The NBA Playoffs tipped off Saturday afternoon with the defending champions, Golden State Warriors, taking on the San Antonio Spurs. In what seems to not be as intriguing of a matchup as we would all hope for.
However, there is still a chance. In fact, the West is the more competitive conference this year as we have seen all season long and it would be to no surprise if there were any lower seeds to beat a top seed.
In 7 Questions to Determine Who to Root for in the NBA Playoffs, Cullen asked us all several questions as he broke down who he determined to root for. If you haven’t read it yet, you should cause your guess will be as good as mine… I didn’t even think of that scenario, but it’s an interesting one for sure!
I also gave my predictions for the playoffs and the Finals matchups during the All-Star break, NBA Playoff Predictions. However, it didn’t go as I predicted with several teams jumping the ladder and others falling out the race early.
But now I will make my predictions with teams finalized, and this time you’ll have to keep up with the articles as there will be new predictions for each round of the playoffs.
Let’s start with the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
1. Toronto Raptors vs. 8. Washington Wizards
Winner: Toronto in 6
This series could turn out to be one of the best 1-8 matches because the Wizards are only as good as their best player. That best player is John Wall, and he has missed a lot of games this season that could have resulted in wins for the Wizards squad. Wall missed all four regular-season matchups against the Raptors this season, and he could have beat the Raptors in this season if they only figured out how to stop Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka on the defensive side. Those two along with the Raptors All-Star guards, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, prove to be too much for John Wall and Bradley Beal to handle.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 5. Indiana Pacers
Winner: Cleveland in 5
It’s LeBron vs. Lance, and everyone will be interested to see what Pacers’ Lance Stephenson plans on doing next. Whether it is, it won’t be enough to stop LeBron James from proving why he is the GOAT. Pacers’ Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner are two of the teams youngest rising stars, and they will give everything they got in this series, but with James finally looking like the MVP LeBron, that could mean trouble for the Pacers and anyone else that crosses their path back to the finals.
3. Philadelphia 76ers vs. 6. Miami Heat
Winner: Philadelphia in 5
Playing game one without Joel Embiid proves how available he is to the process. But Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons will be the reason for the 76ers to continue their run into conference semifinals. Hassan Whiteside and Dwayne Wade look to shut down all doubters as they steal one game from the 76ers, but Philly will manage to win this series and celebrate their playoff win with the city of Philadelphia and wait out their next opponent.
2. Boston Celtics vs. 7. Milwaukee Bucks
Winner: Milwaukee in 7
Here’s where things get interesting. The Boston Celtics made a lot of moves this past summer to get better. Those moves seemed to look good, and they were able to finish with the second seed, but with injuries, they are an entirely new team. The Celtics will play the best they can without their two acquisition from the summer, Kyrie Irving, and Gordon Hayward. However, the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo would be too hard of a matchup for the young Celtics team to at last.
Now it’s on to the competitive Western Conference playoff picture.
- Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Winner: Houston in 6
The Rockets proved why they are the best team in the league. After a 14-year playoff drought, the Timberwolves showed the city of Minnesota hope for the future. Rockets’ James Harden and Chris Paul were seemingly too much for the Wolves, although the Rockets had they hands full.
4, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz
Winner: Thunder in 6
It’s a great story as a rookie to help lead your team into the playoffs and doing it while being the leading scorer. But let’s be honest about this one, it’s Brodies time. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony didn’t join forces with Russell Westbrook to loss to a rookie in the first round of the playoffs. Donovan Mitchell will lead the way for Jazz, but there just isn’t enough power on the Jazz squad to hold Russ back from his triple-doubles and stat-stuffed performances.
3.Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Winner: Pelicans in 7
The Blazers seemed to be a team that was tough to beat during the winning streak that helped them capture the third seed, but Pelicans have found a way to win without DeMarcus Cousins who they lost to injury for the rest of the season. The addition of Nikola Mirotic has helped with that. Let’s not forget about The Brow. I mean it’s Anthony Davis, and the Blazers don’t have anyone to stop him. The same could be said about Blazers dynamic duo guards Damien Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Davis will average 35 points or more in this series as the Pelicans get the surprise round one upset.
2. Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs
Winner: Warriors in 4
I mean, really it’s the defending champions going up against an aging Spurs team without their best player, Kwahi Leonard. Warriors also played without one of the best players, Steph Curry. But that was only one. The Spurs only All-Star was LaMarcus Aldridge and let’s be honest, he isn’t a real leader, and he could not stop Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson by himself. It’s a great story to have a team make it to the playoffs for 21 consecutive seasons, but the last two seasons will end in a sweep by the Warriors.
Let me know what you think about my playoff predictions for the first round. If you think the series may be shorter or longer. Even if the winners are different. Also, stay tuned for another playoff prediction for the conference semifinals in a few weeks as we find out the results.
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