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The NBA and NHL Finals have been duds up to this point

I’m not going to lie, I thought both the NBA Finals and the NHL Stanley Cup Final had promise.

On the basketball side, you had the top-seeded Boston Celtics, NBA royalty, going for their 18th title. Opposing them from the Western Conference were the Dallas Mavericks, a team that won 50 regular-season games and its division, yet, entered the postseason as the fifth seed. But led by the dynamic backcourt of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, you figured Dallas would be a great matchup against Boston and its powerful frontcourt, led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

On the hockey front, you had the Florida Panthers, the 2023 Stanley Cup runners-up, going against the Edmonton Oilers, a squad from Canada led by the game’s best player, Connor McDavid. Florida was the number-two seed from the Eastern Conference. Edmonton was the number-two seed from the Western Conference. Like Boston in the NBA Finals, the Panthers had the better overall team and were the clear-cut favorites, but the game’s best player leading a Canadian team to its first Stanley Cup title in 31 years? It was too good to not happen, right?

Wrong, on both counts.

At least so far.

After beating the Mavericks rather easily in the first two games of the NBA Finals played at TD Garden in Boston, the Celtics then went into American Airlines Center and took care of business in Game 3 on Wednesday night. Sure, Boston, who took a 21-point lead into the fourth quarter, had to hold off a furious Mavericks’ comeback, but it did. Now, the Celtics are on the cusp of a record 18th NBA championship.

After defeating Edmonton rather easily in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida, the Panthers then went into Rogers Place and took care of business in Game 3 on Thursday night. Sure, Florida, who took a three-goal lead into the third period, had to hold off a furious Oilers’ comeback, but it did. Now, the Panthers are on the cusp of their very first Stanley Cup championship.

At the end of the day, both the Mavericks and Oilers–and all basketball and hockey fans–had to know what they were up against. The Celtics have only lost five Finals in franchise history. Three of those losses came against the mighty Lakers, a team that Boston had mostly tortured until the mid-80s. On the hockey side, I mean, a Canadian team winning the most cherished and revered trophy in Canada? What is this, the 1980s? Heck, the NHL is lucky that it even got a Canadian team to the Final. The best matchup for the league in terms of ratings would have been Rangers vs. Oilers, which is why I’m surprised it wasn’t Florida vs. Dallas (that would have been so 21st-century NHL).

At any rate, I know neither series is over, but the NBA Finals could be history by Friday night if Boston finishes things off at Dallas. The Panthers could be drinking champagne from the Cup as early as Saturday evening.

Maybe the Mavericks and Oilers will do what they can to make things interesting….but probably not.


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