The Conference Finals are finally upon us. In the West, we have the Golden State Warriors versus the Houston Rockets. And in the East, we have the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both pretty good matchups and both pitting the #1 seed versus the #2 seed. But how does it play out? Today I reached out to someone that is familiar with all these teams being that he played for them all. Former NBA player Chucky Brown gave me his thoughts on the conference finals along with his best memories from his playing days.
Mike Patton: Chucky, you played for a lot of teams in the NBA. What was the most memorable team you played on and why?
Chucky Brown: That would be the Houston Rockets team back in 1995. That was the year we won the title. Everyone knew their role, had the same goal and wanted to win the title together.
MP: What is your best professional basketball memory?
CB: Besides winning the title, I would say the best memories I have are all the guys that I met over my career. I’m still in contact with some of them to this day.
MP: Good to hear. Well, let’s get down to the playoff action. What have you thought about the playoffs so far?
CB: The playoffs have been pretty good. I hate it that Memphis and Chicago had injuries. I would have loved to have seen Cleveland at full strength, but injuries are a part of the game.
MP: As far as the conference finals matchups, which one intrigues you more?
CB: The Golden State/Houston matchup is one that intrigues me. Houston lost the season series to them, but now they have everyone back except for point guard Patrick Beverly and that could make things interesting. Houston has learned how to play without a point guard.
MP: What are some keys for the Houston Rockets/ Golden State Warriors series?
CB: For Golden State, they must shoot well and defend so they can get out in transition. The Warriors must also protect the paint. In regards to the Rockets, they need to attack the paint but they also need to make the Warriors take the ball out. That will help keep them out of transition. And the Rockets also have to defend well in the halfcourt.
MP: Who is someone not on the marquee that you see playing really well in this series?
CB: For Golden State, that would be Harrison Barnes. He is a really good player that the Warriors don’t use as much. He started coming on in the Memphis series and could continue it in this one. As far as the Rockets, Josh Smith is the name that comes to mind. He has ben playing very well recently. If he continues that, he could make a difference.
MP: What are some keys for the Cleveland Cavaliers/Atlanta Hawks series?
CB: For the Cavs, their roles players are key. They could be the difference in this series if they play well. As for the Hawks, they cannot let the role players get going and make LeBron James have to do everything, being that he is a pass-first player. They also have to play good team defense as well.
MP: Who is someone not on the marquee that could have a big effect on this series?
CB: The Cavs have a guy in Tristian Thompson that was a huge factor in the Chicago series on the boards. He could have that same type of effect on the boards in this series versus Atlanta.
MP: Who do you think win both series and in how many games?
CB: I think Cleveland will win in six games because of having the best player in the NBA, LeBron James, on their side. As far as in the Western Conference, I believe the Rockets will win the series in seven games. They showed extreme character in the Clippers series when faced with adversity and I think they can carry that over to this series.
MP: Who do you have winning it all?
CB: If the Rockets get there, then the Rockets. Regardless, the champion is coming out of the West.
Many thanks to Chucky Brown for his time and answers on the Conference Finals. What do you all think of what he said?