I don’t watch professional basketball, so here are my thoughts on the NBA playoffs based on my minimal knowledge. 

Me and basketball have an enemies-to-friends storyline. I’m 5’1″, so you can imagine I never played basketball during my youth sports career. I was indifferent to basketball until middle school gym class, when we played it all the time. Anytime they didn’t have a planned class it was, “go play Knock-Out,” which was when I started to hate basketball.

I rarely watched it on tv, and I barely knew any of the rules. Then I went to Auburn, where I had quite the introduction to college basketball and never expected to be going to as many basketball games as I could. What a year to become a basketball fan at Auburn University. I’ve seen Ja Morant with Murray State, Anthony Edwards with Georgia, and witnessed a historic Final Four run. By the time I graduated, I knew more about basketball than I ever thought I would.

However, college basketball and pro basketball have noticeable differences. The game seems slower in the pros, and the players seem more selfish with teams built around the big scorers. I’ve also heard that the NBA games seem the most scripted out of all the major sports conferences. College basketball just seems more fun with all the madness. 

Most of my knowledge of NBA games comes from ESPN headlines and social media. I cannot stress enough how basic my knowledge is of what is happening in the NBA. I’ll be going through the stats ESPN gives me and predicting these outcomes based strictly on vibes. 

Finishing Round 1 Matchups

Cavaliers vs. Magic

I’m predicting the Magic will extend the series to Game 7 with Paolo Banchero leading the way at home. The Magic have the home advantage and won by double digits in their last home game. The Cavaliers won by a slim margin at home, which may light a fire under them, but the Magic could draw a lot of motivation from such a close loss.

This is the tricky part. Which way will it go in game 7? My instinct is to say the Cavaliers win it because the NBA pretty much sticks to the script. This series has stuck to the home-team-wins pattern, but the games in Cleveland have been much closer. There’s potential for the Magic to win in Cleveland, but I’m predicting the Cavs move on to the semifinals in a thriller. 

Clippers vs. Mavericks

The Mavericks will finish out the series tonight and move on to the semifinals with a big win in Dallas. They’re a 7.5 point favorite over the Clippers with the home court advantage. The Clippers are without Kawhi Leonard, which means they’re left with Paul George and James Harden. My personal opinion of Harden is not a favorable one, so I think George will be doing most of the heavy lifting. Luka Doncic accompanied by Kyrie Irving, who I completely forgot was on the team, are carrying the momentum from their 30-point win in LA to their home court. The Clippers will have to play better, but it won’t be enough against Doncic. 


The Conference Semifinals

Celtics vs. Cavaliers (potential)

This is based on a Celtics-Cavaliers semifinal match up, but it doesn’t matter who the Celtics go up against. I’ve heard through my peripheral awareness of the NBA that the Celtics are the best team in the league. An overall 64-18 record and a 4-1 thrashing of the Miami Heat in round one definitely makes that case. I’m predicting Jayson Tatum, Derrick White, and Jaylen Brown will lead the Celtics to another 4-1 series win to take them to the Eastern Conference finals. 

Thunder vs. Mavs (potential)

The most I know about the Thunder is they have Chet Holmgren, Jaylin Williams, and Jalen Williams. Apparently OKC is a one-seed with a 57-25 record, but I think the potential Mavericks matchup will give them a little trouble. Doncic will continue to put in work, which could send the Mavs to the conference finals and upset the one-seed. There’s a lot I don’t know about the Thunder and how their game compares to the Mavs, but the vibes are telling me the Thunder take the series in game 6. 

Timberwolves vs Nuggets

The Timberwolves are another team I don’t know much about. All I know is that they have Anthony Edwards, and he is really good. They also have Rudy Gobert. The Nuggets have Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., and they open the series at home as a 5.5 point favorite. This is going to be a good series with a necessary Game 7. Edwards may be a force to overcome, but I’m predicting Denver has the offense to take the series 4-3. 

Pacers vs. Knicks

I was able to catch some analysis from the Knicks-Sixers halftime show about the Pacers. Otherwise I would have no idea other than they upset the Milwaukee Bucks. The Pacers will face the Knicks, who are favored by 6.5 points in Game 1. The Pacers, while the underdogs, are facing a Knicks team that is enjoying some newfound success. The analysis of the Pacers was that they’re good, but they’re not that good. I’m inclined to agree based on nothing, and I would love a good come-up story for the Knicks. Therefore, Knicks in five.  


The Conference Finals and the NBA Finals

I pretty much set up a one-seed vs. two-seed matchup for both conference finals. A typical non-risk taker thing, and it won’t get much riskier.

Nuggets vs Thunder

Jokic, Murray and the rest of the Nuggets will win the Western conference final and return to the NBA Finals. The J. Williams’ will meet their match, and Denver will take the series in Game 7.

Celtics vs Knicks

The Celtics will continue on their merry way, and it will have been a good run for the Knicks. The potential classic New York/Boston matchup will be in Boston’s favor. My script would have the Knicks in the finals, but the Celtics seem inevitable. If Tatum and crew can carry the momentum through the conference semifinals, they’ll take the series in five. No doubt a blow to the hopeful Knicks fans. 

Nuggets vs Celtics

Repeat champions is a tough feat, and I think it will be tough for the Nuggets to accomplish. I’m predicting a potential Nuggets-Celtics matchup with the Celtics emerging as the champs in Game Seven. 

Maybe I’m deluding myself, but I think this is pretty close to a perfect prediction. I said this in March and then lost in all of my March Madness groups though, so we’ll see how this goes.

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