These are the teams that advance to the conference finals in the NBA

Top-seeded Boston, largely on its way to a 4-1 first-round win over the Miami Heat, who played without Jimmy Butler, the player who tormented and broke the hearts of the Celtics in Game 7 of the Conference Finals from last season. They then won another series 4-1 in the second round against the Cleveland Cavaliers who were without their star Donovan Mitchell in the last two games.

The Pacers also saw some obstacles removed along the way. They needed six games to beat Milwaukee in the first round, which did not have Giannis Antetokounmpo. They went on to beat the series-leading New York Knicks 3-2 before stumbling upon a cluster of injuries that included a broken hand to All-Star Jalen Brunson during the Pacers' tilt in Game 7.

However, neither Boston nor Indiana are focused on the narratives surrounding the paths they traversed to get to this point. They're here. And starting with Game 1, Tuesday night in Boston, it's either the NBA Finals or a disappointment.

For the Celtics, that means obstructing reminders of the championship expectations they've been saturated with all season long.

“You have to focus on what really matters,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said. “That's your team. That's every possession in front of you. That's whatever your job is. ..Just being able to focus your mind on what's important because it's easy to get distracted.”

Indiana guard Tyrese Haliburton says the expectations they've had internally have always been high.

“We had preseason in Nashville – just the players, no coaches. That's what we communicated since it started. We expected to be here. “This is not a surprise to us.”


Indiana led the NBA with 123.3 points per game during the regular season, the sixth-highest average in league history. They were on top scoring 140 points on a record 11 occasions.

Haliburton and Siakam led the Pacers' attack against the Knicks. Haliburton averaged 21.3 points, shooting 53.8% from the field and 43.9% from three during the series. Siakam averaged 20 points, shot 52.8% from the field, and 40% from three. That made them the first duo to average more than 20 points, shoot over 50% from the field and exceed 40% effectiveness on three-pointers in a conference semifinals.

While Celtics star Jayson Tatum has shown some degree of inconsistency this postseason, he is still averaging 24.3 points and 10.4 rebounds. He also receives a lot of support from Brown (23.1 points, 6.9 rebounds per game), and Derrick White, who has raised his postseason numbers with averages of 18.2 points and a three-point accuracy of 43.5%.


This will be the seventh postseason meeting between the Celtics and the Pacers

The six previous meetings (1991, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2019) were in the first round, with four series won by Boston.

West in need of a new promise

Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks will compete in a Western Conference Final in which the winner will have the task of becoming the new promise of the NBA on their shoulders.

Luka Doncic has been one of the best players in the NBA for several years, but he needed a push to reach the place of the greats. That big step was achieved thanks to the presence of a veteran like Kyrie Irving.

Last year they were left out because these two pieces did not come together in the necessary Games, but now that is another problem for the rival.

Both are in charge of making the Mavs team's offense shine. Doncic decided to change his overwhelming scoring style, to be more organized and allow his teammates to score the points. At least that was seen against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Being covered by defenders, the Serbian suffered in scoring. That is why assists were his highlight. While Irving finished them as best he knows how.

If the Mavs win the Western Conference final series, they have a good chance of being total NBA champions. The main obstacle in this new stage will be a figure who earned his place among the greats. Yes, Anthony Edwards.

Edwards averages 28.9 points, 6.2 points and 5.9 assists in the 11 games he has played so far in these playoffs. The young 22-year-old player has also known how to reinvent himself on the fly, being able to realize that if the shots don't go in, like in Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets, he can and should also be a differentiating factor on defense.

Many compare him to Michael Jordan, after his style of attacking the rim from different points on the court.

LeBron James will turn 40 in December. Stephen Curry is 36. Kevin Durant will be 36 and Jimmy Butler will be 35 by the time training camps begin in the fall.

For years they have been the standout stars of the playoffs, the players who come up big in the big moments.

But it won't be like that this year. The next generation is no longer waiting its turn. They are here – a group of twenty-somethings, with one of them ready to be the best player on the team that will be crowned the best in the NBA in just a month.

Anthony Edwards is perhaps the most notable reference among the four finalists from both conferences for his rapid rise.

Eastern Conference Final: Boston Celtics vs Indiana Pacers

Game 1 – Tuesday, May 21, in Boston

Game 2 – Thursday, May 23, in Boston

Game 3 – Saturday, May 25, in Indianapolis

Game 4 – Monday, May 27, at Indianapolis

Game 5 – Wednesday, May 29, in Boston

Game 6 – Friday, May 31, in Indianapolis

Game 7 – Sunday, June 2, in Boston

Western Conference Final: Minnesota Timberwolves vs Dallas Mavericks

Game 1 – Wednesday, May 22, at Minnesota

Game 2 – Friday, May 24, at Minnesota

Game 3 – Sunday, May 26, in Dallas

Game 4 – Tuesday, May 28, in Dallas

Game 5 – Thursday, May 30, at Minnesota

Game 6 – Saturday, May 1, in Dallas

Game 7 – Monday, May 3, in Dallas