Patrick: Welcome to Bleacher Bums. I’m Patrick.

Derrik: And I’m Derrik.

Patrick: Derrik, we’re in the NBA’s Conference Semi-Final and it’s down to eight teams. You and I have a magic crystal ball that lets us see into the future, telling our dear readers who will match up in the end and who will take home the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. Where would you like to start, East or West?

Derrik: Let’s start in the Eastern Conference, since the letter E comes before W in the alphabet. Also, I can get away from the point that I won’t pick the Celtics for fear of jinxing them.

Patrick: I’ll do it for you, I’m picking the Celtics to come out of the East. (Well, not picking, just reading my crystal ball). They have a formidable matchup right now against the 76ers (even though it’s the Second Round, this is basically the Eastern Conference Finals), and Playoff Jimmy Butler is a real thing, but I’m not worried about the Knicks and I think the Celtics have the most complete squad.

Derrik: So, as I said, out of fear of jinxing them, I will stay away from the Celtics. I will decide to make this interesting and go with the Miami Heat to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Playoff Jimmy Butler is a real thing, and they have a nice core around him. I believe that they have the talent to be a top 3 seed, but the regular season didn’t play out that way. With them already beating the Bucks, the hardest test for them will be the winner of the Celtics and 76ers series. However, the Heat match up well with both of those teams, so I pick them to win the East.

Patrick: I think you just want to see Udonis Haslem win his fourth ring.

Derrik: Nah, but he is good at getting in some sort of fight, verbal or physical, whenever he gets on the court. I’d pay to see him bother Draymond Green for a whole series.

Patrick: Spoilers for your Western Conference crystal ball! I do think it’s possible that the Sixers and Celtics run each other ragged in this series, take it to seven games, are gassed by the time they get to a rested Playoff Jimmy, and fall to the Heat. But I just don’t see it happening. I think the Celtics have the complete package, fully healthy and deep. I’ve long been tempted by the 76ers, but unfortunately, Playoff James Harden is also a real thing. I think the Celtics are the obvious choice. Then again, I thought the Bruins were the obvious choice…

Derrik: That’s a low blow. Not nice. I also believe the Celtics are the obvious choice, but I don’t know how I feel about the label of the obvious choice right now. However, I think that’s enough for now on the Eastern Conference. What is your crystal ball telling you about what will happen in the Western Conference?

Patrick: I’m going bold. Are you ready? It’s BOLD.

Derrik: I’m a little worried that we might be thinking the same thing because I’m thinking about going bold too.

Patrick: The Lakers and Celtics will meet for the 13th time in the NBA Finals, while LeBron cements himself as the Greatest Player of All Time when he takes home another ring and another Finals MVP.

Derrik: Since you went extremely bold, I’ll dial the boldness down and go with the Nuggets, just so I can talk about how amazing Michael Porter Jr. is. He is the definition of shooters shoot. He gets the ball, he shoots the ball. He doesn’t pass. His career high in assists might be two assists…

Patrick: It’s five.

Derrik: Put that with Nikola Jokic and his passing skills and MPJ gets a ton of open looks, although he would still shoot even if the entire other team was guarding him. I was considering the Lakers, and I think they’ll get past the Warriors, but I’ll take the Nuggets, also because I just finished eating chicken nuggets for lunch.

Patrick: Whoa whoa whoa, I thought you chose Draymond and the Warriors earlier?

Derrik: I said I’d pay to see Udonis Haslem annoy the living crap out of Draymond Green. Never said I would pick them to win the West.

Patrick: I guess. I’m surprised you think they’ll fall to the Lakers.

Derrik: I think LeBron is fired up after all that smack talk from Dillon Brooks. Also, while on the topic of Dillon Brooks, he is absolute sh** at basketball. Just saying.

Patrick: So is 2023 Draymond! Anyway, I know that LeBron is old, but with an Anthony Davis who gives a damn and a supporting cast that suspiciously reminds me of the ‘10 Lakers, I think that they can win 11 more games together. The Warriors came within one game of losing to the freaking Sacramento Kings. The team around Jokic is a jokic, and it’s insane that we haven’t even mentioned a team with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Chris Paul… and that’s because no one believes in them, believe it or not.

Derrik: We all know that Chris Paul is cursed and will never win a championship, and I don’t know if he has ever won a game where Scott Foster is the referee. He’s probably 0-200 in those games. 

Patrick: He’s 2-17 with 13 straight losses.

Derrik: If the Suns start to do well, the NBA will chuck Foster in to referee a game or two, and that’ll be the end of the Suns winning anything with Paul.

Patrick: So you’ve got the Nuggets and Heat in the Finals?

Derrik: Yes, I’m going to go with the Denver Nuggets to beat the Miami Heat in seven games to win it all. When you have a two-time MVP in Nikola Jokic, and a team that is totally built around him, the Nuggets would seemingly have to win a championship at some point. And I am going to go out on a limb and say this year is the year for the Nuggets to go out and do that. Jimmy Butler will keep the Heat in the series, but I think Denver has enough talent to take care of business in a long and grueling series. Between the Celtics and Lakers, what is your crystal ball saying, Pat?

Patrick: Crystal balls clearly don’t work if we have different answers. Anyway, the Lakers win it all, taking down Boston in 6 games. Do we look like complete fakes if Golden State beats Philadelphia? 

Derrik: No, I don’t think so. Who wants to see us take the lame, boring pick of the Warriors winning again? Like, cool, Steph Curry is a great person and the Warriors have a good team, but enough is enough at some point. Let someone else win. Sharing is caring.

Patrick: I guess we’ll see which crystal ball is shinier in June. Until then, I’m Patrick…

Derrik: And I’m Derrik…

Patrick: And we’re a couple of Bleacher Bums.

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