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NBA Playoffs: an unpredictable prediction

The+NBA+Playoffs+have+begun.+One+of+the+most+prominent+matchups+in+the+East+is+the+Cavaliers+vs+the+Pacers.
The NBA Playoffs have begun. One of the most prominent matchups in the East is the Cavaliers vs the Pacers.

The NBA Playoffs have begun. One of the most prominent matchups in the East is the Cavaliers vs the Pacers.

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The NBA Playoffs have begun. One of the most prominent matchups in the East is the Cavaliers vs the Pacers.

Jaimin Patel, Memorial Managing Editor

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As the NBA (National Basketball Association) playoffs come around again, 16 teams compete in the hopes of bringing a championship to their respective cities. While there are many familiar faces, new clubs enter into the fold, and this year’s playoffs are looking to be more competitive than we’ve been used to seeing in the past.

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers don’t look like the same dominant teams that fans have been used to seeing; in addition, teams such as the Houston Rockets and the Philadelphia 76ers have proven to exceed expectations, leading for them to be the favorites from their respective conferences.

As there can only be one team left standing in the end, The Rockets will be crowned NBA Champions at the end of the season.

The Western Conference has proven to be the most competitive for years now, and it wasn’t any different in this season. The fourth through eighth seeds were fighting down to the last game for a spot in the playoffs.

The first matchup is between the one seed Rockets and the eight seed Minnesota Timberwolves. The Rockets will win the series in five games. Despite the fact that the Timberwolves have plenty of talent, with players such as Karl Anthony-Towns, Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins, it’s not enough to stop Houston. When completely healthy, the Rockets only lost one game in the regular season. The combination of James Harden and Chris Paul, with several shooters such as Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon surrounding them is unbeatable.

The next matchup sees the Warriors facing the San Antonio Spurs. Despite the absence of Stephen Curry, The Warriors will beat the Spurs in six games at the most. Even though the Spurs have always been considered one of the best defensive teams in the league and have one of the greatest coaches of all time, Gregg Popovich, the absence of Kawhi Leonard will be their downfall. Leonard, when healthy, is the second best player in the world, and San Antonio will not be able to compete with Golden State the same way they did last year if he is not playing.

The third series has the Portland Trail Blazers going up against the New Orleans Pelicans. Most likely, the series will go to seven games with the Pelicans coming out on top. There is no doubt that one of the best backcourts in the league, made up of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, won’t put up astounding numbers in an effort to keep the Blazers alive, but, due to the way that Anthony Davis has performed this season mixed with the fact that he is motivated to win in the playoffs this year, the Pelicans seem to have the series in their favor.

The final Western matchup has the Oklahoma City Thunder facing the Utah Jazz. The Thunder will win the series in six games. This season has been quite the journey for OKC. Despite acquiring two tremendous talents in the offseason, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, the Thunder haven’t been able to put the pieces together; they have played inconsistently, which has proven to hurt them in the long run. However, the level of talent on the team is what prevents me from giving Utah the victory. The Jazz are led by the young rookie Donovan Mitchell, and, although they have played magnificently this year, I don’t think they will be able to make it out of this series.

For over a decade, LeBron James has dominated the Eastern Conference almost single-handedly. He has been able to make seven straight Finals appearance in the weaker of the two divisions, but this year seems to be different. Many new faces have risen to give the King one of the biggest challenges he’s had to face in his career

As the Toronto Raptors locked in their spot at the one seed, they face the Washington Wizards. The Raptors will win in six. Despite that fact that Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan have a track record for choking in the playoffs, this year will be different. They were, by far, the best team in the East, and the pressure is on them to see if they will show up. The Wizards are not an easy team to beat, and, in a way, they are underrated. They have an extremely talented backcourt, comprised of John Wall and Bradley Beal, not to mention other talented players such as Markieff Morris. In the end, though, Toronto will come out on top.

The next matchup has the Boston Celtics facing the Milwaukee Bucks. The series will most likely see the Bucks winning in five. The announcement of Kyrie Irving being out for the rest of the season took any hope of the Celtics winning a championship. They have had plenty of bad luck considering their other star, Gordon Hayward, suffered a season ending injury in the very first game of the season. Even though the team still has great young players like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, there is simply not enough on the team to propel them past the transcendent talent of Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.

The Philadelphia 76ers will face the Miami Heat in the third Eastern Conference series, and the 76ers will win in five games. Despite the acquisition of Dwayne Wade in the middle of the season, the Heat doesn’t have what they need to stop the once in a generation duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Miami has players such as Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic, but it will not be enough.

The final matchup has the Cavaliers facing the Indiana Pacers. Cleveland will likely win in six games. Many are aware of the chaotic season that the Cavaliers have had, and it was assumed that all of it was fixed when five of their biggest players were traded for younger, more athletic pieces. However, the trades only seemed to make everything worse. It can be argued that this team is less talented than the team James dragged to the Finals in 2007. It is for this reason that this playoff run will perhaps be one of the most challenging for the King. The Pacers have performed magnificently in the season, and it can be argued that they won on the Paul George trade. Victor Oladipo has secured the Most Improved Player award, but, in the end, James will be able to put the Cavaliers on his back and carry them to victory.

Overall, these playoffs are going to be interesting; many teams are going to do the unexpected, and there are likely to be many upsets. In the Finals, the matchup will be the Rockets vs. the Cavaliers with the Rockets winning in five.

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