Two former Syracuse Orange men’s basketball players advanced in the NBA Playoffs and are now set to meet in the Western Conference Finals.
The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets will square off in the west, which subsequently means either Dion Waiters or Jerami Grant will appear in the NBA Finals this year.
As for other Syracuse alumi in the NBA Playoffs, Carmelo Anthony and the Portland Trail Blazers were knocked out in the first round by the Lakers. The Orlando Magic and Michael Carter-Williams were ousted from the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks, but three erstwhile Syracuse players were represented in the conference semifinals.
Here’s how the former Orange players performed in the semis:
Jerami Grant, Denver Nuggets
After falling behind 3-1 in the series to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Denver Nuggets rallied to win three straight games and advance to the Western Conference Finals. This marks the first time Denver has been to the Western Conference Finals since Carmelo Anthony helped take the Nuggets there in 2009.
Jerami Grant stepped up in Game 7 with 14 points and 5 rebounds while guarding Kawhi Leonard. Grant struggled to shoot throughout the series, but played terrific defense on Leonard.
The Nuggets will play Game 1 against the Lakers on Friday at 9 p.m. ET.
Dion Waiters, Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are back in the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2009 and 2010 when they went on to win back to back titles. After defeating Portland 4-1 in the first round, the Lakers mirrored that effort against the Houston Rockets in the conference semifinals.
Waiters has seen limited action throughout the playoffs. He made two appearances in the series against Houston, connecting on a pair of free throws in eight minutes of combined action. He scored eight points in three appearances in the series against Portland.
Oshae Brissett, Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors were ousted from the Eastern Conference Semifinals in a Game 7 against the Boston Celtics.
Oshae Brissett did not appear in the playoffs for the Raptors, but he traveled with the team to Orlando. After a brief exit to undergo surgery on his right knee, Brissett returned to the NBA bubble for the remainder of the Raptors’ run.
Brissett signed a one-year contract with the Raptors in July 2019 and had his contract converted to a two-way deal last October.