NBA First Round Playoff Predictions
Portland Trail Blazers Vs Los Angeles Lakers
The Blazers have been one of the hottest teams since the restart led by Damian Lillard. This guy has been unstoppable and I hope the Lakers are ready for it. The Blazers aren’t chumps and shouldn’t be overlooked, but the Lakers are a much deeper team and much more solid on the defensive side of the ball. I expect the Blazers to give the Lakers everything they’ve got and to make it a battle every game in this series, but the Lakers are a superior team. LeBron is LeBron and he’s had an amazing season and has led this team to the #1 spot out West. Anthony Davis has been a killer on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball and has been just as important as LeBron. There are still some questions beyond those two on the team, but this is the playoffs and LeBron always elevates his game to another level this time of year and I expect him to dominate in this series. No one on the Blazers roster can even matchup with LeBron to defend against him or Anthony Davis.
Lakers over Blazers in 5 games
Houston Rockets Vs Oklahoma City Thunder
The Rockets are pretty much screwed in this matchup with no Russell Westbrook. The Rockets need to score a lot of points to even have a chance at a win since they play next to no defense, and with Westbrook’s injury he will be on the bench and that takes away a huge chunk of the offense. It also doesn’t help that this is the time of year when James Harden has his disappearing act and some how forgets how to make a bucket or win. The Thunder on the other hand actually do play defense, they know how to score points, and have been playing very well as a team since the restart. Chris Paul was traded from the Rockets this past offseason surrounded by a bunch of drama, so I have a feeling he is going to come into this series pissed off and ready to kick some ass. It should be a contentious series with a strong battle in the back court, but with no Westbrook I think the Thunder are the clear favorites in this matchup. Westbrook is a big part of why this team works offensively and without him it makes it that much more difficult to win in a seven game series.
Thunder over Rockets in 6 games
Utah Jazz Vs Denver Nuggets
This will probably end up being the best matchup in this round in the Western Conference because both of these teams are evenly matched. Nikola Jokic has had a dominating season and even though he started off slow once they started playing basketball again, he was able to get his legs under him and start playing like his old self. Jokic is a silent assassin because not many people are really aware of how good he is because he isn’t considered a “superstar”, but the dude can ball and can take over a game at any moment. The Jazz are led by Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, who have also been playing very well since the restart. Beyond the star players both teams have multiple role players who can step it up and may not necessarily take over a game, but can play a key role in a close matchup. The edge in this matchup I believe will be Utah’s bench players. I think they will be more equipped to withstand an entire series and can rely on more than one player to help get the win. Whereas the Nuggets basically need Jokic to have a good game every night to even have a shot at the win.
Jazz over Nuggets in 7 games
Dallas Mavericks Vs Los Angeles Clippers
The Mavericks have no shot in this one. The Clippers are a far superior team and the Mavericks will have their hands full from the jump. The Mavericks have some good players and are capable of keeping up at times with their opponent, but against the Clippers in a seven game series it would be shocking if they’re even capable of getting one win in this series.
Clippers over Mavericks in 4 games
Orlando Magic Vs Milwaukee Bucks
This will be a nice little warm-up for the Bucks to start off the postseason. The Magic will be lucky if they get one win in this series because they look like a JV squad compared to the Bucks. I’m not expecting much from this series other than an ass kicking coming the Magic’s way courtesy of the Bucks!
Bucks over Magic in 4 games
Indiana Pacers Vs Miami Heat
This will be the best matchup coming out of the East in the first round. The Pacers have by far been the biggest surprise and have been one of the most dominant teams the last couple of weeks. T.J. Warren has been a man on fire, leading the Pacers to a ton of dominating and surprising wins. Warren has been playing at an MVP level since the restart and I expect him to give the Heat major problems in this series. The Heat aren’t chumps though and Jimmy Butler is a baller, and when he gets to the postseason he takes his game to a whole other level. This should be a back and forth series that will be hard fought until the end, but Jimmy Butler is the truth and he has the receipts to prove what a beast he is in the postseason and I can’t pick against that, at least in this matchup.
Heat over Pacers in 7 games
Philadelphia 76ers Vs Boston Celtics
Since the restart of the season the team playing the least inspired basketball right now are the 76ers! Not one player is playing with any type of heart on the court, they all look like they’re just going through the motions. The Celtics on the other hand have picked up right where they left off before the league shutdown. I expect the 76ers to step it up a bit now that they’re playing for something, but even so the Celtics look more cohesive as an overall team and they should be able to handle the 76ers in a seven game series. I don’t expect this to be much of a challenge for the Celtics with what I’ve seen from the 76ers, but maybe they can surprise me and make this a good series to watch!
Celtics over 76ers in 5 games
Brooklyn Nets Vs Toronto Raptors
I anticipate that this matchup is going to be one of the most boring by far in the first round. The Nets backup squad has absolutely no chance to even win one game in this series. I’d be surprised if just one of these games ends up being a close one in the end. The Raptors will have no problems moving onto the next round!
Raptors over Nets in 4 games