May 2024

An Early Look at the 2024 NBA Finals: 5 Teams to Watch

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As the NBA season unfolds, the excitement for the 2024 NBA Finals starts to build, with predictions and speculations swirling amongst fans and analysts.

In this early look at the potential showdown for basketball supremacy, we highlight five teams that have positioned themselves as contenders to watch. 

From powerhouse dynasties reigniting their flames of glory to underdog teams surprising the league with their resilience and strategic gameplay, the road to the 2024 NBA Finals promises a blend of high-flying athleticism, strategic genius, and heart-pounding moments. 

Let’s explore the strengths, key players, and unique dynamics that make these teams the ones to watch in the race for the championship title.

Boston Celtics

The NBA playoffs are underway, with Boston leading the pack as the top contender for the championship. The Celtics ended the regular season at the pinnacle of the league standings, boasting a 64-18 record. Furthermore, they are the frontrunners to clinch the Eastern Conference title, with odds at -250.

Their ascent to the top is powered by youthful energy, veteran leadership, and a tactical depth meticulously cultivated by their coaching staff. With talents like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the charge, the Celtics exhibit a blend of offense and defense that is hard to counter. 

Their ability to adapt to various play styles and opponents makes them unpredictable and dangerous in a playoff setting.

The Celtics present an exciting prospect for enthusiasts looking to Bet NBA Finals due to their consistency, resilience, and championship pedigree. Their management has strategically built a squad that excels in the regular season and is built for playoff success. 

With a defense that ranks among the league's elite and an offense capable of explosive scoring runs, their balanced approach is a nightmare for any opponent. Beyond the stats and the star power, the Celtics' heart and unity have convinced many fans and analysts alike that they are the team to beat in the 2024 NBA Finals.

Denver Nuggets

Boston leads the pack in championship odds, yet the second-place race is closely contested. Denver had been trailing just behind the Celtics for the past several weeks. 

However, following their Game 1 defeat in the Western Conference semifinals to Minnesota Timberwolves, the Wolves have climbed to +600 in the championship odds, narrowly trailing Denver's +500.

Furthermore, although Denver was initially the preferred choice to win the West with odds of +120 last Saturday, these odds have now increased to +230. Minnesota has taken the lead as the new favorite, with odds of +210 to emerge victorious from the West.

The Nuggets have struggled to find their dominant form, and their recent Saturday loss to the Timberwolves in Game 1 underscores that they haven’t quite hit their stride from last season yet. Nikola Jokic has maintained his expected high level of play. 

However, Jamal Murray, despite clinching two game-winning shots against the Lakers, hasn’t delivered the offensive output needed, especially while dealing with a calf injury. His average stands at 23 points, with shooting splits of 40/32/88. 

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves have improved their odds to reach and win the 2024 NBA Finals after they defeated the Denver Nuggets last Saturday. 

Anthony Edwards demonstrated precision in his strategic choices and shooting against the Nuggets. He adeptly passed the ball when defended and took successful shots when left open, leading to a personal and team playoff record of 43 points. 

In the same match, Naz Reid contributed significantly with 14 points in the final quarter, helping the Minnesota Timberwolves secure a 106-99 victory over the defending champions, Denver Nuggets, in the opening game of the second-round series. 

Edwards dominated the first half with 25 points, and despite Karl-Anthony Towns' foul troubles, he still managed 20 points. The Timberwolves excelled in shooting, hitting an impressive 71.1% from the field in the latter half of the game.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Demonstrating a balanced strength that matched top-five rankings in both offense and defense during the regular season, a feat shared only with the Celtics, OKC, led notably by Lu Dort's defensive efforts, stifled Brandon Ingram and the Pelicans with a remarkable 93.5 defensive rating, the best in the league. 

The absence of Zion Williamson leaves room for speculation about the Thunder's upcoming performance against the Mavericks, yet Oklahoma City undoubtedly lives up to its status as the top seed. 

Moreover, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stands out as the premier player in the series, overshadowing Luka Doncic with his performance.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander overcame initial shooting challenges to achieve an average of 27 points per game, while Jalen Williams, in his playoff debut, impressed with averages of 21 points, seven rebounds, and five assists per game, shooting 53/39/75.

Dallas Mavericks

Struggling through moments of disorientation on the court, the Mavericks overcame two defeats against the Clippers, who were missing Kawhi Leonard, to clinch their first-round series in six games. 

Battling an illness and a knee injury, Luka Doncic returned to form in the last two matchups, while Kyrie Irving demonstrated his undefeated prowess in 13 career closeout games. The team's scoring was predominantly carried by Doncic and Irving, who together averaged 56 points, with PJ Washington as the next significant contributor at 11 points per game. 

A key highlight from the first series was their defense, which managed to limit the Clippers to fewer than 110 points per 100 possessions. With Doncic playing as he did in Games 5 and 6, the Mavericks stand a good chance of ascending in the rankings as they advance into the second round.

Final Thoughts

The 2024 NBA Finals promise to be an electrifying showcase of talent, strategy, and passion. The five teams highlighted, each with their unique strengths, star players, and tactical approaches, have set the stage for what could be one of the most unpredictable and fiercely contested championships in recent years. 


JRZY provides unparalleled data, insights and analysis to identify and activate the best economic opportunities for athletes, brands and consumers.

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