The Highlander

NBA playoffs: the battle for the ages

The 2018 NBA playoffs takes off with tremendous excitement

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Cleveland Cavalier forward LeBron James

Cleveland Cavalier forward LeBron James

Cleveland Cavalier forward LeBron James

Michael Redding, Reporter

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With the NBA playoffs under way, the Cleveland Cavaliers have had their fair share of tough battles. Led by NBA all star LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers have had a journey filled with trials and tribulations leading them to the Boston Celtics. From their first round challenge of the Indiana Pacers who gave them an abrupt greeting in the form of Victor Oladipo scoring 28 points in game 6 to take the Cavs to game 7. However, the King, LeBron James, held his ground, responding back to the pacers with a finishing blow of 45 points to seal the series 4-3 in the Cavs favor.

With the pesky Pacers out of the way, the King and his Cavaliers moved on to the highly regarded Toronto Raptors who were placed at the first seed of the Eastern conference. Putting rankings aside, the Raptors proved no match for the Cavs as the King had a prolific performance of 43 points, 14 assists, and 8 rebounds which showed the Raptors and the city of Toronto who owned Jurassic Park. However, the Raptors responded with vigor in game 3 as the game came down to the wire in the fourth quarter.

But unfortunately for the Raptors, the Cavs obtained position of the ball, calling the King to action and he responded instinctively, hitting the game winning shot. With the heart breaking conclusion for Raptors fans, the Cavs celebrated in sheer triumph and joy, as Cavs players collapsed on LeBron. Leading on to game four, the King showed no mercy to finally put the squeamish Raptors to rest. With an exceptional game for the King consisting of 29 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds the Raptors had powerful end to their season as they were swept.

“I think LeBron James has played some of the best basketball of his career during this season and I believe he will carry the Cavs to another championship,” senior David Gartner said.

Leading up to the present, King had his break and now battles the Boston Celtics for the Eastern conference finals.With game one under way, the Cavs fell in an under-performing fashion as the King only had 15 points. Game 2 was fought in a triumphant fashion as the King battled his heart out, scoring 42 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds. However the King’s efforts were not enough as the Cavs fell 94 – 107. Even with the help of dominant big man, Kevin Love, who scored 22 points, the Cavs were left in the dust in the 2nd half. Celtics player Jaylen Brown had a polished performance of 23 points as well as 7 rebounds along with Terry Rozier’s 18 points and Al Horford’s solid 15 points.

“The Celtics have had an above average regular season and I think they will shine the brightest in the playoffs,” senior Billy Erdahl said.

Looking at the Western conference, all eyes are on the Houston Rockets and Golden state Warriors as the two titans have clashed previously during the season, concluding with a Warriors victory, but the Rockets are hungry and look to over through the recent NBA champions. The biggest difficulty for the Rockets while matching up with Golden state has been the defensive assignment of Kevin Durant. During game 1, Durant was guarded by three players including, Chris Paul, James Harden, and Trevor Ariza. However, they did not hold Durant very consistently, as Durant scored 37 points in a dominant fashion, leaving the Rockets in the dust.

With the determined run by the Utah Jazz who were led by promising rookie Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz took care of the higher seed Oklahoma city Thunder in a grit filled style. With Mitchell’s dominant 38 point performance to seal the series 4-2 in favor of the Jazz, the team moved on to play the Houston Rockets in the second round of the playoffs.

(All photos obtained via Google images under a Creative Commons license)

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