NBA Playoff 1st Round Predictions

Western Conference:

Portland Trail Blazers vs Memphis Grizzlies (Play-In): Prediction: Blazers in 1

Los Angeles Lakers vs Portland Trail Blazers: If there was an 8th seed that could take a couple of games away from the Lakers it would be the Portland Trail Blazers. And why is that? Well they have a guy named Damian Lillard so you could make an argument to be the best point guard in basketball. Plus the Blazers have good pieces around Lillard with CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Gary Trent Jr, Jusuf Nurkic, and a couple of more dogs. But how are they gonna stop Anthony Davis and LeBron James who are the best duo currently in the NBA. Now I think the Blazers have the better supporting cast around Dame than LeBron and AD have but I don’t see a scenario where the Lakers lose unless Dame averages 60 ppg during this series and for that reason…

Prediction: Lakers in 6

Los Angeles Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks: One of the more intriguing matchups in the first round will be Kawhi Leonard vs Luka Doncic. The Clippers swept the season series vs the Mavericks but one thing then wasn’t clicking then which was Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis has been playing out of his mind in the bubble averaging 30 PPG over 6 games. But the Clippers will have Kawhi on him so Porzingis will be locked, and the Clippers will have Paul George on Luka so the Mavs don’t really match up that well. Playoff Kawhi is a different breed and everyone knows it, that’s why people didn’t care about how he played in the regular season and in the bubble games because that’s not playoff Kawhi. The Clippers have too much depth and for those reasons.

Prediction: Clippers in 5 

Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz: This might be the most coin flip series there is in the first round because I really don’t know who to choose. You have 2 young teams with young stars on both sides. The Nuggets won both of the regular season games but by only 3 and 6 points so that really doesn’t help me choose who I think is gonna win. The major factors for the Nuggets that could help them is the recently outbreaking Michael Porter Jr and Bol Bol. MPJ averaging 25 ppg in the bubble has really put some eyes on the Nuggets and if he plays like that alongside Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic they will be dangerous. The only way the Jazz are gonna win is if Donovan Mitchell shows up and puts on a top tier performance for all 7 games and I expect that’s gonna happen but with the loss of Bojan Bogdanovic I don’t see the Jazz overcoming that scoring so…

Prediction: Nuggets in 7

Houston Rockets vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Interesting matchup here after the news of Russell Westbrook might miss the first couple of games with a leg injury. This could be a problem for the Rockets because all pressure will be handed over to James Harden, and why is this a problem because against the Kings, Harden dropped 45 points and still lost. Harden will need to average around 45 ppg if the Rockets want to stay in the series. Now I do think the Rockets will win this series but it will depend on how many games the Rockets can steal while Westbrook is out. The Thunder aren’t a joke to be messing with, Chris Paul has proven he can be the main factor in a young winning team, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who has broken out this season will show if he has that type of play in the playoffs. Danilo Gallinari who averaged a sneaky 20 PPG this year will play crucial minutes, but the main factor for the Thunder for me will be Steven Adams because the Rockets don’t have a center and Adams will need to dominate if the Thunder will have any chance at stealing this series.

Prediction: Rockets in 7

Eastern Conference:

Milwaukee Bucks vs Orlando Magic: Why is this even a question? Prediction: Bucks in 4

Toronto Raptors vs Brooklyn Nets: Coming off losing their star player Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors have found a way to be debatably better than their championship run. Now if we were talking about the 2021 Playoffs and the Nets have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving then this would be a different story but it isn’t. No one on the Nets will be able to guard Pascal Siakam who dominated last playoff run, nobody will match up against Kyle Lowry enough to stop him. Now I see the Nets stealing a game away if the Raptors have an off day but I don’t see them winning if the Raptors have everything clicking so…

Prediction: Raptors in 5

Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers: Boston vs Philly does that speak enough for you already? This matchup goes beyond sports and I’m here for it. I’m very high on the Boston Celtics in this year’s playoffs because they have an elite crew with Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Gordon Hayward. With the loss of Ben Simmons the Sixers aren’t looking that promising. But the Sixers still have a top 2 center Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson, and Al Horford. That’s still a good core to work with but how will they gel before the playoffs and how could they replace Simmons production. The Sixers need big series from their roll players for them to have a chance because the Celtics have a very good core that could carry them far into the playoffs.

Prediction: Celtics in 6

Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers: Can we just rename this Jimmy Butler vs TJ Warren please because we already know who’s winning this series and the only thing that we want is a Butler Warren fight part 2. Onto a serious note, I think the Heat will beat the Bucks and make it to the Finals this year because they match up with any lineup in the East and that includes the Indiana Pacers. The secret TJ Warren juice has most likely ran out sadly.

Prediction: Heat in 6

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