Predicting the entire 2020 NBA Playoffs
The 2020 NBA Playoffs are finally upon us. At one point we weren’t sure we were going to make it, but thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of everyone in the league, here we are.
There’s so much to cover in our version of predictions for the 2020 NBA Playoffs, so without further adieu, here we go.
First Round: West
(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (8) Portland Trail Blazers
The Damian Lillard-led Portland Trail Blazers have a great story, but they’re simply overmatched by a heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers side. LeBron James and company will make quick work of the Blazers.
Winner: Los Angeles Lakers in 5
(4) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Oklahoma City Thunder
We’re taking the Oklahoma City Thunder over the Houston Rockets for our first of a couple upsets in our NBA playoff predictions. Russell Westbrook is set to miss the first few games of the series, which will turn out to be the deciding factor. The Thunder will beat the odds yet again to progress to the next round.
Winner: Oklahoma City Thunder in 6
(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz were a very promising team prior to the NBA hiatus, but replacing the production of the injured Bojan Bogdanovic in the playoffs is going to be a struggle. Plus, Mike Conley is going to miss the start of the series for the birth of his son. The Denver Nuggets will flex their muscles and eliminate the Jazz in a close series.
Winner: Denver Nuggets in 7
(2) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic has been nothing short of amazing for the Dallas Mavericks, but now is not yet his time. The Mavs could have probably progressed to the second round had they not faced the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round, but unfortunately for them, it’s the Clippers that will come out of this series.
Winner: Los Angeles Clippers in 6
First Round: East
(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (8) Orlando Magic
Moving over to the East, and we start with perhaps the most one-sided series in the entire first round. No surprises here. The Milwaukee Bucks will sweep the Orlando Magic.
Winner: Milwaukee Bucks in 4
(4) Indiana Pacers vs. (5) Miami Heat
Similar to the West, we have the fifth-seeded Miami Heat upsetting the fourth-placed Indiana Pacers in the East, though it’s probably not really much of an upset. The T.J. Warren vs. Jimmy Butler narrative has fireworks, but in the end, the Heat are the better side.
Winner: Miami Heat in 6
(3) Boston Celtics vs. (6) Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers will struggle without Ben Simmons and get ousted by a determined Boston Celtics side in the first round. The Sixers won’t go down without a good fight, though, but end up losing the series. This first-round exit will lead to big changes in Philly in the offseason.
Winner: Boston Celtics in 6
(2) Toronto Raptors vs. (7) Brooklyn Nets
This is another mismatch simply because the Brooklyn Nets are so shorthanded. Caris LeVert is going to have an amazing series, but the Toronto Raptors will still take the first step toward defending their NBA title.
Winner: Toronto Raptors in 5
Second Round: West
(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (5) Oklahoma City Thunder
At this point, the Thunder will have become the biggest underdog in the entire playoffs. However, LeBron, Anthony Davis, and the rest of the Lakers are on a mission, and they’ll promptly end OKC’s Cinderella story in the semis.
Winner: Los Angeles Lakers in 5
(2) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (3) Denver Nuggets
This should be a great series and an important test for LA. While Nikola Jokic is a handful who does everything he can to carry his team, his heroics become futile as the Clippers turn it on.
Winner: Los Angeles Clippers in 5
Second Round: East
(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (5) Miami Heat
The Heat were one of the biggest surprise packages of the season, and they had success in the regular season against Milwaukee. However, the Bucks will end Miami’s fairy tale when it counts.
Winner: Milwaukee Bucks in 5
(2) Toronto Raptors vs. (3) Boston Celtics
Maybe next year Boston fans. The Raptors will earn a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year running.
Winner: Toronto Raptors in 7
Conference Finals: West
(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (2) Los Angeles Clippers
The battle of Los Angeles proves to live up to all the hype. We expect an epic seven-game series between two of the top title favorites, but it’s the Lakers that move on to the NBA Finals by a slim margin.
Western Conference Champions: Los Angeles Lakers in 7
Conference Finals: East
(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (2) Toronto Raptors
It’s a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, but this time around, the Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Bucks wind up getting their revenge. The Raptors will finally feel the void left by reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and despite a formidable challenge, they eventually fall to the league-best Bucks.
Eastern Conference Champions: Milwaukee Bucks in 6
(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (1) Los Angeles Lakers
It’s the dream NBA Finals most fans wanted to see. LeBron vs. Giannis is the storyline that takes center stage, but in the end, it’s about who is the better team. Antetokounmpo will fight valiantly and almost get his hands on the first title of his career, but after a memorable series that goes all the way to seven games, LeBron will become king of the NBA once again.
2020 NBA Champions: Los Angeles Lakers in 7