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The 2024 NBA Playoffs have been exhilarating, to say the least. The much fancied reigning champions have already been eliminated thanks to the Minnesota Timberwolves shock victory against Nikola Jokic and his Denver Nuggets. The Western Conference’s top seeds have also been eliminated as an upstart Oklahoma Cty Thunder side led by the imperious Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was downed in six by the Dallas Mavericks. Now, it’s time for the Conference finals.

On the East Coast, the Boston Celtics are looking to put last year’s shocking upset at the hands of the eighth-seed Heat behind them as they face off against the fairytale Indiana Pacers. Out West, the Mavs face off against the Wolves in a genuine 50/50 clash. And to say that the story so far has captured the attention of the country would be an understatement.

The NBA always garners plenty of attention, and of that, there is no question. However, in recent times, even alternative media sources such as online casinos have sat up and taken notice.

Lately, basketball-themed online casino games with real money have been cropping up left, right, and center, with the likes of NBA Gold and Basketball Star proving particularly popular. A popular basketball-inspired casino offering is Streetball Star, a 5-reel, 243 ways-to-win slot transporting players to the iconic Rucker Park courts of New York City, where legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Julius “Dr. J” Erving honed their skills. This gritty street basketball-themed game comes packed with wilds, stacked wilds, expanding wilds, and scatters represented by the Streetball Star icon itself.

Given that, one game’s provider banked heavily on the progression of the New York Knicks, but they’ll have been disappointed as the Big Apple outfit was beaten by the Pacers in the Conference semifinals.

One group of onlookers that won’t be disappointed, however, are those connected to Duke University. That’s because there is a very real possibility that there could be an all-Duke Finals, should Jayson Tatum’s Celtics face off against Kyrie Irving’s Mavericks in the showpiece series.

Jayson Tatum: The Rising Star of Beantown

Ever since being drafted back with the third overall pick of the 2017 draft, Jayson Tatum has become one of the NBA’s premier stars. Over the last two years, however, he become nigh-on unstoppable. He led the Celtics to the conference finals last year and the criticism both he and his side received as they lost that particular series has only served as motivation for this term.

In the 2023/24 campaign, the TD Garden outfit has been in scintillating form. They finished at the Eastern Conference and by some distance. They won seven games more than anyone else in the entire league. And their former Duke star has been integral to their success.

Under the guidance of head coach Joe Mazzulla, Tatum has honed his game, becoming more efficient in all areas, as well as becoming a scoring behemoth. His partnership with Jaylen Brown forms one of the most formidable duos in the NBA, and that partnership has been on full display in the postseason. They were their team’s top scorers in all five of their clashes against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference semifinals, with Brown top-scoring in the first and Tatum in the next four.

Now, they have taken an early lead against the Pacers, and they will be looking to press home their advantage in the coming games.

Kyrie the Maverick

Kyrie Irving’s career has been a tapestry of brilliance. Despite barely featuring in his one year at Duke due to a toe injury, he was still selected with the first overall pick of the 2011 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He would form a lethal duo with LeBron James in Ohio that would take the team to its first-ever Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2016, but since then, things started to slow down.

After disappointing stints with the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets, many thought his time at the top level was coming to an end. Even when the Mavericks moved to sign him last year, not too many eyebrows were raised. However, since getting underway at the American Airlines Center, the Australian-born star has endeavored to reestablish his reputation as one of the league’s elite point guards.

His synergy with the undisputed Mavs leader – Luka Dončić – has been pivotal in their success this term. For years, the Lone Star State has relied solely on the Slovenian maestro. However, in Irving, he has found a loyal second in command who can take up the mantle and take the fight to any opponent. The duo represents a unique blend of scoring and playmaking that can dictate the tempo of any game, as we saw in their victory against the Thunder in the conference semifinals. The challenge for head coach Jason Kidd will be to ensure both stars complement each other effectively while maintaining defensive stability—a critical component in playoff success.

The Western Conference is uber competitive this year, and both the Mavericks and their opponents The Timberwolves will feel that they have already put in plenty of hard work. The former has eliminated the to seeds while the latter has eliminated the reigning champions. But it’s the Mavs who have taken a 1-0 lead, and if they are able to capitalize on that than an All-Duke final surely awaits.