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It's the best time of year for people who like both bouncy things and slide-y things: the overlapping NBA and NHL (that's ice hockey) Finals! Even though Game of Thrones spoiler alerts are officially a thing of the past, we would never spoil anything for you, so any similarities between that show and this preview are purely figments of your imagination. It's a shame, too, because these red-hot teams make this a real song of fire and ice.

NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors vs. Toronto Raptors
The Golden State Warriors have had as many twists and turns in their character development as any hypothetical dragon-mother in any premium cable TV show about the types of chairs monarchs sit in. When sports fans first got to know this dynasty, they were lovable heroes, changing the game with a Steph-Curry-led long range attack. Then, three years ago, they added superstar Kevin Durant to their already-stacked roster, and by sports fans' reactions you would've thought they had just, I don't know, used a dragon to torch a town full of civilians. It's no surprise that they made their fifth-straight NBA Finals this year (something only one other team has done), and that they're the favorites to take the throne for the fourth time in those five years. But in one shocking twist, they might actually be kind of likable again -- Durant is injured, meaning the game seem less unfair and reverting the Warriors back to their previous, funner style. (Durant will miss at least Game 1, but might return during the series.) (Most people are still rooting against the Warriors though.)

The Toronto Raptors' slogan is literally "We the North," which definitely shouldn't remind anyone of any families who can't stop talking about winter. Their star, Kawhi (pronounced "kuh-WHY") Leonard, is the closest thing the NBA has to an elite assassin, and he can single-handedly neutralize whatever the basketball equivalent of the leader of an army of ice-zombies is. Back when he was a member of the San Antonio Spurs in 2017, he was injured during a series against these very same Warriors, and has probably been muttering the names of everyone on their roster to mark them for vengeance ever since.

Other fun facts: this is the first NBA Finals to not be Warriors vs. Cavaliers since 2014; the Raptors' celebrity fan, Drake, seems to have free reign to roam the sideline and give shoulder-rubs to the Raptors' coach with impunity; and both Durant and Leonard are free agents after this season, and they're likely but not guaranteed to leave their current teams, adding another layer of gossipy intrigue.

NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Boston Bruins vs. St. Louis Blues
If there's one prize more coveted than an iron throne, it's the Stanley Cup, the greatest trophy in sports. It goes to the team that wins the NHL's Stanley Cup Finals, and then players take turns using the Cup for everything from holding babies to chugging beer to eating the world's fanciest bowl of cereal, hopefully in a sanitary order.

The Boston Bruins, an ancient franchise that's been around for generations, have been squashing underdogs with their patient march forwards these playoffs, not unlike whitish, walker-y things. Also their goalie is named Tuukka Rask, which, come on, tell me that's not right out of a fantasy novel.

The underdog St. Louis Blues have historically been the type of mediocre franchise that you might expect to hide in a crypt when preparing to compete against someone who can raise the dead -- you know, in an ice hockey way. Their top point-getter, Ryan O'Reilly, will be trying to lead his squad to the throne for its first time ever.

And for those of you who somehow managed to not watch any Game of Thrones or absorb any plot points over the past decade, just know this: the Raptors and Blues will be trying to win their first-ever championships by pulling off upsets over the Warriors and Bruins, respectively; it's crazy that Canada has a team in the NBA finals and not the NHL finals; and at the end of Game of Thrones the iron throne went to a direwolf. (At least, that's what should've happened.)
 
 
"Yes, the Warriors' Kevin Durant is injured, but that might not even matter -- somehow, even though KD is one of the best players alive, the warriors are 31-1 (!) in the last 32 games they've played with Steph Curry but without Durant."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The best play of the Eastern Conference Finals was probably Kawhi Leonard dunking over superhuman Giannis "The Greek Freak" (it's a compliment) Antetokounmpo (he's not in the Finals, so you don't have to learn how to pronounce it), and by all means you should watch that, it's here. But for the most suspenseful sports moment you'll ever see, watch this Kawhi clip below from the previous round: Game 7, at the buzzer, as the ball seems to take several hours deciding whether or not to go in the basket, a suddenly-silent arena full of thousands of people holding their breath.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Game 1 of the NBA Finals is this Thursday, 9 PM ET on ABC, with games every two or three days until a potential Game 7 on June 16.

Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals was last night, Game 2 is tomorrow night at 8 PM ET on NBCSN (and at every sports bar), and games are every two or three days until a potential Game 7 on June 12.
 
 
 
 
 
 
WE HAVE A JIM VS. PAM STANLEY CUP FINALS. I REPEAT: WE HAVE A JIM VS. PAM STANLEY CUP FINALS.

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