By Teddy Dienst ’20
The National Basketball Association playoffs tipped off on Saturday, April 14. As The best eight teams in the eastern conference and the best eight teams from the western conference compete in a seven game series throughout the postseason. Until one east and one west team remain and battle it out in the finals seeking the Larry O’Brien trophy.
The Toronto Raptors (1 seed) v.s Washington Wizards (8 seed)
The Toronto Raptors clinched the one seed in the east by ending the season with 59 wins and 23 losses. They are matched up against the eighth seed Washington Wizards and currently lead the series 1-0. The Raptors are led by all-star shooting guard Demar Derozan and and all-star point guard Kyle Lowry. The Wizards are led by point guard John Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal. It would definitely surprise me if the Raptors did not come out on top in this series because they have a much better overall team with a lot of depth on their roster. Whereas the Wizards really only have two or three players that can get the scoring job done.
Prediction: Raptors win 4-0
Boston Celtics (2 seed) v.s Milwaukee Bucks (7 seed)
The 55-27 Celtics finished the season strong clinching the number two seed in the east. They are currently beating the Milwaukee Bucks 1-0 after an overtime thriller. Although the Celtics are up by one game in the series it would not be a shock to me if the Bucks ended up winning. Especially with superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way. And the Celtics having to deal with the loss to star point guard Kyrie Irving due to knee surgery. I predict the Bucks win the series 4-3
Philadelphia 76ers (3 seed) v.s Miami Heat (6 seed)
A good turnaround for the 76ers after having one of the league’s worst records last year. This years 52-30 team is led by the young core of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz. The series is currently tied 1-1 after Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade scored 28 points in a victory. Even though the 76ers are a less experienced playoff team, it would be hard seeing them lose to the Heat.
Prediction: 76ers win the series 4-2.
Cleveland Cavaliers (4 seed) v.s Indiana Pacers (5 seed)
The Cavaliers struggled a little bit this year compared to in the past. Led by Lebron James, Cleveland looks to go back to the finals for a fourth year in a row. The Pacers are leading the series 1-0 under shooting guard Victor Oladipo. Even though the Cavs’ struggles are apparent I just can not see the Pacers pulling it off and winning the series.
Prediction Cavs win 4-1
Houston Rockets (1 seed) v.s Minnesota Timberwolves (8 seed)
The Houston Rockets had an impressive season ending 65-17 clinching the number one seed in the West. This team is led by the 2018 MVP favorite James Harden who ended the regular season averaging 31 points per game. Even though the Timberwolves have a strong young core they are just no match for the fire power that Houston possess.
Prediction: Rockets win 4-0
Golden State Warriors (2 seed)
It is surprising that this superteam is not the one seed. After winning two out of the three last championships they look to go back for the fourth time in a row. This roster consists of four all stars: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Spurs are a very well coached team under coach Gregg Popovich, however, with the absence on Kawhi Leonard who suffered a quad injury, there is just no way the Spurs can get it done against the defending champs.
Prediction Warriors win 4-0
Portland Trail Blazers (3 seed) vs New Orleans Pelicans
Portland is led by the dynamic backcourt of point guard Damian Lillard and shooting guard CJ Mccollum. They are down 1-0 against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans are a very good team and I would predict them going very far in the playoffs if center Demarcus Cousins never tore his achilles. Without Cousins I just cannot see Anthony Davis carrying this Pelicans team to a victory
Prediction: Blazers win 4-2
Oklahoma City Thunder (4 seed) v.s Utah Jazz (5 seed)
This is going to be a very interesting series to follow, both teams are very talented and ended the season strong. OKC is currently up 1-0 led by reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. If the Jazz can prevent these players from having huge games I think they have a chance in the series, otherwise there is no chance they come out on top.
Prediction: Thunder win 4-1
This is a preview of the NBA playoffs with my predictions of the first round winners. The two teams I see advancing and seeing each other in the finals are the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Houston Rockets. Even though it is tough going against Lebron I cannot see the Rockets losing under the phenomenal play James Harden is producing.