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NBA Playoffs: Round 1, Preview and Predictions

NBA playoffs round 1
NBA Playoffs 2021: A Preview

The NBA play in tournament ended with Celtics, Lakers, Wizards, and Grizzlies clinching the n. 7-8 seeds in the Eastern and Western Conference. We are ready for the beginning of a more familiar part of the post season: The 2021 NBA playoffs start today, May 22nd.

16 teams, one trophy, at least 16 wins to conquer it.

There’s no clear favorite this year. Many teams might have a good chance.  Playoff basketball requires a different level of intensity and rhythm. Let’s look at the championship race, round-by-round.

And -why not? – let’s make some guesses.

nba playoffs

EAST 1st Round   

N. 1 Philadelphia 76ers vs. N. 8 Washington Wizards

Philadelphia won all three regular-season matchups, with Joel Embiid averaging 30 points. He might be – once again – the key for the Sixers’ victory. We will watch some fun and fast combinations between Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. Not enough to stop the 76ers.

Prediction: 76ers in 6

N. 3 Milwaukee Bucks vs. N. 6 Miami Heat

The Heat are not an easy matchup for the Bucks and will try anything to stop the Greek freak Giannis Antetokounmpo. Middleton and Holiday might be the difference-makers. It will not be easy.

Prediction: Bucks in 7

N. 2 Brooklyn Nets vs. N. 7 Boston Celtics

The Nets’ Big 3 – Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving – will be hard to stop.

Brooklyn’s weak defense, 22nd in the league, will let Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker score repeatedly. It will not really matter: The Nets’ offense is just the best in the league.

Prediction: Nets in 5

N. 4 New York Knicks vs. N. 5 Atlanta Hawks

If Julius Randle is able to put up great performances against the Hawks like he did in the regular season, when he averaged 37.3 points and 12.3 rebounds in the matchup, the Knicks’ top-ranked defense can hope to stop Trae Young and bring the series home.

Madison Square Garden will host a crowd of 15,000 fans, ready to celebrate the Knicks’ return to the playoffs after eight years on the sidelines.

Prediction: Knicks in 6

new york knicks back to playoffs
Julius Randle’s playoffs

WEST 1st Round

No. 1 Utah Jazz vs. No. 8 Grizzlies

The Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors in overtime on Friday to secure a spot in the playoffs and they will now face a team that knocked them out in all three head-to-head matchups in the regular season. This shouldn’t be a very hard series for the Utah Jazz.

Prediction: Jazz in 4-5

Dallas Mavericks vs LA Clippers
Mavericks vs Clippers matchup

No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 5 Dallas Mavericks

 Luka Doncic’s greatness might give the Mavericks a game or two, but Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will lead their squad and make sure they get their job done.

Prediction: Clippers in 6

No. 3 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers

Nikola Jokic will shine and put up big numbers. Does he have enough help? We expect to see great performances from Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. A tough guess.

Prediction: Blazers in 7

LeBron and Anthony Davis celebrate with champagne
lebron and AD celebrate after winning trophy

N. 2 Phoenix Suns vs. N. 7 Los Angeles Lakers

The irony of destiny: With the second-best record in the Western Conference the Suns have to face LeBron James and his LA Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Phoenix has great young talents, but lacks experience. LeBron is eager to face Chris Paul. Stopping the James-Davis duo is a very arduous task, but are the two Lakers’ stars back 100%?

Prediction: Lakers in five    

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