The NBA playoffs are here. After one of the most exciting seasons fans of the league have seen in years, it is time for 16 of the best teams in the NBA to battle it out for the Larry O'Brien Trophy. There has been a lot of storylines that have played out over the course of the season, and now new storylines will emerge as these top teams battle it out to win the championship. The Warriors have shown they are beatable this season, as they come in with the 2nd seed in the West, something many people didn't expect to see. The Rockets could be considered the best team in the league, and it will be very interesting on who comes out on top of the West.
People are also looking to see how LeBron James and the Cavaliers will fare in the Eastern Conference, as their team has changed faces many times throughout LeBron's 15th NBA season. The Sixers ended the season as the hottest team in the league with 15 wins in a row, but how far can the young core really go in these tough NBA playoffs?
All these questions and storylines will be answered below, as we will be predicting the entire outcome of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
As always, feel free to leave any comments you have on this below. We would love to hear your thoughts.
Here is our prediction for the entire 2018 NBA Playoffs.
15 East Round 1: (1) Toronto Raptors vs. (8) Washington Wizards
Prediction: Raptors win 4-3
The Raptors were able to finish the 2018 NBA season on top of the Eastern Conference, matching them up with the Washington Wizards who finished with the 8th seed. The Wizards are a formidable last seed however, and I see this series being one of the more exciting in the playoffs. John Wall just got back from injury, and is confident he and his team will be able to upset the top team in the East.
These two teams have played four times throughout the regular season, splitting it at 2-2.
The Raptors will most likely come out on top this series, but the Wizards will ultimately end up pushing it all the way to Game 7.
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry could end up making a serious run in these playoffs, something they have been yearning for up north for a while now.
14 (2) Boston Celtics vs. (7) Milwaukee Bucks
Prediction: Celtics win 4-2
The Boston Celtics are without their two best players going into the playoffs, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. The Celtics will be led by their young core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and veteran center Al Horford. The Celtics are definitely not as dangerous as they could have been as Kyrie Irving was just ruled out for the entire playoffs, but they still have a good enough team to take care of the Milwaukee Bucks, a team who have been disappointing this season as many thought they would be a better team than they have shown. I see the Celtics taking this series in 6 games, as they will look to make a push in the East while learning for the future as a championship is most likely not in the cards for these 2018 NBA playoffs.
13 (3) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (6) Miami Heat
Prediction: 76ers win 4-1
The 76ers are the hottest team in the NBA right now. They won 15 games in a row to end their epic season, finishing with 52 wins. Ben Simmons was spectacular all season, and Joel Embiid will be back for the playoffs after suffering an eye injury a few weeks ago. The Heat have been solid as well this season, but they are in for a rude awakening as the Sixers will be just too much for them once they meet in the 1st round. Markelle Fultz is finally healthy, and even logged a triple double the last game of the season as he will be an important piece to the 76ers second unit. The Heat will be led by Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade, and will be able to grind a win in this series which won't be enough to move on.
12 (4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (5) Indiana Pacers
Prediction: Cavaliers win 4-1
LeBron James has zero intention of going home to the Indiana Pacers, as he and the Cavaliers will most likely make quick work of the Pacers in round 1. Indiana has a solid team, but they are still young, and it will be very hard for them to contain LeBron as he will most likely dominate just like he always does in the playoffs.
The Cavaliers, despite essentially reshaping their team at the deadline, are in a good position to make a run into these playoffs.
This is a big series for Victor Oladipo as well, as he will be looking to prove he can show up big time in the playoffs for his new team. While the 4th and 5th seed series is usually the most exciting in the first round of the playoffs, LeBron James is usually not the 4th seed, and will make sure his team has time to rest for round 2.
11 West Round 1: (1) Houston Rockets vs. (8) Minnesota Timberwolves
Prediction: Rockets win 4-0
The Rockets are arguably the best team in the NBA right now, as they pretty much dominated throughout the entire regular season campaign. Led by James Harden and Chris Paul, Houston is the most dangerous team on the offensive end, and will not slow down at the sight of Minnesota in the first round. They will win all four games they play against the Wolves, just like they did in the regular season as they went 4-0 against them. Many thought the Timberwolves would be a top team in the West this season, but after a disappointing season, they ended up just making the playoffs with the 8th seed. This will end up costing them greatly, as Houston is not a team you want to play in the playoffs, let alone series number 1.
10 (2) Golden State Warriors vs. (7) San Antonio Spurs
Prediction: Warriors win 4-3
The Warriors went 7-10 through their last 17 games to end the season without Stephen Curry. This is a red flag for Warriors fans, because their team certainly has the talent to win most of their games led by Durant, Thompson, and Green, right? The Spurs have always been a thorn in the Warriors' side to get to the championship, and San Antonio probably feels pretty good considering the fact Steph Curry will be absent for the first round.
Despite not having Kawhi Leonard on their team for these playoffs, the Spurs have one of the deepest teams in the league and will put up a series fight in this first round, almost spoiling the Warriors chances for a repeat. While still getting the series win, going to all 7 games could hurt the Warriors chances of winning the 2nd round.
9 (3) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (6) New Orleans Pelicans
Prediction: Pelicans win 4-2
Only a game or so decided the 3 through 6 seeds in the West, and the Blazers ended up sitting pretty at the third seed in the West. However, New Orleans has been a good team in the league this season despite losing DeMarcus Cousins, and I believe the Pelicans will beat the Blazers in 6 games. The reason being is simple, the Blazers have no one to stop Anthony Davis, who had a career year this season for New Orleans.
The Trail Blazers have let big men have great games against them this year, and Davis will lead the Pelicans over Portland in this first round series.
This will most likely be one of highest scoring series in the playoffs, as Damian Lillard and the Blazers will put up big numbers, despite being beat out by Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.
