You smell that? Yeah, that’s right: playoff basketball.
We have been waiting for this moment ever since the end of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals last season (did you really watch the Finals? Be honest), and this year will be more wide-open than ever. First off, no more LeBron James in the East (or at all for that matter), so for the first time since 2010, the NBA Finals will NOT feature The King. The East has a least 4 teams with a legitimate chance to make a run for a title, while the West is chalked up with teams looking to prevent the Warriors from making their 5th straight appearance in the Finals.
This is how we’re going to breakdown our predictions: for the Eastern Conference, Nick is going to give a brief analysis for his picks, and Fredy will do the same for the West. We will also put down picks from fellow contributors to the page.
Say hello to the 808s and Ankle Breaks boys, Tervor and Kerm. We’ve also got Mike, and making their first appearances on the blog in 2019, we’ve got Kennedy and Gaashaan! If you haven’t seen their work, check out Kennedy here and Gaashaan here.
Okay, time to look like we know what we’re talking about!
(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (8) Detroit Pistons
Bucks swept the season series in 4 games
Nick: Bucks in 4
If Blake Griffin were 100%, I’d give the Pistons a game, but that’s not the case. Milwaukee is just too strong, and they’ll make quick work of Detroit.
Fredy – Bucks in 4
Mike – Bucks in 5
Kerm – Bucks in 4
Trevor – Bucks in 5
Kennedy – Bucks in 5
Gaashaan – Bucks in 5
(2) Toronto Raptors vs. (7) Orlando Magic
Orlando won the season series 2 games to 1
Nick: Raptors in 5
This is not the Raptors team that was swept by Cleveland a year ago. Toronto managed Kawhi Leonard’s workload all season, and he should be fresh for a playoff run. With seasoned veterans such as Danny Green and Marc Gasol, as well as new standout Pascal Siakam, I expect to see a tougher team than in years past. Orlando will present some challenges, and they finished the season 22-9, but this is all-or-nothing for Toronto: make a run, or blow the team up this offseason.
Fredy – Raptors in 5
Mike – Raptors in 5
Kerm – Raptors in 4
Trevor – Raptors in 4
Kennedy – Raptors in 5
Gaashaan – Raptors in 4
(3) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (6) Brooklyn Nets
76ers and Nets split their season series (2 wins each)
Nick: 76ers in 6
This will be a sneaky fun series. The Nets are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015, and I think D’Angelo Russell will take over at least one game. However, the 76ers have an elite starting lineup with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and JJ Reddick. This is a starting lineup built for a run, and all the talent is there. The Nets will make this interesting, but the 76ers advance.
Fredy – 76ers in 5
Mike – 76ers in 6
Kerm – 76ers in 6
Trevor – Nets in 7
Kennedy – 76ers in 5
Gaashaan – 76ers in 7
(4) Boston Celtics vs. (5) Indiana Pacers
Celtics won the season series 3 games to 1
Nick: Celtics in 6
The Celtics played the Pacers twice in the final weeks of the season as playoff seeding was on the line, and Boston won each time. This series would be a lot more intriguing with Victor Oladipo and Marcus Smart, but injuries suck. I see this as the type of series where Boston will have a 3-1 lead, but the Pacers will fight to bring it to 6. They’ve showed a lot of heart all year, and I expect that to continue in the postseason. This will not be an easy series for the Celtics.
Fredy – Celtics in 6
Mike – Celtics in 7
Kerm – Pacers in 7
Trevor – Celtics in 6
Kennedy – Celtics in 7
Gaashaan – Pacers in 7
(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (8) Los Angeles Clippers
Warriors won the season series 3 games to 1
Fredy: Warriors in 5
Golden State is going to take this somewhat serious, right? I don’t see much of a competition for the reigning 2-time champs. 4 all-stars? Multiple MVPs? Unless the world ends before the 4th game, the Warriors should absolutely kick ass.
Nick – Warriors in 5
Mike – Warriors in 4
Kerm – Warriors in 4
Trevor – Warriors in 4
Kennedy – Warriors in 4
Gaashaan – Warriors in 4
(2) Denver Nuggets vs. (7) San Antonio Spurs
Nuggets and Spurs split their season series (2 wins each)
Fredy: Nuggets in 6
This honestly could be the most boring series this year and it has no interest from me. But, the solid duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, as well as their solid supporting cast is enough to win in 6 against DeRozan and Aldridge. Could this be Coach Popovich’s last game or will he stick it out for another year and wait to see what a healthy Spurs team with Dejounte Murray looks like?
Nick – Spurs in 7
Mike – Nuggets in 7
Kerm – Nuggets in 7
Trevor – Nuggets in 6
Kennedy – Nuggets in 6
Gaashaan – Nuggets in 6
(3) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (6) Oklahoma City Thunder
Thunder swept the season series in 4 games
Fredy: Thunder in 6
The Blazers always seem to choke. Jusuf Nurkic is out so we won’t be getting the Blazers at full strength, but since when did that matter? They’ve always choked. And now? Stat-padding Westbrook, 2-week MVP candidate Paul George, and an incompetent Billy Donovan will somehow pull this series out in 6. They’ll have too much intensity and are too strong for the Blazers.
Nick – Thunder in 6
Mike – Thunder in 5
Kerm – Thunder in 6
Trevor – Thunder in 6
Kennedy – Thunder in 6
Gaashaan – Thunder in 6
(4) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Utah Jazz
Rockets and Jazz split their season series (2 wins each)
Fredy: Rockets in 5
The Utah Jazz, the KKK’s favorite NBA team, just don’t know when to quit do they? They’re mentally strong and will only go as far as Donovan Mitchell (and his 20 shots per game) take them. Maybe Rudy Gobert will take all that crying and frustration to the court and stop the Rockets from coming into the paint, but that doesn’t matter as much. They live and die by the 3, and that’s what the Rockets will do. They’ll make their 3s up until Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals and then crush our hearts with a kick in the nuts.
Nick – Rockets in 6
Mike – Rockets in 6
Kerm – Rockets in 7
Trevor – Rockets in 5
Kennedy – Rockets in 6
Gaashaan – Rockets in 6
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