Conference Finals Predictions

Image result for kawhi giannis
The Eastern Conference Finals will feature the two best players in the conference, as Giannis and Kawhi square off for a trip to the NBA Finals (Credit: AP)

Wow.

I think we can all agree that the second round was one of the best rounds of playoff basketball in recent memory.  We get years where the Conference Finals and NBA Finals are great, but those are only 1-2 matchups max.  This year, minus the horrendous Bucks-Celtics series (which started off with so much potential), we saw the Warriors and Rockets play 6 compelling games, then we saw Denver-Portland and Philadelphia-Toronto each go 7 games.  Each Game 7 lived up to the hype, first with C.J. McCollum helping lead Portland from a 17-point deficit with 37 points, which included a mid-range shot late to seal a victory.  Later in the evening, we saw another close came come down to the final seconds, ending with Kawhi Leonard hitting one of the most iconic buzzer beaters in NBA history; Damian Lillard hit his amazing buzzer beater 3 weeks ago today, and to think it was topped already… is everyone having fun yet!?

In the East, we have the top 2 teams in the NBA this season facing off, as the Bucks and Giannis square off against the Raptors and Kawhi.  Out West, in a battle of the Currys, Steph and the Warriors face off against Seth and the Trail Blazers.

It can only get better, right? Lets hope so!

Before we move on, lets update our prediction leaderboard

  • Kennedy: 26 points (10 points last round)
  • Fredy: 23 points (5 points last round)
  • Nick: 22 points (8 points last round)
  • Gaashaan: 21 points (9 points last round)
  • Kerm: 21 points (7 points last round)
  • Mike: 21 points (5 points last round)
  • Trevor: 15 points (2 points last round)

Kennedy led the pack in the second round, moving ahead of Fredy.  Gaashaan recovered nicely from the first round to move into a tie for 4th with Kerm and Mike. Trevor has a rough go of things, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.

For the Conference Finals, points will in fact be doubled. Here’s how that will look:

  • Picking a series winner correctly = 4 points
  • Picking a series winner correctly + number of games series goes = 6 points

Higher the stakes, higher the risks.

Onto predictions

Eastern Conference Finals

(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (2) Toronto Raptors

Milwaukee won the season series 3 games to 1

Nick: Bucks in 6

This should be a very competitive series. We get to see not only the two best teams in the entire conference (and NBA), but the two best players in the conference, as Giannis and Kawhi face off against each other.  Giannis is averaging 27.4 PPG this postseason and has had dominant performances, as has his counterpart Kawhi Leonard, who is averging 31.8 PPG this postseason.  The Bucks boast a deeper bench, while the Raptors have a starting lineup with more playoff experience.  Experience has not stopped the Bucks yet, as they have gone 8-1 this postseason.  The Raptors have lost 4 games this postseason, and showed some flaws against Philadelphia, as everyone outside of Kawhi had at least one game where their performances left something to be desired.  Will the likes of Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka, as well as Leonard be enough to stop Giannis? Do the Bucks have an answer for Kawhi? Will Kyle Lowry step up offensively? Is Malcolm Brogden ready for a full series? All questions to keep in mind. I think the Raptors could bring this to 7 behind another great series from Kawhi, but I am giving the edge to the Bucks, a team that has responded to every challenge thus far.  The Raptors need to play a more complete series than they did against Philly, but I’m not sure they will. It will still be fun, but Milwaukee will advance.

Series Schedule:

Game 1: Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks (5/15, 8:30 PM)

Game 2: Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks (5/17, 8:30 PM)

Game 3: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors (5/19, 7:00 PM)

Game 4: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors (5/21, 8:30 PM)

Game 5: Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks (5/23, 8:30 PM)*

Game 6: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors (5/25, 8:30 PM)*

Game 7: Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks (5/27, 8:30 PM)*

All games on TNT

*if necessary

Western Conference Finals

(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (3) Portland Trail Blazers

Warriors and Trail Blazers split their season series (2 wins each)

Fredy: Warriors in 7

This postseason is taking forever but more content, right? Tonight is the start of the Western Conference Finals and I can’t wait for Blazers vs Warriors… weird considering my previous hate for the Blazers. But I will say this: they have made this playoff run one of the more memorable ones in awhile. From trashing Westbrook to the quadruple overtime game against the Nuggets, this is what the playoffs are about! I was wrong about the Blazers and jumped on the bandwagon after Lillard made Westbrook look like Mario Chalmers. The Warriors on the other hand just beat the Rockets and made them look like bitches (and the Rockets were supposed to be the ones to take them down!). Now they’re without Durant. You know what that means? Curry and Thompson are on the fucking lose. Hide your kids, hide your wives, because they’re scoring on everybody.

Without Durant this season (five games; which includes missing one against the Rockets), the Warriors are basically still a scoring machine at 108.4 PPG while their defense is relatively the same, allowing 102.2 PPG. It’s time for the Splash Brothers to rise again. It’s also time for Draymond to show that he is worth the max contract he wants. The Big 3 have 12 All-Star Game appearances between them, so I think they’ll be fine. That doesn’t mean they should take their foot off the gas. The Blazers have one of the best backcourts in the NBA looking to make their place in history. McCollum and Lillard want to make a name for themselves so here’s there chance. Don’t be another footnote in NBA history! Give it to meeeee!!!

Series Schedule:

Game 1: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors (5/14, 9:00 PM)

Game 2: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors (5/16, 9:00 PM)

Game 3: Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers (5/18, 9:00 PM)

Game 4: Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers (5/20, 9:00 PM)

Game 5: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors (5/22, 9:00 PM)*

Game 6: Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers (5/24, 9:00 PM)*

Game 7: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors (5/26, 9:00 PM)*

All games on ESPN

*if necessary

Staff Picks

Eastern Conference Finals

  • Nick: Bucks in 6
  • Fredy: Bucks in 5
  • Mike: Bucks in 6
  • Kerm: Bucks in 7
  • Trevor: Bucks in 6
  • Gaashaan: Raptors in 7
  • Kennedy: Raptors in 7

Western Conference Finals

  • Nick: Warriors in 6
  • Fredy: Warriors in 7
  • Mike: Warriors in 5
  • Kerm: Warriors in 6
  • Trevor: Warriors in 6
  • Gaashaan: Warriors in 4
  • Kennedy: Warriors in 6

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