What a set of conference series

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 29, 2010

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is something I don’t watch often, but when it comes to the conference finals, I’m hooked.

Yes, the playoffs can be long in a way, but it’s exciting to watch these professionals duke it out on the hard court.

For the past few nights, I have enjoyed watching the Phoenix Suns and the Orlando Magic wreak havoc over the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, respectively.

Trailing 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals, the Suns quickly tied the series up with the help of forward Amare Stoudemire and guard Steve Nash in the scoring and assists categories.

Stoudemire is averaging 23.1 points per game, and is shooting 55 percent from the field.

Nash, apart from getting several injuries in the facial region, has excelled in the assists category, averaging 12.8 against the Lakers.

Like many teams in the NBA, the Suns have that deadly combination with Stoudemire and Nash connecting in the paint to do well against the Lakers.

I think the Suns will finish out the series over the Lakers in seven games.

For the Magic, center Dwight Howard has been playing remarkably under the basket, acquiring clutch rebounds and put backs that have helped cut the Celtics’ 3-0 series lead to 3-2.

Howard is averaging 13.2 rebounds per game in the post season and is putting up 18.2 points.

Wednesday night’s performance from Howard — pardon the pun — was magical.

The Celtics didn’t have an answer for Howard in the paint, who finished the night with 21 points. A mere three points shy of three-point master Jameer Nelson.

Throughout what I saw of the game Wednesday night, Howard would find Nelson on the perimeter nine out of 10 times, and Nelson would make the shot.

Even in coverage, Nelson would make the shot — it was incredible to see.

If the Magic come back to win the series, and earn a berth to the NBA finals, then it will be the fifth time in professional sports history it has been done after losing the first three games in the series.

It happened most recently with the Philadelphia Flyers defeating the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup playoffs.