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An Outsider’s NBA Playoff Picks

It’s no secret from the content I write that I watch a lot more hockey than I do basketball. But, I still do have some idea of what’s going on in the association. So, I thought, why don’t I take a stab at predicting the NBA playoffs? You know, just for fun.

*Disclaimer-I do not know all the ins and outs of everything going on in the association, so don’t get up in arms if I completely whiff on some of this.

EAST FIRST ROUND

1 Bucks vs. 8 Pistons

In a Great Lakes battle, the Bucks come in with the best record in basketball. The Pistons, meanwhile, return to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons with a .500 record. While the Pistons might steal a game in the series, Giannis and company will not allow another first round elimination after last year’s seven-game defeat to Boston.

Bucks in 5

2 Raptors vs. 7 Magic

Man, it’s been a while since the Magic haven’t been a laughing stock. A strong season this year has propelled them back into the playoffs, which will have to be enough of an accomplishment this season. The Raptors have too much firepower for the Magic to keep up, and they should handle business.

Raptors in 5

3 76ers vs. 6 Nets

The Nets, behind a remarkable season from D’Angelo Russell, finally returned to the postseason for the first time since the rebuild after the disastrous Billy King era. The 76ers, meanwhile, are back in the playoffs after “trusting the process” for several years. The process will end up prevailing here.

76ers in 6

4 Celtics vs. 5 Pacers

What I anticipate to be the closest first round series, I expect war between these two eastern foes. The Pacers will scratch and claw their way through the series, but in game 7 at TD Garden, the Celtics’ talent will pull out a tight series, sending Indiana home after another painful loss.

Celtics in 7

WEST FIRST ROUND

1 Warriors vs. 8 Clippers

The Warriors are vulnerable. They do not have the same dominance over the rest of the NBA this year, and could be taken out of the playoffs earlier than expected. It won’t be to the Clippers. Sorry, Clippers. You may have been the better LA team, but not good enough to take down the juggernaut.

Warriors in 5

2 Nuggets vs. 7 Spurs

The Nuggets were great in the regular season, but are unproven in the playoffs. The Spurs were less impressive in the regular season, but are much more experienced in the playoffs. I’m gonna take the Nuggets to get it done.

Nuggets in 6

3 Trail Blazers vs. 6 Thunder

Damien Lillard and company versus Russel Westbrook and company. Both teams that faced first round eliminations last season. Sorry, Portland, I can’t see Westbrook bowing out in the first round for the third straight year.

Thunder in 6

4 Rockets vs. 5 Jazz

The Rockets are looking to get back to the conference finals and beyond, while the Jazz are looking to break through to the conference finals. A seven-game war will ensue between these two, but Harden and company pull it out at home.

Rockets in 7

EAST SECOND ROUND

1 Bucks vs. 4 Celtics

A rematch of last year’s first round matchup that went to seven games. This time, though, game 7 is in Milwaukee. However, it won’t matter, as the Celtics pull the upset on the road and head back to the conference finals.

Celtics in 7

2 Raptors vs. 3 76ers

The Raptors could never get past LeBron for the longest time. Now, there’s no LeBron, just the process in front of them. The 76ers will put up a fight, and certainly have the talent to win, but the Raptors move one step closer to the Finals.

Raptors in 6

WEST SECOND ROUND

1 Warriors vs. 4 Rockets

Last year’s western conference finals rematch promises to be a good one. The Rockets had the Warriors on the ropes last year before Chris Paul’s injury, and even then stayed competitive in game 7 despite going ice cold from three. With home court in Oakland, however, the Warriors will once again bounce the Rockets in 7.

Warriors in 7

2 Nuggets vs. 6 Thunder

The Nuggets have had an incredible regular season after just missing out on the dance last year. However, their inexperience comes back to haunt them here, as Westbrook continues to show how good he really is and takes them out.

Thunder in 6

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

2 Raptors vs. 4 Celtics

This is an incredibly tough series to call. My preseason prediction was for the Celtics to power past the eastern conference to make the Finals. However, this feels to me like the year the Raptors break through. Again, with no LeBron to stop them, Kawhi Leonard and company find a way in game 7 to get through.

Raptors in 7

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

1 Warriors vs. 6 Thunder

A rematch of the conference finals from three years ago, when the Warriors had to mount a 3-1 comeback to make the Finals. Kevin Durant infamously defected from OKC to Oakland after that series, the epitome of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. And it shall be Durant and company taking down the Thunder to make it back to their fifth straight Finals.

Warriors in 6

THE FINALS

Warriors vs. Raptors

The Warriors are looking to get their fourth championship in five seasons, while the Raptors are looking to finally break through without the obstacle of LeBron to stop them. Unfortunately for the basketball world, the Warriors will once again prevail, and further their legacy as one of the greatest dynasties ever. However, after this championship, the dynasty is over, and next year, it’s open season for the NBA championship.

Warriors in 6

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