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NBA Conference Finals preview: What to look forward to in the East and West

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The 2024 Eastern and Western Conference Finals matchups are set. The top-seeded Boston Celtics host the sixth-seeded Indiana Pacers to open the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night. 

The No. 3 seed Minnesota Timberwolves defeated last year’s champion, the Denver Nuggets, and will welcome the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

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Basketball sits next to NBA logo

The Minnesota Timberwolves will welcome the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

BIGGEST CONCERNS FOR EASTERN CONFERENCE TEAMS

Kristaps Porziņģis appeared in 57 regular season games in his first year with the Celtics. However, his health continues to be a point of concern. He suffered an injury in Boston’s first round series with the Miami Heat. He missed the entire conference semifinals, but ESPN reported that Porziņģis will likely sit out Games 1 and 2 of the conference finals.

TIMBERWOLVES’ POSTSEASON PARTY CONTINUES AS ANTHONY EDWARDS PLAYS BEYOND HIS YEARS

The Pacers appear to enter the series close to full strength, but Indiana’s defense will likely be the team’s biggest concern in the conference finals. The Pacers will need to employ a strong defensive game plan to try and slow the Celtics’ high-powered offense.

Boston Celtics logo

The top-seeded Boston Celtics will host the sixth-seeded Indiana Pacers to open the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

BIGGEST CONCERNS FOR WESTERN CONFERENCE TEAMS

Two-time NBA All-Star Anthony Edwards has taken the league by storm this postseason. The Dallas Mavericks coaching staff will be tasked with finding a way to contain Edwards. 

Karl-Anthony Towns, the top pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, appeared to take a major step forward in the conference semifinals. Rudy Gobert recently won his third NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, and while Gobert’s defensive prowess speaks for itself, the Timberwolves as a whole will have to contend with the Mavericks’ two-headed monster — Kyric Irving and Luka Doncic.

Western Conference Finals trophy

The final four teams are set for the NBA Finals. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

While the Timberwolves outlasted the Nuggets in the semifinals, the construction of the Mavs roster presents a much different challenge.

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WHEN ARE THE CONFERENCE FINALS?

The Eastern Conference Finals begins on Tuesday night at the TD Garden in Boston. Game 2 tips off on May 23, before the series shifts to Indiana for Game 3 and 4.

The Timberwolves hold home court in the West and will host Game 1 on May 22. Game 2 is scheduled for May 24. 

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