#1 Seed Boston Celtics vs. #4 Seed Dallas Mavericks

Season Series: Boston 2-0 

The fellas got together and did a NBA Finals Prediction Show and also penned their outlooks and predictions for this legacy-filled NBA Finals.

Bryce’s Outlook and Prediction

This has to be one of the more interesting NBA Finals matchups in some time. The storylines alone have me hoping we get a great series. Kyrie Irving vs the Boston Celtics is always going to be entertaining. Two of the league’s rising superstars in Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum are battling it out for their first championship and arguably the “Face of the League” title. Kristaps Porzingis against the Dallas Mavericks. We’re in for a pretty entertaining series. Looking at these teams, we have one of the best offensive duos in Luka and Kyrie up against one of the league’s best defenses. 

Many downplay the Celtics’ path to the finals but they’ve simply done their job and taken care of business to get here. They are the league’s best team record-wise and have shown why throughout these playoffs. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been here before but ran into an experienced Golden State Warriors team, capping off their dynasty. This is a great chance for this duo to be taken seriously. Brown is coming off a great conference finals performance where he took home ECF MVP honors.

But most eyes will be on Tatum especially because of how he played the last time the Celtics were in the Finals. It’s time for them to step into that potential many have talked about their whole careers.

For Luka, the story is a little different. This is his first time leading his team to the Finals in his career and the route there was quite impressive. Beating the Clippers, Thunder, and Timberwolves commandingly, the Mavs are as ready as ever and eager to complete the mission. The way Luka has made his teammates look offensively in the playoffs has been incredible. PJ Washington, Derrick Lively, Derrick Jones Jr., and Daniel Gafford have become lob threats that no team has really had an answer for. You add in Kyrie’s ability to close high-stakes games, the Mavericks are a tough task for the Celtics.

But the Celtics are definitely capable of slowing them down. It’ll be interesting to see what their approach is in doing so. Getting Kristaps Porzingis back should be a big help as he’s someone who can spread the floor and open things up for Tatum and Brown. Jrue Holiday and Derrick White will be key in this series too. Both can get it done on both ends of the floor and be what the Celtics need to succeed. 

That being said, I have a feeling that the Mavericks will just be too much for the Celtics to handle. They’ve been more battle-tested and have dominated teams better than them up to this point. It’ll be a tough series for sure, but one that will end with the “underdog” hoisting up the Larry O’Brien trophy. 

X-Factors: Celtics – Jrue Holiday & Derrick White, Porzingis’ health. Mavericks – Derrick Lively & Daniel Gafford

Prediction: Mavericks in 6

Tariq’s Outlook and Prediction

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have led their franchise back to the NBA Finals. Kyrie is returning to the NBA Finals, and to Boston. Luka Doncic is playing in his first NBA Finals. For Boston, most knew they would be here, and haven’t been celebrated for their historic season. For Dallas, I wouldn’t say they came out of nowhere, but it is surprising to see them on this stage. The Mavs’s road was one of the toughest we’ve seen in years, ousting the Clippers, Thunder, and Wolves. On the other hand, the Celtics had some luck on their side, which happens for a team every playoff run, defeating the Heat, Cavs, and Pacers. 

The Celtics have the advantage in terms of talent, but I’d argue the Mavs do in terms of coaching. Adjustments and defensive gameplans are the key factors for this series. Jason Kidd must find a way to slow down the juggernaut that is Boston’s offense, especially with Kristaps Porzingis returning from injury. Joe Mazzulla will have to find a defense to mitigate the two-headed monster in Luka and Kyrie. The decisions on who guards Luka and Tatum will be interesting as well. Derrick Lively II, Daniel Gafford, and PJ Washington are the barometer for the Mavs, while Derrick White and Jrue Holiday will be for the Celtics. 

This series between two young superstars has no shortage of excitement, we could be seeing one of these guys definitively put their name with the all-time greats of this league. Tatum can write a wrong from 2022 and change the way he’s conversed about it, while Luka can add to an already insane resumé. 

Prediction: Celtics in 5

Pierre’s Outlook and Prediction

The highly anticipated NBA Finals have arrived, evoking excitement and nostalgia for countless NBA enthusiasts. Once again, we find ourselves on the brink of a star-studded showdown, with Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, and Kyrie Irving slated to showcase their exceptional skills on the grand stage. As the competition intensifies, the stakes have soared to unprecedented heights, amplifying the intrigue around numerous captivating storylines ready to unfold.

Which storylines am I suggesting? Let’s start with the Luka vs Tatum discourse. With the league’s future hanging in the balance, there’s no doubt that Luka is a generational player and an all-time great. However, is that all he is? Is he just a player with impressive numbers and All-NBA honors, or can he propel himself among the immortals, capture gold, and reach the highest level of success? On the other hand, since entering the league, Tatum has faced enormous spotlights and fair and unfair expectations.

Can he redeem himself from the 2022 NBA Finals, continue to build his resume as an Eastern Conference powerhouse, and solidify his position as one of the league’s best?

Let’s talk about the upcoming revenge tour. Kyrie Irving, known for making headlines, has recently joined the Dallas team and seems to have overcome his struggles. However, he still needs to confront one more challenge: his past in Boston.

After leaving the Boston team suddenly, Irving has had a tense relationship with Boston fans. He even gestured angrily towards the Boston crowd during his first return game at the TD Garden. Can he put all the negativity behind him and demonstrate that he has moved on from that difficult time?

All that’s left is for the series to play out, and the answers will unfold for themselves. For Dallas to win this series, they again have to rely on Luka and hope he still has plenty of magic left in this closing act. Secondly, Kyrie Irving has to turn back the clock and level up his play, similar to 2016 when he captured an NBA Championship alongside Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavs, making big plays and buckets no matter the time.

The defensive intensity for the Mavs has to stay strong. The Celtics will come out swinging, but you must weather the storm and stick around until you can strike. It is reminiscent of Fight Night Champion for all my gamers, where you spend 8/12 rounds surviving against Isaac Frost before you finally knock him down for the count. Lastly, Lively, PJ, and Gafford have to be active on the perimeter defensively to protect the paint and alter shots without fouling, which is a daunting task.

For the Celtics, you must play this series as if the whole season dominates. Key guys like Jaylen Brown and Derrick White must continue to play with a chip on their shoulders and continue their scoring ways. Jrue Holiday has to wreak havoc defensively, making it tough on the elite Mavericks guards. Last, Jayson Tatum has to separate himself from the field and show the world why he is who many believe he is. 

I think this series will be fun and exciting, but I’m going with the Cs here. In 5 games, they have enough bodies to hinder Luka long enough to take control, giving Tatum his first NBA Championship.    

Prediction: Celtics in 5

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