NBA Playoffs Conference Finals Preview: Celtics vs. Pacers and Timberwolves vs. Mavericks

A trip to the 2024 NBA Finals is at stake as the Boston Celtics face the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Minnesota Timberwolves take on the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.

Celtics vs. Pacers: Eastern Conference Finals

The Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers will clash in the playoffs for the seventh time in history. The Celtics have won four of the previous six series, all ending in the first round. The Celtics, fresh off a decisive Game 5 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on May 15, will come into this series well-rested with five days of preparation before Game 1 on Tuesday.

In contrast, the Pacers had to fight hard to secure their spot, winning a road Game 7 at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks after being down 3-2 in the series. This marks the Pacers’ first conference finals appearance since 2014.

Boston has been a frequent visitor to the conference finals, making six trips in the past eight years. Despite their success, they will start the series without Kristaps Porzingis. The Pacers, on the other hand, have a healthy roster ready to compete.

Timberwolves vs. Mavericks: Western Conference Finals

The Western Conference Finals between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Dallas Mavericks promises to be a captivating series. While stars like Luka Doncic and Anthony Edwards will grab the headlines, the series may hinge more on defense than offensive fireworks.

Luka Doncic, who averaged 36.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 10.5 assists in two regular-season games against Minnesota, will be a key player to watch. This is only the second postseason meeting between these teams, the last one being in the first round of 2002, where Dallas swept Minnesota 3-0.

During the 2023–24 regular season, the Timberwolves had a 3-1 edge over the Mavericks. However, it’s worth noting that Doncic missed two of those games, and Kyrie Irving missed three. Moreover, those games occurred before Dallas acquired P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford at the trade deadline.

Dallas outperformed the Oklahoma City Thunder in the paint in the previous round, but they now face a stiffer challenge with Minnesota’s trio of big men—Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Kia NBA Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid.

As these teams battle it out, fans can look forward to intense competition and high-stakes drama as the journey to the 2024 NBA Finals continues.

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