NBA Playoffs 1st Round Preview and Predictions

Eastern Conference 

#1 Philadelphia 76ers vs #8 Washington Wizards

 Unlike in 2020, the 76ers are going into the 2021 Playoffs fully healthy and are ready to make the deep playoff run they’ve been destined for. Behind MVP candidate Joel Embiid and DPOY candidate Ben Simmons the 76ers match up very well against everyone in the Eastern Conference. They’ll be going up against one of the more hotter teams in the East since the All Star break and went from a lottery pick to an 8th seed in the Washington Wizards. Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal have been one of the best one-two punches as of late with Westbrook being a Triple-Double machine like usual and Bradley Beal learning how to score without the ball 24/7. Coming off a loss against the Celtics and a win against the Pacers in the Play-In tournament the Wizards do not match up well against the Sixers I just think there’s nobody on the Wizards that will be able to stop Joel Embiid so for that.. 

Prediction: 76ers in 5 

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons 'absolutely can work together,' says new 76ers  boss Daryl Morey | Sporting News

#2 Brooklyn Nets vs #7 Boston Celtics 

 Scary hours are back!! The Brooklyn Nets are fully healthy going into the playoffs and we don’t know what we’re gonna get yet. The Big-3 have played around 10 games together which could be very concerning but in those games were very decisive. KD was looking as deadly as ever before his injury, Kyrie Irving was doing what he does and was constantly good and backed up his actions during the season, and before Harden’s injury he was the consensus MVP and looked unstoppable. But you know who’s also been unstoppable lately? Jayson Tatum has been unguardable and that showed in the play-in game versus the Wizards where he dropped 50 points. But his partner n crime that game was the resurrected Kemba Walker stepping up after the tragic season injury of co-all star Jaylen Brown but that injury will hurt the Celtics chances at winning this series and I could see a world where this team does well against the Nets but the injuries really hurt them. Tatum will need to average 50 ppg to win this series but we all know that ain’t happening soo…

Predictions: Nets in 4

#3 Milwaukee Bucks vs #6 Miami Heat

 A 2020 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals rematch where the Milwaukee Bucks will try to disprove all the things that were said to them after their disappointing ending last season. Even though this isn’t the same Miami Heat team, the Heat are still deadly and still have one of the best players in the world named Jimmy Butler. But the big question will be yet again is if Bam will be able to lock Giannis AGAIN. This is one of the series that could swing towards an upset because of the history of these two teams but Giannis is still very dominant and won’t have a couple of months off because of a Pandemic. So with that all being said… 

Prediction: Bucks in 6

#4 New York Knicks vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

 The New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks are playing in a playoff series in the year 2021, yes I did just write those words in this article. Julius Randle went to his local drug store and bought crystal meth and became one of the league’s best players overnight and that’s not the only guy that has helped the turnaround. The hiring of Tom Thibodeau was one of the best hires in the NBA in a while because he turned around the culture, and helped RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle take the next step. One of the most exciting offenses in the NBA will be taking on another in the Atlanta Hawks. This offseason the Hawks got pieces to surround Trae Young, they got Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Lou Williams (during the season). Two high powered offenses will be clashing but the Knicks have the edge defensively by a lot and if they shut down the 3 ball the Knicks could be advancing to the next round of an NBA Playoffs… 

Prediction: Knicks in 6

Western Conference

#1 Utah Jazz vs #8 Memphis Grizzlies   

 Coming off one of the best seasons in franchise history since the days of Karl Malone and John Stockton, the Utah Jazz will be looking to take down the young and ferocious Memphis Grizzlies. Coming off the destruction of the Golden State Warriors, Ja Morant’s Grizzlies fast paced transition offense will try to wear down one of the better defensive teams in the league. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have been very lethal and look in sync. We saw what they did to the Nuggets last year in the playoffs where they were one pass away from moving onto the semi-finals. This will be a fun series to watch but I can only see one outcome of this…

Prediction: Jazz in 5

#2 Phoenix Suns vs #7 Los Angeles Lakers

 This is gonna be the series to watch!! The defending champs as the 7th seed versus the newly vamped Phoenix Suns. This season has been very injury plagued for the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James was hurt with a high ankle sprain for a good portion of the season, and Anthony Davis was out for a time period as well. Has there been enough time for the champs to regroup? They will have to be hitting on all cylinders against banana boat buddy Chris Paul and his Phoenix Suns. Paul, Booker, Ayton have been taking the league by storm still year. People thought the Suns drought of the playoffs was gonna end this year but not to this extent. The stars will be coming out during this series but clearly one team has more experience in these types of games then the other…

Prediction: Lakers in 7

LeBron James on finally playing Chris Paul in playoffs: 'It's a beautiful  thing'

#3 Denver Nuggets vs #6 Portland Trail Blazers 

 The MVP Nikola Jokic will be going up against Dame Time and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Nuggets took a big blow in April when Jamal Murray went down with a ACL Tear and things were looking down for the Nuggets and people like me were writing them off. But Nikola Jokic didn’t allow that to happen with a 16-8 record without their 2nd star. Other guys like Aaron Gordan, Michael Porter Jr, and Will Barton have all stepped up and showed they’re a very good team without Murray. But they will need to play like that for a little more against the deadly and streaky Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers with Dame are always a threat in the playoffs because of their threat of being streaky. Dame as shown in the last playoffs in the 1st round asserted his dominance in the bubble and in the play-in game. If he can continue that with CJ, Melo, and Powell all doing their parts they could 100% upset the Nuggets…

Prediction: Blazers in 6

#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs #5 Dallas Mavericks 

 Last but not least, another rematch from the 2020 semi finals. The Clippers would like their revenge and show the world that choking a 3-1 lead was a fluke. Luka vs Kawhi everyone knows that this is the matchup in this series so the driving force to this series like it was last year and that is Paul George. Paul George choked the series away last year and all he needed to do was score his average of 18-20 PPG. If he does that the Clippers win this series very easily but that’s a big if. Luka will be looking to win another series by himself with his mediocre role players, unless Porzingis can make a return and stay healthy I don’t see a chance for the Mavs…

Prediction: Clippers in 6

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