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NBA

NBA Playoffs Round 2: Predictions

The second round of the NBA Playoffs has already begun with two more games heading into it tonight. Here’s what to expect for each series.

Jennifer Bubel
Update:

The NBA conference semi-final playoffs are here after an exciting opening round. We have four matchups to watch, and all four promise to be even more thrilling than Round 1. In Round 2, it’s time to get serious, with the just the top four teams from each conference left. There will be no easy wins this round. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from each series.

In the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers were just dealt a huge blow with their MVP Joel Embiid out with a fracture and concussion. They’ll take on the no. 1 Miami Heat. Then we have the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, providing one of the more difficult series to predict.

In the Western Conference, the no. 1 Phoenix Suns, whose Chris Paul put up a historic perfect shooting game to close out the series over the Pelicans, will take on the Dallas Mavericks, who just gave the Utah Jazz a run for their money. The Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors will provide plenty of entertainment with stars like Ja Morant taking on the Warriors’ big three, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

Miami Heat (No. 1) vs Philadelphia 76ers (No. 4)

The Heat are looking to make it to the Finals for the second time in three years, and they have a tough team to go up against in order to get there. However, their chances definitely look better now that the 76ers are without their star Joel Embiid. The Sixers struggled to get past the Toronto Raptors, starting off to a hot 3-0 start, but then falling 2-0 in the next two before finally closing it out in Game 6. The Heat, on the other hand, looked pretty comfortable handling the Hawks in five games, even sitting starters Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry in Game 5. Without the obstacle that is Embiid, the Heat win it relatively easy.

Prediction: Heat in 6

Boston Celtics (No. 2) vs Milwaukee Bucks (No. 3)

This series has already begun, with the Bucks taking an early 1-0 lead after winning 101-89 in Boston. This does sway my prediction a bit of course, as I was inclined to lean bit towards the Celtics before, but seeing the Bucks win on the road without Khris Middleton is convincing. Surviving the Chicago Bulls without him is one thing, but surviving against the Celtics and Jayson Tatum is quite another. The Celtics impressively shut down Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets in a four-game sweep, but taking on Giannis Antetokounmpo is a task all on its own. The Celtics will learn from their mistakes in Game 1 and come back even stronger with weapons like Jrue Holiday, who had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the team. It will be a close series.

Prediction: Bucks in 7

Phoenix Suns (No. 1) vs Dallas Mavericks (No. 4)

The Mavericks won two games without Luka Doncic in the first round, which really proves the depth the team has. Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie have proven they are also big contributors, along with Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith, who comes in clutch in shooting. They will be tough for the Suns to shoot down. But the Suns have weapons of their own with Chris Paul and Devin Booker, who recently came back from an injury, and big man DeAndre Ayton. When Dallas’ stars are healthy and playing at their best, they can be impossible to take down. But the Suns also have playoff experience on their side. The Suns are six-point favorites in the series, but that’s not far off from the Mavs/Jazz series prediction. I’m going with the underdogs and Mavericks upset.

Prediction: Mavs in 7

Memphis Grizzlies (No. 2) vs Golden State Warriors (No. 3)

The Warriors won the first game of the series, but barely, at 117-116. The Warriors won their previous series against the Denver Nuggets with relative ease in five games while the Grizzlies took a bit longer to beat the Timberwolves in six. The Grizzlies also succeeded often times due to the Timberwolves’ mistakes rather than their own personal successes. The Timberwolves actually had 13-point or more leads in five out of six of their games, even though they only won two. I don’t expect the Warriors to give up that kind of lead. Stephen Curry has been and still is a shooting star for the Warriors, but lately it’s Jordan Poole who’s been making a big difference for Golden State. After Game 1, Poole has scored 27+ points in four of the first six playoff games. The Grizzlies fourth-quarter comeback abilities will only get them so far in the playoffs.

Prediction: Warriors in 5

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