And then, there were four.
What started as a 16-team field back in May quickly dissolved into a quarter of its size as four of the NBA’s most star-studded franchises compete for spots in the 2021 NBA Finals.
The league and its fans were dealt loads of surprises through the first few rounds of the 2021 postseason, including early exits for players like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Luka Doncic. But, the NBA is guaranteed to have star-studded Conference Finals matchups no matter how the Conference Semifinals play out.
The Phoenix Suns, the Western Conference’s second seed, had no interest in dragging things out when playing the third-seeded Denver Nuggets. Four games later, Chris Paul, Devin Booker and company completed the sweep, sending Phoenix into a frenzy ahead of the Conference Finals.
The Los Angeles Clippers found themselves in danger when Kawhi Leonard went out with a reported ACL injury, but managed to overcome a 25-point deficit in Game 6 to eliminate the top-seeded Utah Jazz.
The win gave the Clippers their first Conference Finals appearance in five decades, and the franchise will have to overcome a former star of their own in Chris Paul to advance to the NBA Finals.
The other four teams competing for the final two spots in the Eastern Conference Finals were…not so quick to qualify.
Each of the Eastern Conference Semifinals series forced a Game 7, with a who’s who of characters battling it out for a chance to represent their conference late in the playoffs.
The Kevin Durant-led, second-seeded Brooklyn Nets hosted the third-seeded Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, June 19. A day later, the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers and fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks duked it out to solidify the Conference Finals fray.
In the end, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks advanced after a slugfest with the Nets, and the Hawks pulled off the upset to solidify the Eastern Conference Finals field.
Which teams will move on to the 2021 NBA Finals? There’s only one way to find out, and here’s everything you need to know to be able to see how it plays out.
Eastern Conference: No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 5 Atlanta Hawks
Game 1: Wednesday, June 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 2: Friday, June 25 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 3: Sunday, June 27 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 4: Tuesday, June 29 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 5 (if needed): Thursday, July 1 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 6 (if needed): Saturday, July 3 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT
Game 7 (if needed): Monday, July 5 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT
Western Conference: No. 2 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers
Game 1: Sunday, June 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Game 2: Tuesday, June 22 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 3: Thursday, June 24 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 4: Saturday, June 26 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 5 (if needed): Monday, June 28 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 6 (if needed): Wednesday, June 30 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Game 7 (if needed): Friday, July 2 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN