The NBA Conference finals begin on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday. Missing the conference finals for nearly 20 years, Portland and Milwaukee are making their comeback with the NBA Finals in sight.
The NBA season is in full swing and is approaching its climax with the conference finals. In the West, the Golden State Warriors consolidate their total domination with a 5e consecutive final, while the Toronto Raptors take the place of the Cleveland Cavaliers, dominators during 4 consecutive seasons. Faced with two franchises frequently present among the best records of the NBA in recent seasons, the Milwaukee Bucks and Portland Trail Blazers will try to overthrow their opponents after a long famine.
Milwaukee, a genius named Antetokounmpo
In the 2000-2001 Eastern Conference Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks are opposed to the Philadelphia Sixers. With the home advantage, Allen Iverson and Dikembe Mutombo's Sixers win in Game 7. The Wisconsin franchise sees its "Big Three" of Ray Allen, Sam Cassell and Glenn Robinson disappear two years later and after eliminations in the first round of the play-offs 2002 and 2003. Despite getting Andrew Bogut first choice of the 2005 draft, the Bucks fail to cross the course of the first round. The franchise situation worsened between 2006 and 2009 for Milwaukee, which finishes among the 3 worst results of the Eastern Conference. In 2010, Scott Skiles' men are one step away from the first round of playoffs, before collapsing against the Cleveland Cavaliers in their last two meetings of the series. The slap imposed by the Miami Heat (4-0) in the first round of the play-offs 2013 is a blow to the franchise.
Giannis Antetokounmpo at the duel with Bam Adebayo
The NBA draft of 2013 marks a renewal for the Bucks, who select a young Greek named Giannis Antetokounmpo, as 15e choice. The franchise is also bought during the season. However, Milwaukee has a catastrophic season and finishes with the worst record of all the NBA during the 2013-2014 season (15 wins, 67 losses). The franchise is rebuilt around "Greek Freak" and his extraordinary athletic abilities (2.11m, 110 kilos, 2.21m wingspan). The latter is named "Most Improved Player" in 2017 despite a elimination against the Toronto Raptors, in the first round. The scenario is repeated the following season against Kyrie Irving's Boston Celtics. After several years of rebuilding a franchise and a squad, Wisconsin players finally reach the Eastern conference final, after 8 failures in the first round of the playoffs and a few seasons at the bottom of the standings. Opposed to Kawhi Leonard's Toronto Raptors who have not dropped anything against Philadelphia, Giannis and his team-mates will be looking to grab their first NBA final since 1974, when the franchise was still in the West and legend and MVP Kareem-Abdul Jabbar evolved for the deer.
Crossing the Portland Desert
The Oregon franchise had its best years in the 1990s with its many bloody stars: Rasheed Wallace, Shawn Kemp, Scottie Pippen. In the NBA final against the 1992 Bulls of Jordan, Portland will never win the supreme title with his team, nicknamed the "Jail Blazers" because of the frequent involvement of the players with justice. In the 1999-2000 Western Conference Finals against Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal's Los Angeles Lakers, the Blazers lost a 13-point lead and lost in an explosive game in California. Four years later, the franchise will see its series of participation in play-offs interrupted, after 21 years of consecutive presence. A record this year by Spurs of San Antonio and their 22 participations in the following. The white years followed for Portland and the number 1 pick of the 2007 draft, Greg Oden, was a failure: the pivot was injured in the preseason in his rookie season and was injured again in his first game in the Blazers' jersey. in 2008. In 4 seasons on the Oregon side, he played only 82 regular-season games and 6 games during the 2009 play-offs.
In 2012, the franchise begins its reconstruction phase. The nomination of Terry Stotts and the selection of Damian Lillard during the draft bring a wind of hope for fans of the Blazers. The leader, selected at 6e place, will be rewarded with a title of "Rookie of the Year". In 2013, CJ McCollum is selected by Portland during the draft and comes to support a team in full progress. The defeats against the Warriors and Pelicans in 2017 and 2018 do not demobilize the men of Terry Stotts.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollumZM / Panoramic
Despite the heavy injury of his pivot Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers managed to snag a first conference final in 19 years, after a crazy scenario against Denver Nuggets in match 7 of the semifinals of Western Conference. In the final against Stephen Curry's Warriors, the task seems tough, but Oregon players will not let go.
(tagsToTranslate) Basketball (t) basketball (t) euro (t) championships