8 (4) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (5) Utah Jazz
Prediction: Jazz win 4-3
The Jazz have been one of the best success stories in the league this season, as they were able to make the playoffs in the tough Western Conference, something not many people thought was in store for them. Led by rookie Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz have been a handful to deal with for many NBA teams, and the Thunder will be learning that the hard way in round 1. Despite being star studded, the Thunder haven't been that dominate throughout the regular season. Westbrook and company will do everything in their power to move deep into the Western Conference playoffs, however, the Jazz will come out on top in an epic 7 game series. The Jazz and Thunder will be one of the best series in the playoffs, with Utah moving into the second round after 7 games.
7 East Round 2: (1) Toronto Raptors vs. (4) Cleveland Cavaliers
Prediction: Cavaliers win 4-2
The Raptors are always being criticized for not making it far into the playoffs, and this will ring true again this season as they will face up against LeBron and the Cavaliers in round 2. You may be thinking, wow, this guy is a huge LeBron fan. No, I just know greatness when I see it, and LeBron James is a different beast during playoff time.
Only a few great teams have really stopped LeBron over the past decade, and this year's Toronto Raptors will not be one of them.
LeBron wants to make it back to the finals again this year, and will do whatever it takes to make it there. Despite being an excellent team, the Raptors will fall to the Cavaliers in round 2 of the 2018 NBA playoffs.
6 (2) Boston Celtics vs. (3) Philadelphia 76ers
Prediction: 76ers win 4-2
The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics are going to be two of the most dominant teams in the Eastern Conference for years to come. Stacked with young talent, this will certainly not be the last time these two teams meet in the playoffs. That being said, the Celtics are a few stars short for this playoff run, and despite making it out of the first round, the Sixers will send them home packing as Philly is looking to make serious noise in these 2018 NBA playoffs.
The Sixers have gone from being one of the worst teams in the league to battling in the Eastern Conference finals, which is really something special considering the team they had two seasons ago. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are no joke, and they will be at the forefront for the Sixers as they battle and ultimately beat the Celtics in 6 games in round 2.
5 West Round 2: (1) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Utah Jazz
Prediction: Rockets win 4-0
After sweeping the Timberwolves in round 1, the Rockets will have the same success against the Utah Jazz in round 2 of the playoffs. James Harden and the Rockets will be too much for the Jazz to handle, and despite making it out of the first round against the Rockets, Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz will be reminded they still have some work to do if they want to be the top team in the Western Conference. The Rockets really could be primed for a championship berth for the first time in a long time, and James Harden and Chris Paul will like to get there in as least as many games as possible. Winning the series in just 4 games, the Rockets will continue their dominance in round 2 against the Utah Jazz.
4 (2) Golden State Warriors vs. (6) New Orleans Pelicans
Prediction: Warriors win 4-1
The Warriors will most likely have Steph Curry back in action by the time the 2nd round comes along, which will be delightful news for Golden State fans. The Warriors, when healthy, are absolutely deadly on both the offensive and defensive end. I expect Anthony Davis to have a giant series versus the Warriors, but I don't think his team is talented enough to seriously compete to win the series against Golden State. The Warriors will most likely be in their groove and in full form when this series comes around. The Warriors believe they are the best team in the league, and this will give them some momentum going into the Western Conference to face the Houston Rockets, who we have sweeping both of their opponents so far.
3 Eastern Conference Finals: (3) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (4) Cleveland Cavaliers
Prediction: 76ers win 4-3
The 76ers just beat the Cavaliers 132-130 late in the season, and it was one of the most competitive games of the year. LeBron has reportedly made Philly one of his top choices in free agency, and once the two teams met it really was a special game. This year's Eastern Conference Finals is going to be something special to see, as LeBron and the Cavaliers face off against the young 76ers. The 76ers are overall a better team than the Cavaliers, and even though LeBron is almost unstoppable during the playoffs, the 76ers will do something that not many thought was a possibility this season; go to the NBA Finals.
This series will most likely go down to the last few minutes of Game 7 due to the fire and drive in both teams.
Philadelphia will have the slight edge in the end due to their better bench and star power, sending LeBron home with no Finals birth for the first time in 6 years.
2 Western Conference Finals: (1) Houston Rockets vs. (2) Golden State Warriors
Prediction: Warriors win 4-3
The Warriors and Rockets are easily the cream of the crop. With superstars on both sides, this year's Western Conference Finals will feel more like the real Finals itself due to the epic talent on both franchises. The Rockets have beaten the Warriors two out of the three times they have met this year, but the Warriors will end up winning the series against them. When Kevin Durant joined Golden State two seasons ago, he didn't have losing to the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals in his plans, that's for sure. I expect him and Steph Curry to have an excellent series against Harden and the Rockets. As like in the Eastern Conference, this series will go down to the wire, with a few clutch buckets here and there ultimately deciding what team makes it to the final series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
1 NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Prediction: Warriors win 4-2
The 76ers will not be as tough of a task for the Warriors than the Rockets were, which is why we have the Golden State Warriors winning the 2018 NBA Championship in 6 games! These two franchises played just twice this season, with the Warriors taking both games. Golden State really is one of the most dominant NBA teams ever assembled, and the 76ers are just too young to compete with what the Warriors have on their roster at the moment.
Joel Embiid will be a big reason the 76ers win two games against the defending champs, but the Warriors are just too deep and have too much experience for Philly to handle.
Steph Curry hasn't been good against the 76ers in his recent games against him for whatever reason, even logging his worst shooting night ever against them. Kevin Durant could possibly be the best offensive player in the league though, and he will have a spectacular showing against the Sixers in The Finals as he continues to prove that he isn't just a good player on a great team.
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