It has been an amazing season in the NBA and the action is still coming thick and fast as we reach the start of the Conference Finals. The winners of these two best of seven series of games will then go on to compete against each other in the NBA Championship game, for the chance to become the NBA Champions.

We have already seen a number of surprises in the playoffs already with both number 1 seeds in each conference, the Utah Jazz in the Western and the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern, eliminated in the conference semifinals. With the reigning champions, the Los Angeles Lakers also eliminated, we have four teams that many people may not have expected to reach this stage of the competition left standing.

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Let’s now take a closer look at the NBA Conference Finals, starting with the series that is already underway after the first game was played last night in Phoenix, Arizona.

NBA Conference Finals Preview

Western Conference

Phoenix Suns Vs Los Angeles Clippers (Suns lead series 1-0)

Phoenix Suns

  • Seeded – #2
  • Regular Season Record – 51-21

Playoff Performance

  • Vs Los Angeles Lakers W 4-2 (99-90, 102-109, 95-109, 100-92, 115-85, 113-100)
  • Vs Denver Nuggets W 4-0 (122-105, 123-98, 116-102, 125-118)
  • Vs Los Angeles Clippers 1-0 (120-114)

Key Players

  • Devin Booker

Without doiubt Booker has been one of the most impressive players in the playoffs this season. His triple-double against the Clippers, 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, was just one example where the Suns have ridden Booker’s talents to achieve the result they want. He will play a huge part if the Suns are to become NBA Champions.

  • Chris Paul

Although injured for the opening game of the series against the Suns, Chris Paul has been part of the dynamic attack with Devin Booker that has propelled the Suns towards success this season. His absence will be felt, but it may only be a short one, depending on when he comes out of the health and safety protocols imposed by the NBA.

Other Players – Deandre Ayron, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Cameron Payne, Jalen Smith, Dario Saric, Frank Kaminsky, Torrey Craig, Jevon Carter, Abdel Nader, Langston Galloway, E;Twaun Moore, Ty-Shon Alexander, Cameron Johnson

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Seeded – #4
  • Regular Season Record – 47-25

Playoff Performance

  • Vs Dallas Mavericks W 4-3 (103-113, 121-127, 118-108, 106-81, 100-105, 104-97, 126-111)
  • Vs Utah Jazz W 4-2 (109-112, 111-117, 132-106, 118-104, 119-111, 131-119)
  • Vs Phoenix Suns 0-1 (114-120)

Key Players

  • Kawhi Leonard

One of the most impressive players throughout the playoffs, Leonard’s play on offense and defense has been key to the Clippers progressing into the Conference Final. His 45 points against the Mavericks in Game 6 was the joint-highest points haul in his career. However, he was injured in Game 5 against the Utah Jazz and is questionable for the next game against the Suns.

  • Paul George

With Kawhi Leonard injured, Paul George has stepped up to the mark in his place netting 37 and 28 points in the last two games against the Clippers. A creative and intelligent player who is a playmaker as well as a point scorer, he will need to be on top form, especially while Leonard remains on the sidelines.

Other Players – Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins, Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, Serge Ibaka, Marcus Morris Sr., Reggie Jackson, Patrick Beverley, Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac, Jay Scrubb, Yogi Ferrell, Daniel Oturu, Patrick Patterson, Amir Coffey

Current Odds To Win Series

  • Phoenix Suns – 2/9
  • Los Angeles Clippers – 7/2

Our Tip

For me, if the Clippers were going to win in Phoenix, it would have been this game with Chris Paul unable to play. The fact they lost and could not stop Devin Booker makes me feel this is going to be a tough struggle for them here. They will win at least one, if not two games, but I think the Suns run out winners here. Take the Suns to win the series 4-2 which is a 4/1 chance at bet365.

Eastern Conference

Milwaukee Bucks V Atlanta HawksPokerStars Basketball Betting

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Seeded – #3
  • Regular Season Record – 46-26

Playoff Performance

  • Vs Miami Heat – W 4-0 (109-107, 132-98,113-84, 120-103)
  • Vs Brooklyn Nets – W 4-3 (107-115, 86-125, 86-83, 107-96, 108-114, 104-89, 115-111)
  • Vs Atlanta Hawks – 0-0

Key Players

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo

The “Greek Freak’ was the NBA MVP in 2020 and he is having another stellar season for the Bucks. He is the star performer in a very talented team and he has notched up several 30+ performances throughout the playoffs. In short, if the Bucks are to win this, then it will likely be the play of Giannis that leads them to victory.

  • Khris Middleton

Although he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons, Middleton has spent most of his career with the Bucks. He has been a clutch player in the playoffs, netting the winning basket with 0.5 seconds left in their opening playoff win over Miami, before hitting 38 points in another vital playoff win in Game 6 of the series against the Brooklyn Nets.

Other Players – Jrue Holiday, P.J.Tucker, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez, Donnie DiVincenzo, Brun Forbes, Jeff Teague, Bobby Portis, Jordan Nwora, Pat Connaughton, Axel Toupane, Justin Jackson, Sam Merrill, Elijah Bryant, Mamadi Diakite

Atlanta Hawks

  • Seeded – #4
  • Regular Season Record – 41-31

Playoff Performance

  • Vs New York Knicks – W 4-1 (107-105, 92-101, 105-94, 113-96, 105-94)
  • Vs Philadelphia 76ers – W 4-3 (128-124, 102-118, 111-127, 103-100, 109-106, 99-104, 103-96)
  • Vs Milwaukee Bucks – 0-0

Key Players

  • Trae Young

Since signing with the Hawks in 2018, Young has developed into one of the best young players in the NBA. On his playoff debut he joined Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and LeBron James in becoming only the fourth player to score over 30 points and 10 assists on their playoff debut. He is the beating heart of this Hawks team.

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic

Signed from the Sacramento Kings before the start of the current season, Bogdanovic didn’t make too big an impact at the start of the campaign but along with Collins and Capela in particular, he has become a key component of the team supporting their star man Young.

Other Players – John Collins, Clint Capela, Kevin Huerter, Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Onyeka Okongwu, Kris Dunn, Tony Snell, Solomon Hill, Brandon Goodwin, Bruno Fernando, Nathan Knight, Skylar Mays

Current Odds To Win Series

  • Milwaukee Bucks – 2/9
  • Atlanta Hawks – 7/2

Our Tip

So far, the Atlanta Hawks have delighted in upsetting the bookmakers’ odds by defeating both the Knicks and 76ers in the playoffs, but I think they may come unstuck against the Bucks here. Milwaukee should be buoyed by that crucial win over the Nets, and I just feel the Bucks defense and the star man Giannis have come together at the right time to lead them to victory. The Hawks won’t go down without a fight though, so I would take the Bucks to win this series 4-3 at 7/2 with bet365 Sport.