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NBA Playoff Predictions

Brian Taylor

Posted on April 13, 2018 20:38

2 users

Breaking down the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

One of my favorite sports seasons of the year is upon us, the NBA and NHL Playoffs. Since John Turnball did such an outstanding job with the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I'll take another crack at some basketball predictions after getting Villanova (and nothing else) right during March Madness.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1)Toronto Raptors v (8)Washington Wizards - After winning their first ever top seed, the Raptors are rewarded with the worst possible matchup. The Wizards underachieved this season, but their backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal matches up well with Kyle Lowry and De'Mar DeRozen. Expect a struggle, but the Raptors should prevail. Prediction: Raptors in 6.

(2)Boston Celtics v (7)Milwaukee Bucks - The Celtics looked like the team to beat in the East until Kyrie Irving went down with a season ending knee injury. Milwaukee has the best player in this series in Giannis Antetokounmpto and having him give the Bucks the best chance of any team at pulling a major upset. Prediction: Bucks in 6.

(3)Philadelphia 76ers v (6)Miami Heat - The Sixers come into the Playoffs having won 16 straight to end the season, not bad for a team that won only 10 games just two seasons ago. The Heat have experience that the Sixers don't, and with Joel Embid's health unknown, this series is a toss up. If Embid comes back, Philly should advance. Prediction: 76ers in 7.

(4)Cleveland Cavaliers v (5)Indiana Pacers - The Cavs been up and down all season while Indiana was the surprise team of the league with Victor Oladipo making Pacers fans ask "What's a Paul George?". The Cavs still have LeBron, who is looking to make it to his eighth straight Finals. Prediction: Cavs in 5.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(1)Houston Rockets v (8)Minnesota Timberwolves - The Rockets had the best record in the regular season and the pairing of Chris Paul with James Harden has proven genius. Minnesota is back in the Playoffs since 2004, and while they have an exciting young nucleus, the future is not this season. Prediction: Rockets in 4.

(2)Golden State Warriors v (7)San Antonio Spurs - The Warriors look vulnerable without Steph Curry, but with the Spurs limping in without Kawhi Leonard, it shouldn't matter this round. The Spurs are still the Spurs, but I don't see any Popovich magic this year. Prediction: Warriors in 5.

(3)Portland Trail Blazers v (6)New Orleans Pelicans - The Pelicans would be more threatening if DeMarcus Cousins hadn't torn his achilles. Portland has the bigs to tame Anthony Davis and allow Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to control the series. Prediction: Blazers in 6 (as if I'd say anything else).

(4)Oklahoma City Thunder v (5)Utah Jazz - OKC was expected to challenge the Warriors this season after acquiring Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, but struggled to click as a group. Utah was expected to struggle after losing Gordon Heyward, but responded by going 29-6 after January 24th. Prediction: Jazz in 6.

Brian Taylor

Posted on April 13, 2018 20:38

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Source: CBS Sports

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