Final 'Spanish' in the East: the Gasol, Mirotic, Ibaka and Scariolo

Pau's injury prevents Marc from being measured. Never two brothers had faced each other in a conference final. The Curries will do it.


The Celtics, who added some recovered Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to the team that made it to the seventh game of the final of the East, and the Sixers, who after a promising season were adding during this to stars like Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris , were the favorites for the throne that LeBron James left vacant in the East with his march to the Lakers, in the warm West Coast where for now things can not go worse in sports. But year I without LeBron soon taught top teams, who have finally gotten into the Eastern end and will play from Wednesday to be in the fight for the ring: Bucks (would be their first Finals since 1974) and Raptors (They have not played any in their 24-year history) .

Bucks and Raptors emerged from the collision in the semifinals of that Big Four East, the first with a display against the Celtics (4-1), the second with a demonstration of hardness and character before the Sixers (4-3). The duel between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard will be decisive and will be, of course, the focal point of a eliminator that will have a strong Spanish accent: Pau Gasol and Niko Mirotic in the Bucks and Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in the Raptors, who also have the coach Sergio Scariolo as assistant coach, Nick Nurse.

Never until this 2019 had two brothers and a conference final and, interestingly, only Pau's injury will prevent this time from happening on both sides of the table . In the West Stephen Curry will be seen with his brother Seth in the Warriors-Blazers, and in the East the operation of Pau Gasol, who will not make his debut in the playoffs and is doubtful for the World Cup in China, will avoid the duel on the track with Marc. Both have met only once in the playoffs, a 4-2 of the Spurs to the Grizzlies in the first round of 2017 and their total face to face in the NBA is 22-13 for the greater, a Pau for what e this is, although he can not play, his fifth conference final. He played three with the Lakers (he won the three en route to two rings) and one with the Spurs in that 2017 in which his Spurs could not with the Warriors.

For Marc is the second after which he lost in 2013 (Spurs 4- Grizzlies 0) , the season in which he was elected Best Defender of the NBA. Interestingly the two brothers and Niko Mirotic started the season in the West (Spurs, Grizzlies and Pelicans) and left during the course with the two best East teams: Mirotic and Pau to the Bucks, Marc to a Raptors where meeting with Ibaka and Scariolo. So one thing is for sure: there will be Spanish representation in the 2019 Finals of NBA. Marc, at 34, is playing some fantastic playoffs, doing exactly what the Raptors wanted from him: to provide toughness, competitiveness, intelligence and defense. After canceling Vucevic in the first round, he came out very well from the duel with Joel Embiid in second. The Cameroonian has lowered his scoring averages of 27.5 points to 17.6, with 4 losses per game and 37% in shots. In the semifinal, Marc has averaged 8.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3 assists. Now he will fight to play his first Finals before a summer in which he can be a free agent and sign a last big contract or take advantage of the player option available to play one more year in Toronto for 25.5 million dollars.

Ibaka is playing as substitute but Nick Nurse was betting as the tie against the Sixers advanced by big quintets that allowed to see together Ibaka and Marc whose minutes on the track finished totally linked to those of Embiid. The power forward of Congolese origin was more and ended up signing a fantastic seventh game in which he added 17 points and 8 rebounds with three triples after having signed a 0/9 in the previous six. Now, a touch of morbid, will be seen with Mirotic, who has closed in the last calls the doors of a selection to which only a nationalized player can be cited. Mirotic burst into the Bucks' starting lineup after the resounding defeat (90-112) of the first game against the Celtics and did not move from him. Irregular in the shot (10.8 points and 36.6% in triples), Budenholzer wanted to use his threat to open the court and ended up very satisfied with his work in defense and under the hoops (6.6 rebounds) during a knockout in which his team lost no more (0-1 to 4-1). It will be her first conference final ... and the fifth for Ibaka, who played four in the Thunder of Westbrook and Durant. In the second (2012), she reached the NBA Finals, lost to the Miami Heat when she was still in OKC James Harden. Other times.



Photos from as.com

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