NBA Playoff Predictions


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Mandeep Karir

The NBA season ended on April 9, and the play-in tournament amassed four victories from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks.

Now, playoff basketball is officially underway! These are the teams most likely to advance.

1. Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets

The 76ers have offensive firepower in James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, who each average more than 20 points per game, and Joel Embiid, who racked up a 33 point and 10 rebound per game double-double for the season.

Nic Claxton, Cam Thomas and Mikal Bridges are scoring threats to look out for, carrying the Nets in scoring since the Kyrie Irving trade.

76ers win 4-2.

2. Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics

The Celtics won 5-0 in the season series. Trae Young’s offensive firepower and Clint Capela’s rebounding are factors to look out for. Bogdan Bogdanovic’s quick on-ball defense can be a problem as well, but Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are a strong duo to watch. A Charles Barkley sweep guarantee looks likely!

Celtics win 4-0.

3. New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Knicks beat the Cavaliers 3-1 in the season and Jalen Brunson has been tremendous, averaging 24 points per game. Julius Randle averaged 25.1 points and 10 rebounds this season. Randle looks like himself.

Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley are two players to look out for on the Cavs, having a great season and complementing each other’s games with scoring and rebounding. This is going to be a fascinating series.

Knicks win 4-3.

4. Golden State Warriors vs. Sacramento Kings

The Kings have been in a playoff drought since 2006 and are looking to make the most out of this appearance. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis have been the Kings’ key contributors and will be a threat to the Warriors’ defense.

Klay Thompson has had an up-and-down season, including the last three games where he shot 54.5%, 62.5% and 31.3%. Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole are two players who can give a consistent effort throughout, but the defense needs to step up.

Kings win 4-3.

5. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The Lakers have a lot of players with postseason experience. The Grizzlies are okay, but it will take a lot to school LeBron James and the veterans who have a lot to prove. This series will come down to the wire.

Lakers win 4-2.

6. Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s close-range efficiency at 55.3% along with Khris Middleton and other key pieces can break apart the Heat’s defense. Jimmy Butler and the Heat are a hungry team. Bam Adebayo can occasionally hit the long ball, but he can crash the glass. It’s going to be an epic fight!

Heat win 4-3.

7. Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns

The Clippers and Suns have suffered injuries. For the Suns, Kevin Durant went down with an ankle injury during pregame warmups late in the season. Clippers forward Paul George is still recovering from a gruesome knee injury. Kawhi Leonard and Durant are likely to take charge during this series and there are a lot of players who are ring-hungry, including Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.

Clippers win 4-1.

8. Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets and Timberwolves drew in the regular season, 2-2. Nikola Jokic won the MVP award for the past two seasons. Another key factor in this series is Michael Porter Jr. If he can produce the same kind of output as he did in the NBA Bubble and if he and Jamal Murray can stay healthy, the Nuggets are in good shape.

Nuggets win 4-2.