We already knew that the Miami Heat and the Golden State Warriors would one of the two Final Four competitors in the NBA Playoffs.
It was just a question of whether it would be the Boston Celtics or Milwaukee Bucks that would face the Heat in the Eastern Conference.
And in the Western Conference, it was a shootout between the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns, the team with comfortably the best regular season record in the NBA, for the right to take on the Warriors.
Following two surprising Sunday Game 7 showdowns, we now know that it will be the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks that will go on to earn a shot at their respective Conference Championships.
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Underdogs Snatch Stunning Comeback Series Wins
Heading into the weekend, both the Celtics and Mavericks were 3-2 down in their best-of-seven series
However, the Mavericks won 113-86 to level their series with the Suns at 3-3, while the Celtics did the same with a 108-95 win over the Bucks, with Jayson Tatum scoring 46 points in a fantastic individual performance.
That set up two Game 7 showdowns on Sunday and neither game disappointed.
Celtics Outlast Champions Bucks To Progress
In the first of the two Game 7 deciders, the Boston Celtics produced a superb performance in
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 03: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after scoring against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second quarter of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at TD Garden on May 03, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
front of their home fans to clinch the series with a 109-81 victory over the outgoing NBA Champions.
The Bucks started the game well and had the early advantage, leading by sic at the end of the first quarter, but midway through the second quarter the Celtics began to draw closer and by the half, the Celtics led by five.
However, what followed was somewhat shocking as instead of a back and forth contest, the Celtics totally dominated the remaining two quarters, outscoring the Bucks by 10 in the third and then by 13 in the fourth to earn a massive 28-point Game 7 victory.
The Celtics hit a staggering 40% of all their three point attempts, the Bucks could manage just 12/1% and the Celtics also hit 42% of their field goals, forced 14 turnovers and hit 22 out of 55 three pointers, the Bucks managed just four out of 33.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 25 points, 20 rebounds and 9 assists were not enough as Grant Williams hit 27 points, including seven three point attempts, while Jayson Tatum added 23 pints, hitting 5/9 three pointers in the Celtics victory.
Much has been made of the Celtic’s stout defense over the last few months and on this showing, they are going to be the form team heading into their Final Four clash with the Miami Heat.
Doncic Inspires Magical Mavericks To Blowout Win Over Fancied Suns
This was the year Chris Paul would lead the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Championship. A stellar
DALLAS, TEXAS – APRIL 25: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after falling to the floor against Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Utah Jazz in the fourth quarter of Game Five of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 25, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
regular season and a straightforward win in the first round of the playoffs seemed to have the Suns on track.
They then got embroiled in a dogged battle with the Dallas Mavericks and led 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Dallas, which Dallas won 113-86 to set up Game 7 in Phoenix.
On home field, the Suns were expected to win but then they ran into a juggernaut called Luka Doncic who almost single-handedly extinguished the Suns hopes with one of the finest individual performances in playoff history.
With Chris Paul and Devin Booker having a poor night scoring, being well marshalled by the Mavericks defense, one of the most remarkable first half performances in playoff history saw the Suns score a total of 27 points.
Luka Doncic himself had managed 27 points, while Spencer Dinwiddie had also helped himself to 20 points by this time, as the Maverics led by a stunning 30 points at the half.
Dallas piled on the agony in the third, expanding that lead to 42 points as the Suns NBA Championship hopes evaporated in the face of this onslaught.
The Suns did reduce the deficit in the fourth quarter as they notched 40 points, but the Suns scored 31 to score one of the most stunning road wins in recent NBA history.
Doncic finished with 35 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists while Spencer Dinwiddie had 30 points and Jalen Brunson added 24, the trio scoring the vast majority of the Mavericks points.
Such was the Mavericks dominance they were even able to rest key men in the later stages of the game and give their back ups some court time.
No Suns players scored more than 12 points in what was a shocking collapse at home that just didn’t seem on the cards based on their regular season form.
What Are The Odds On Winning The NBA Championship?
With the much fancied Bucks and Suns now out of the reckoning, the price on the potential NBA Champions for 2022 has seen the Golden State Warriors shorten to +120, with the Boston Celtics now the +200 second favorites.
You can get the Miami Heat at +400, while the Mavericks are the +600 outsiders despite that stunning win over the Suns.
All those prices are available with UniBet Sportsbook and were correct at the time of writing but may have changed in the meantime.
Boston and Miami will kick off the Final Four with Game 1 of their Eastern Conference series on Tuesday night, while a day later, Golden State will host Dallas in the Western Conference series opener.
It promises to be an exciting couple of weeks as we work our way towards seeing which teams will compete for the NBA Championship.