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May 15, 2018

NBA CONFERENCE FINAL GAME ONE RECAPS, 2018 PLAYOFFS

The Conference finals kicked off this Sunday with LeBron's eighth straight Eastern Conference Finals appearance. This Cavaliers-Celtics matchup is one many NBA fans predicted at the beginning of the season. The Cavaliers took a very circuitous route to get this point. They underwent a complete team makeover midway through the season, entered the playoffs as fourth-seed then got pushed to the brink of elimination in the first round. But as has been the case for the better part of the last decade, LeBron found a way to make it back to the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston has also taken a unique path to this series. Without Hayward or Kyrie, many were calling a first-round upset in their meeting with the Bucks. They survived that series in seven, then went on to take out the red-hot 76ers in five games. 

Despite the gentleman's sweep of Philly, and having home-court advantage in game one, the Celtics were looked upon as underdogs on Sunday. But, they looked more like faves than dogs, as they walked away with a decisive, wire-to-wire 25-point victory. It doesn't take an avid sports fan to figure out how Boston did it, they shut LeBron down. The King only had 15 points, his lowest mark since he was held to 11 by the Rockets in February. The supporting cast couldn't do their part for the Cavs as J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, George Hill, Jeff Green, and Tristan Thompson were all held under ten points. Kevin Love was the team leader with 17 points, but any of that offense was offset by Boston repeatedly taking advantage of his weak defense. For the Celtics, Marcus Morris came up big with 21 points and 10 rebounds for 32 fantasy basketball points. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 23 points to go along with 8 rebounds for 38.1 fantasy basketball points. 

The Celtics and Cavs play game two on Tuesday night. Will LeBron bounce back as we have seen him do time and time again, or have the Celtics found the recipe to quiet the King? 

In the West, we had the much anticipated Houston-Golden State series kick off on Monday. If there is a team that could possibly knock off the Golden State juggernaut it would be Houston. The Rockets ran away with the Western Conference and have possible MVP James Harden having his career year. The Warriors looked like they had something to prove on Monday though, defeating the Rockets 119-106. James Harden played typical James Harden isolation basketball but did manage to drop 41 points for 55.3 fantasy basketball points. The problem was, with Houston's lack of ball movement no one else was able to get much going for the Rockets. Only six Rockets had any made field goals, and that doesn't include P.J. Tucker who started the game and was 0-3 from the field in 35 minutes of play. The Rockets will not be able to continue to play that style of basketball and expect to beat a team like the Warriors with a coach like Steve Kerr in a seven-game series. With Curry and Green held pretty quiet, Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 37 points as he seemed to be able to score at will against a smaller Rockets line-up. Klay Thompson had 28 points on 6 made threes out of a crazy 15 attempts for a 40.8 fantasy basketball point night. 

Game two is played on Wednesday night. Unless the Rockets can find an answer for Durant on defense and learn to create some space on offense the game is going to be very tough for them to win. We will continue to hold two-day NBA contests as long as there are games on back to back nights. Continue getting your lineups in at Draftboard as both the fantasy season and the postseason wind down. 

Dan Quinn
CEO, Draftboard.com