Predicting the Remaining Games of the First Round
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Utah Jazz (Jazz Lead 2-1)
Game 4: Thunder Win – Series tied 2-2
Game 5: Jazz Win – Jazz take 3-2 lead
Game 6: Thunder Win – Series tied 3-3
Game 7: Jazz Win – Jazz win series 4-3
I’m still not seeing the Big Three in Oklahoma City click. They have games where things go well, but they can’t do it consistently. Utah led the league in defensive efficiency during the regular season, which I think will be the reason why they come out of this series victorious. Westbrook and the Thunder won’t go down without a fight though, which is why I have the series going to seven games.
Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves (Rockets Lead 2-1)
Game 4: Rockets Win – Rockets take 3-1 lead
Game 5: Timberwolves Win – Rockets lead 3-2
Game 6: Rockets Win – Rockets win series 4-2
Houston is the best team in the league, but they did get matched up with a tough eight seed. The loss of Jimmy Butler really hurt the Timberwolves as they fought for playoff seeding. They probably would have been a four or five seed if Butler hadn’t been injured. With Butler back in, the Timberwolves won’t make things easy on the Rockets, as we saw in Game 3. I’m picking the Rockets to win the series because not only are they best team, but the Timberwolves are too reliant on one player.
Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks (Series Tied 2-2)
Game 5: Celtics Win – Celtics take 3-2 lead
Game 6: Bucks Win – Series tied 3-3
Game 7: Bucks Win – Bucks win series 4-3
This has been a very good series to watch so far, and I think it will stay that way. I have the series going to seven games, with the Bucks moving on. I know the Celtics have overcome injuries all season, but I think their youth will ultimately be their downfall. If not this round then eventually it will be. Giannis is the best player on the floor, so I have to give the Bucks the edge.
Philadelphia 76ers vs Miami Heat (76ers Lead 3-1)
Game 5: 76ers Win – 76ers win series 4-1
The series isn’t officially over, but it’s pretty much over. Miami’s lack of a star player was always going to be the reason why they wouldn’t win the NBA Championship. Although they’re down 3-1, they’ve made the series competitive. I expect Game 5 to be the same, but I think Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid will finish off Miami to advance.
Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs (Warriors Lead 3-1)
Game 5: Warriors Win – Warriors win series 4-1
I was actually surprised the Spurs won Game 4. I thought this was going to be a sweep, but the Spurs obviously aren’t going down without a fight. It was an off game for the Warriors, who shot 37.8% from the field and 25% from three. I don’t see that happening again, at least not in this series. Warriors finish off the Spurs in Game 5.
Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards (Series Tied 2-2)
Game 5: Toronto Raptors – Raptors lead 3-2
Game 6: Washington Wizards – Series tied 3-3
Game 7: Toronto Raptors – Raptors win series 4-3
I’ve loved watching this series so far. The backcourts of both teams have come up big. Washington isn’t going to be an easy out. They probably would have been a higher seed if they had John Wall for more of the season. After returning from his injury, Wall is playing at a higher level, making the Wizards more dangerous. Toronto has been the best team in the Eastern Conference all season, which is why I’m picking them to win the series, but the Wizards are going to keep things very competitive.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Indiana Pacers (Series Tied 2-2)
Game 5: Cleveland Cavaliers – Cavs lead 3-2
Game 6: Indiana Pacers – Series tied 3-3
Game 7: Cleveland Cavaliers – Cavs win series 4-3
I’m never quite sure who’s going to win these games. Even if a team has a big lead, they’re not safe. It’s been close so far, and I think it will continue to be that way throughout the series. I’m giving the Cavaliers the round one victory because they have the best player in the NBA in LeBron James. His play will elevate when the Cavs need it to the most.