The NBA Playoffs are here, which means predictions are here. Let’s get right into my predictions for the 2018 Playoffs!
1. Rockets vs 8. Timberwolves
James Harden carries the Rockets in the 1st round, as I don’t see how Butler can guard him. I also don’t see how the Wolves bench can handle the firepower of Eric Gordon, Iso-Joe, and Gerald Green.
Prediction: Rockets Win 4-1
4. Thunder vs 5. Jazz
I don’t see how Donavon Mitchell and the rest of the Jazz can beat an experienced Thunder lineup. The Thunder win this series, but the Jazz comes out of the series knowing that they have a young lineup that will dominate opponents in future years.
Prediction: Thunder win 4-2
3. Trailblazers vs 6. Pelicans
In a very tight series, the Pelicans edge it out. The Pelicans have the player who will probably be 2nd in MVP voting, Anthony Davis. Rondo has shown up in the playoffs, and will likely be putting up at least 15 assists per game. Pelicans win this series in 7.
Prediction: Pelicans win 4-3
2. Warriors vs 7. Spurs
With no Kawhi Leonard, I don’t see much talent on the Spurs. At least not enough to beat the Warriors. The Warriors win this series in a sweep as they have 3 all-stars in their lineup that get it done.
Prediction: Warriors win 4-0
1. Raptors vs 8. Wizards
The Raptors have a tough first-round matchup against the Wizards, however, they should be able to get it done. The Wizards will put up a fight in every game, but they just don’t have as much talent as other teams when talking about frontcourts.
Prediction: Raptors win 4-2
4. Cavaliers vs 5. Pacers
This pick is the most controversial pick, this is the one everyone would argue about. Lebron has been in 6 consecutive Finals, so for him to exit in the 1st round would be unbelievable. With this in mind, I still think the Pacers will get it done in 7. Oladipo has been playing out of his mind, and center Myles Turner will look to redeem himself in the playoffs after a below-par season. If you look at Lebron’s team in past years, he is always playing with 2 all-stars. In past years, it has been Irving and Love and with the Heat is was Wade and Bosh. This year, he is playing with Love, who hasn’t even been that good. Other then that, there isn’t much firepower on the team. I believe the new look Cavs will not beat Oladipo and the Pacers.
Prediction: Pacers win 4-3
3. 76ers vs 6. Heat
The 76ers are on a 16 game winning streak, and I believe this goes to 20 after the next 4 games. Talk about the right time to have a winning streak like this one. The 76ers win every game by a large sum of points, cruising past Miami.
Prediction: 76ers win 4-0
2. Celtics vs 7. Bucks
The Celtics have played fantastic, but now are missing their best player in Irving. Giannis will take over in this series, with help from other players such as Middleton and Maker. The Bucks have been playing more like a 4 seed with several unlucky losses in the season, and they are one of the toughest 7 seeds in NBA history.
Prediction: Bucks win 4-2
1. Rockets vs 4. Thunder
If you remember at the beginning of the season, these two teams were questioned the most in terms of chemistry. The questions were all about how the players were great in isolation, but it would be interesting to see if they could fit together. The Rockets have definitely received an A+ for their efforts, the fact that CP3 and Harden are playing perfectly with each other. On the other hand, the Thunder have been shaky. There is only one basketball, and the fact that Westbrook and Carmelo play the same way is a problem. Everyone talked about how Melo would share the ball more, however, he is only averaging 1.3 assists per game. Rockets win this series, as MVP Harden plays incredible.
Prediction: Rockets win 4-1
2. Warriors vs 6. Pelicans
At the beginning of the season, I was saying how the Pelicans have the ability to beat the Warriors. If you look at the Kings when Cousins played there, they would beat the Warriors a lot considering they were up against the best team in the league. Then you have a partnership with Anthony Davis which is unstoppable. Draymond Green can guard and shut down one of the two, but that just means the other big man would go for 40. If Cousins was healthy I do think this series would go to 7, and the Pelicans would have a shot at beating Golden State. But without Cousins, I think Green will do a pretty good job on AD. If Green can hold him to 30 points, the Warriors will win the series. Therefore, the Warriors win this series pretty comfortably.
Prediction: Warriors win 4-2
1. Raptors vs 5. Pacers
I am continuing my streak of being controversial in the Eastern Conference, as I believe the Pacers will be going to the Conference Finals. The Raptors have had a history of choking in the playoffs, and I think this will occur again. As a duo, Turner and Oladipo will play better than DeRozan and Lowry.
Prediction: Pacers win 4-2
3. 76ers vs 7. Bucks
As I said before, the 76ers have been playing incredible. Giannis can take over in some games, but Simmons and Embiid outclass the Bucks. You also have to note that Fultz had a triple-double against the Bucks in the regular season, and will cause a threat. The 76ers won that game 130-95. Giannis was held to only 10 points as well. Overall, I don’t see how the Bucks can win this series.
Prediction: 76ers win 4-1
1. Rockets vs 2. Warriors
This is the series of all series, this is the series that we have been waiting for. Can James Harden take down the Warriors? The other question is when will Curry return? If Curry does return in 4 games, will the series already be over? All these questions excite me, as I want to find out these answers. It is definitely hard to predict this series, but I think the Rockets get it done. If they stay healthy, they are unstoppable. With their big 3, they have only lost 3 games this season. It is a tough call, but I’m going with Houston to finally dethrone the Warriors.
Prediction: Rockets win 4-3
3. 76ers vs 5. Pacers
What an unexpected series, a 3 seed against a 5 seed. In this matchup, I believe the Pacers run comes to an end. The 76ers are really good, and it’s tough for anyone to stop them. They have one of the best if not the best center in the NBA, Joel Embiid. Then you have the probable rookie of the year, Ben Simmons. This year Simmons has been averaging 16 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 8.2 APG. There is also J.J. Redick, who was an unbelievable pickup in the offseason scoring 17 a game. Don’t get me started on Covington and his defensive ability, while also scoring 12.6 a night. And then there is the bench of Marco Belinelli, Markelle Fultz, Ersan Ilyasova, and many other fantastic players. I look at this team and question if anyone can beat them, and I certainly don’t think anyone in the East can. If the 76ers end up in the Finals it will not be a surprise to me.
Prediction: 76ers win 4-0
The NBA Finals
1. Rockets vs 3. 76ers
Let’s compare the lineups, and point out who is going to win their individual matchup. The point guard of the Rockets is CP3, while the point guard for the 76ers is Simmons. While CP3 is the better player right now when looking at the points, Simmons has more assists this season and has a height advantage of 10 inches on CP3. I believe Simmons wins this matchup because of that major advantage. No one on the Rockets can guard Simmons, as players of his height are just to slow. The Rockets backcourt is impressive, but what about the frontcourt? The standout player at center is Clint Capela, however, Joel Embiid wins that matchup by far. Even if P.J. Tucker tries to guard Embiid, Saric will be left open. During their 2 matchups this season, the Rockets won the first by only one point. The second matchup was won by the 76ers, as they scored 115 compared to the Rockets 107. I don’t think the Rockets can win the championship, as I think the 76ers will get it done. It will be a tight series, but I believe the 76ers win in 7 games.
Prediction: 76ers win 4-3