Duke in the NBA: Conference Semifinals Taken Over by Blue Devils

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

It was a rather lackluster Conference Semifinals, but the remaining Duke in the NBA players certainly made their presence known.

Not one of the four Conference Semifinals series went more than five games.

The Cavs swept the Raptors, the Celtics beat the 76ers in five, the Warriors over the Pelicans in five, and the Rockets over the Jazz in five.

The Duke Men’s Basketball program had at least one representative in every one of these series, something no other school could say.

Starting in the West with the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz.

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The Blue Devils did not have a player in this series, rather Jazz Head Coach, Quin Snyder, was a former Duke Basketball player back in the late 1980’s.

Despite making the Conference Semifinals last season, Snyder and the Jazz improved from last season by winning a game in their series this year. Last season, Snyder and the Jazz got swept by the Warriors.

Snyder has emerged as one of the best young coaches the NBA has to offer.

Moving to the other side of the Western Conference, Quinn Cook represented the Blue Devils in the Golden State Warriors vs the New Orleans Pelicans series.

Cook received his regular minutes in Game 1 of this series, scoring 11 points in 22 minutes, but with Steph Curry returning from injury in Game 2, Cook did not see the floor in that game and only received five minutes in a blowout loss in Game 3.

Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr slotted more minutes for Cook in Game 4 and 5.

In Game 4, Cook saw 17 minutes, scoring 12 points and pulling down four rebounds and in the closeout Game 5, Cook struggled only scoring five points in 14 minutes.

Going up against the Houston Rockets it will be interesting to see how much playing time Quinn Cook receives, but he has proved that he deserves to be on the court and that the moment is not too big for him.

In the Eastern Conference, Rodney Hood was in the headlines for the wrong reason in the Cleveland Cavilers sweep over the Toronto Raptors.

Hood only scored two points in the four games combined, while only logging 39 minutes in the series.

However, Hood was in the news after Game 4 when it was reported that he refused to enter the game in the Cavs blowout win. Hood has said that he regrets this decision and has apologized to his teammates.

It’ll be interesting to see how much Cavs Head Coach Ty Lue plays Hood in his first Conference Finals series.

Going up against the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals will be the Boston Celtics after they took care of the Philadelphia 76ers.

It was Jayson Tatum and J.J. Redick on display in this classic rivalry series, and both showed out throughout this series.

For the young and inexperienced 76ers, Redick tried to lead the charge, but the Celtics proved to be too much.

Redick had 20 points in Game 1, 23 points in Game 2, and 18 points in Game 3.

In the lone 76ers victory, Redick struggled, only scoring 7 points, while bouncing back in Game 5 with 14 points.

Redick averaged 16.4 points per game this series and is set to become a free agent this offseason, although he has already expressed his interest in returning to Philadelphia.

76ers guard Ben Simmons is one of the favorites to win Rookie of the Year this season, but it was Jayson Tatum of the Celtics that was clearly the best rookie on the floor in this series.

Going back to the last series against the Milwaukee Bucks, Tatum has scored at least 20 points in seven straight games and eight of his last nine games.

Against the 76ers, Tatum scored 28, 21, 24, 20, 25 points in each game, respectively. Tatum is shattering NBA records and Celtics records left and right and the future is very bright for him in the NBA.

However, next up for the Celtics star rookie?

LeBron James. Enough said.

When the NBA Finals get started there will be at least one former Blue Devil trying to get his first NBA Championship right, and if the Warriors beat the Rockets, it’ll be a pair of Blue Devils in The Finals.

So, if you’re not that big of an NBA fan, but love your Blue Devils, root for the Warriors, and then you have your pick of the Cleveland Cavilers or the Boston Celtics.