pedestrian performance of Kyrie Irving. Even with SGA’s 30-piece, it was evident that Luka Doncic was the best player on the court in that game.

However, as Mamba famously said, “Job’s not done.” It would be foolish to prematurely count the Thunder out of their championship bid, especially now when their backs are against the wall heading to Dallas for Game 6.OKC finished the regular season as the best team in the Wild West, then proceeded to sweep the happy-to-be-here Pelicans in the first round. This will be their first major hurdle in the postseason, and it’ll be interesting to see how the young but mature Thunder outfit deal with convincing opposition when it matters most.




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