The playoffs just haven’t felt the same since that thrilling Game 6 between the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors. Blowouts, unfortunately, littered the conference finals, especially in the east. The Dallas Mavericks only got thoroughly walloped in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, but it felt like they only had a chance to win a game for about 14 total game minutes outside of their Game 4 victory.
The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics traded blowouts throughout most of the series until Game 6 and 7. A furious Celtics comeback in Game 6 was stiff armed by Jimmy Butler, and Kyle Lowry making the biggest shot that he has made in a Miami Heat uniform. Then in Game 7, the Heat made an 11-0 run and for a couple of commercial breaks it felt like the Celtics could blow a series in which they were clearly the better team.
These conference finals weren’t huge on drama, but had plenty of great basketball to admire. At any moment, a player could steal the show by doing anything. Rebounding, scoring, defense, playmaking, it was all there from somebody in those 12 games. Fortunately for Adam Silver though, it ended with the best teams winning and the matchup that should make these NBA Finals the highest rated since 2018.
Here are the five players worthy — regardless of position —to be admired the most, and stay tuned for who gets the honor of having his name on my non-existent Conference Finals MVP trophy.