The NBA playoffs have arrived. Will the Milwaukee Bucks make it back to the NBA Finals or will another Eastern Conference team make it out of the conference?
The NBA regular season has come and gone. Now, in the middle of the play-in tournament, teams get prepared for the brutal month and a half grind of trying to reach the NBA Finals. The Milwaukee Bucks came out last season, but a few other teams have something to say about that this year.
Upsets in the making:
Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics
The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers to capture the 7th seed and face the Boston Celtics. With Kevin Durant and now Kyrie Irving being able to play in home games, the Celtics must be fully ready for the Nets.
Brooklyn is a top-four seed disguised as the 7th seed. If there were to be an upset in the playoffs this season, this is the best bet someone can win money out of.
Marcus Smart and company must be ready to defend the two-man show that is Durant and Irving. The Celtics have the best defensive rating this season, so it should be the ultimate battle of offense vs defense.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors
It isn’t having a problem with the 76ers. It is having a problem with James Harden. The man who wanted out of Houston and got to go to where he wanted.
Fast forward now to the playoffs and James Harden has switched teams twice this season. Now, a 76er, Harden is under immense pressure to deliver this postseason.
The Sixers have my MVP pick, Joel Embiid, but this Raptors team is young and led by one of the NBA’s best coaches in Nick Nurse.
Also, Doc Rivers is still the coach of the 76ers and has a history of failing miserably in the playoffs. There are no excuses left for the 76ers. This is their best chance to get a championship with Embiid playing the best basketball of his career.
Honestly, the Celtics are an impressive team with defensive pedigree, but the Nets getting bounced in the first round just doesn’t seem manageable. The Nets will advance along with the 76ers, the Heat, and the Bucks.
Moving on to the Eastern Conference semifinals, this is where it gets interesting. The Nets and Bucks would meet again and hopefully, Durant watches where his feet are in late-game situations.
Giannis is evolving even more than we thought and it looks like the Bucks are on a collision course to make it back to the Eastern Conference finals.
Moving on to the 76ers and the Heat, it is Miami’s time to shine. Jimmy Butler did say the Heat would be back in the NBA Finals after the NBA Bubble and he is looking correct as of now.
The Heat have a DPOY candidate in Bam Adebayo, 6th man of the year in Tyler Herro, one of the best leaders in sports in Jimmy Butler, a veteran presence in Kyle Lowry, and a bunch of players with chips on their shoulders ready to go at all times.
The Heat will breeze by the Hawks or the Cavs and overall, just too good of a team for the 76ers or the Raptors to handle.
In the end, the Bucks and the Heat will meet once again in the playoffs. A playoff rivalry that started in the bubble when the Heat knocked out the Bucks in five games.
This time, with Miami having homecourt advantage, this will go seven games and my pick to represent the Eastern Conference in this year’s playoffs is the Miami Heat.