The road to the NBA Finals, as told by social media

The Boston Celtics will host the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals on Thursday night (8:30 ET, ABC), ending a nine-month journey to reach the game’s biggest stage.

Boston went 64-18 in the regular season for the best record in the NBA. Dallas went 50-32, good for fifth in the Western Conference.

The two teams had different roads to the Finals — the Celtics lost just two games all postseason, while the Mavericks never had home-court advantage. This year’s postseason had no shortage of viral moments leading up to Thursday’s Game 1.

Here’s a look at the road to the 2024 NBA Finals, as told by social media.

Playing basketball or stealing the moon?

Ahead of Game 1 of the first round against the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic turned heads with his pregame look.

He arrived wearing an outfit inspired by Gru from the “Despicable Me” series. The black zip-up turtleneck was topped off with a Gru-esque scarf.

“Yes, I mean I love the guy and I love the cartoon and why not just have a little bit of fun, too?” Jokic said after the Game 1 win.

The three-time MVP dominated in the victory, notching 32 points on 65.2% shooting with 12 rebounds and 7 assists.

Naz Reid hype reaches new levels

The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year became a fan favorite in Minnesota this season. The Minnesota Timberwolves held a Naz Reid beach towel giveaway in late March, and the towel made an appearance at WrestleMania in Philadelphia the next month.

However, the Reid buzz went up an extra notch in the postseason. During Minnesota’s second-round series against Denver, a pair of Timberwolves fans began tattooing “Naz Reid” on anyone for a fee of just $20.

The tattoo artists said they had people ranging in age from 18 to 82 receiving Naz Reid ink.

Reggie’s memorable MSG return

With the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks facing off in the Eastern Conference semifinals, highlight reels of Reggie Miller’s battles with the Knicks were predictable. One of Miller’s most famous New York rivals, Spike Lee, came prepared when the Pacers guard made his return to Madison Square Garden.

The Academy Award-winning director arrived with gifts for Miller: framed newspaper clippings that blamed Lee for Miller’s memorable performance in Game 5 of the 1994 Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Hall of Famer signed the memorabilia, and by the end of the night, he heard it from the Madison Square Garden crowd after New York won 130-121.

LeBron takes a seat courtside

With the Lakers eliminated in the first round, LeBron James attended Game 4 of the Celtics-Cleveland Cavaliers semifinal series. He sat courtside next to his wife, Savannah, and agent Rich Paul.

James, who won an NBA championship for Cleveland in 2016, received a loud ovation in the first quarter. And of course, he brought his own bottle of wine to his seat.

Boston won the game 109-102.

All gold everything

Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a stellar postseason, averaging 30.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists. His strong play on the court coincided with eye-catching looks off it.

Before Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against Dallas, Gilgeous-Alexander wore a dress shirt, pants, skinny tie, bag and gloves all in a gold-colored thin leather fabric. He rounded out the fit with black sunglasses and shoes.

Gilgeous-Alexander had 29 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists in the Thunder’s 117-95 victory.

After defeating the Nuggets in seven games, Edwards had a memorable quip in his postgame interview. When TNT’s Charles Barkley told Edwards he hadn’t been to Minnesota in nearly 20 years, the All-Star guard said: “Bring ya ass.”

It took over Minnesota in the days leading up to the Western Conference finals. The Timberwolves, the state’s department of tourism and even the governor all chimed in.

Luka magic shocks social media

Luka Doncic is no stranger to go-ahead baskets in the postseason.

In Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, the Mavericks were down by two with 12.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Doncic switched Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert on to him and hit a step-back 3-pointer for the win, giving Dallas the 2-0 series lead.

It was the guard’s second career go-ahead 3-pointer in the final five seconds of a playoff game. It also capped off a 32-point, 13-assist, 10-rebound triple-double for Doncic.

Some of the sports world’s biggest names reacted to his shot.

LeBron criticizes Pacers’ strategy in Game 1

The Indiana Pacers were one stop away from a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals before Celtics guard Jaylen Brown had something to say about that.

Indiana had a three-point lead and possession with 12.1 seconds left. Then Andrew Nembhard’s inbound pass to Pascal Siakam went out of bounds, and the Celtics regained possession.

The Pacers opted to not foul up by three, and Brown hit a corner 3 over Siakam. Boston would go on to win 133-128 in overtime, and James wasn’t shy about sharing his thoughts on Indiana’s strategy.

Ja reacts to Luka’s huge first quarter

Doncic headed to Minnesota for Game 5 looking to wrap up the Western Conference finals.

Doncic made sure the series wouldn’t need to return to the Mavericks’ home court, outscoring the entire Timberwolves roster in the first quarter 20-19.

Doncic finished with 36 points, his most this postseason, as Dallas cruised to a 124-103 victory to advance to its first NBA Finals since 2011. His hot start caught the attention of Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant.

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