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  • Writer's pictureWyatt Bose

2024 NBA Playoffs Predictions

Western Conference

Play-in Tournament

(10) Warriors at (9) Kings: Warriors

(8) Lakers at (7) Pelicans: Lakers

(10) Warriors at (7) Pelicans: Pelicans

First Round

(8) New Orleans Pelicans vs (1) Oklahoma City Thunder

New Orleans and OKC both have great young cores, but the Thunder are better. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is an MVP candidate, and Chet Holmgren would win Rookie of the Year if Victor Wembanyama didn’t exist. Thunder in 5.

(7) Los Angeles Lakers vs (2) Denver Nuggets

The Lakers could make this series interesting, but the Nuggets are the best team in the West. Nikola Jokic will win his third regular season MVP this year, and the Nuggets are primed for another title run. Nuggets in 5.

(6) Phoenix Suns vs (3) Minnesota Timberwolves

The Suns are too top-heavy. Apropos of the Durant-Harden-Irving Brooklyn Nets, the Suns could have a disappointing first round exit in 2024. The T-Wolves also play elite defense and are lead by Anthony Edwards, the future face of the NBA. T-Wolves in 7.

(5) Dallas Mavericks vs (4) Los Angeles Clippers

Luka Doncic has the Clippers’ number. It’s that simple. Mavericks in 7.

Western Conference Semifinals

(5) Dallas Mavericks vs (1) Oklahoma City Thunder

Doncic and Irving will carry the Mavericks past the Thunder. Experience and elite-level scoring are vital in the playoffs, and the Mavericks have two of the best scorers in all of basketball. Mavericks in 7.

(3) Minnesota Timberwolves vs (2) Denver Nuggets

The Timberwolves are still one year away from a deep playoff run. Edwards will play well, but Rudy Gobert is not fit for the postseason. I also don’t trust Karl Anthony-Towns to stay out of foul trouble. Nuggets in 5.

Western Conference Finals

(5) Dallas Mavericks vs (2) Denver Nuggets

After back-to-back seven-game series, the Mavericks will be gassed. Denver has the better team, and Dallas does not have anyone to bother Jokic on either end of the court. Nuggets in 6.

Eastern Conference

Play-in Tournament

(10) Atlanta Hawks at (9) Chicago Bulls: Hawks

(8) Miami Heat at (7) Philadelphia 76ers: 76ers

(10) Atlanta Hawks at (8) Miami Heat: Heat

First Round

(8) Miami Heat vs (1) Boston Celtics

The Celtics could not draw a worse first-round matchup than Jimmy Butler, aka Playoff Jimmy, and the Miami Heat. Butler and the Heat will fight resiliently, but I do not see a repeat of last year’s ECF. I think the Celtics get vindictive and make a statement. Boston in 4.

(7) Philadelphia 76ers vs (2) New York Knicks

Everyone is high on the Knicks and out on the 76ers. I feel the opposite. Without Julius Randle, the Knicks are a one-headed monster with Jalen Brunson. New York also does not have an answer for the reigning MVP, Joel Embiid, who will make Tyrese Maxey’s job extremely easy with the attention he elicits. 76ers in 6.

(6) Indiana Pacers vs (3) Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis has a strained left calf. It’s pretty simple: if Giannis is healthy, the Bucks will win. If not, Doc Rivers’ job could be in jeopardy. At the time of this article, the Bucks are prepared to play at least Game 1 without the former MVP. Thus, I’ll take the Pacers to steal Game 1 and win the series. Pacers in 6.

(5) Orlando Magic vs (4) Cleveland Cavaliers

When healthy, the Cavaliers are among the best in the East. Orlando is still a few years away from a deep playoff run, so I’ll take Cleveland. Cavaliers in 5.

Eastern Conference Semifinals

(4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs (1) Boston Celtics

This series could be better than expected. Cleveland’s frontcourt between Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley matches up favorably against Boston’s undersized frontcourt, led by Kristaps Porzingis. However, Boston’s offense is potent, and Jrue Holiday and Derrick White provide great defensive guard play. Holiday and White will disrupt the offensive flow of Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. Celtics in 6.

(7) Philadelphia 76ers vs (6) Indiana Pacers

The 76ers will in this series if Embiid stays healthy, and Indiana’s defensive ineptitude will eventually catch up to them. The Pacers had a great turnaround year, but their season will end against Philadelphia. 76ers in 6.

Eastern Conference Finals

(7) Philadelphia 76ers vs (1) Boston Celtics

The Celtics have Embiid’s number. Ultimately, Cleveland has the best chance to eliminate Boston in the East, not the 76ers. Boston will win this series convincingly. Celtics in 6.

NBA Finals

(2) Denver Nuggets vs (1) Boston Celtics

The Celtics having home court in this series is meaningful, but I still think Denver is the better team. Jokic will destroy Porzingis in the paint, and Aaron Gordon and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope play great man-to-man defense on the other side of the floor. I expect Jamal Murray and Jokic to shine in the Finals, with Gordon slowing Jayson Tatum enough for Denver to win. Should the series go seven games, Boston will experience the weight of a must-win, season-defining Game 7, culminating at home in the Garden. Nuggets in 7.

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