Our Predictions for the NBA Playoffs

Our Predictions for the NBA Playoffs

I’m not too sure if you’ve heard, but the NBA playoffs are among us and things are already getting interesting. We’re already two games into the first round and while we’ve seen some teams do what we expected, we’ve also seen some teams come out and surprise us early. 

For basketball fans, this is the most exciting time of the year – the only thing that might compare is March Madness, but that’s a whole different story. The NBA playoffs are where the best players, the best teams, the best coaches, and the best fans all compete for the ultimate prize. 

The NBA playoffs aren’t for the faint-hearted – especially if you plan on winning it all. It takes culture. It takes commitment, hard work, stamina, execution, and teamwork. If you’re not playing your best ball in the NBA playoffs, you won’t make it very far and will be sent home early. 

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Making Our Predictions for the 2022 NBA Playoffs 

Our Predictions for the NBA Playoffs
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We’re already two games into the NBA playoffs, but it’s never too late to discuss predictions. Until a team secures their fourth victory in the NBA Finals, anything can happen. That’s what makes the NBA playoffs so exciting – while everyone wants to win, only one team actually will. 

In fact, we’ve already seen four teams have their NBA playoffs end early with the play-in tournament, which made its debut in last season’s NBA playoffs. The Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, San Antonio Spurs, and Cleveland Cavaliers all failed to advance.

That leaves us with 16 teams in the NBA playoffs and a bracket that will be hard to predict. While games have already started, it’s still too early to name a champion. With that, we’re going to predict what might happen to each of those 16 teams currently fighting for a championship.

First Round Exits

16. Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors finished the season 48-34 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. They’re currently matched up with the Philadelphia 76ers and are down 2-0 in the first round after two games. I have the Raptors getting swept in four games. 

The Raptors are a good team on the rise, but not quite at the 76ers’ level. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet will have themselves a good series, but the absence of Scottie Barnes has been tough on the team. He’ll likely return at some point, but it will be too late for the Raptors. 

15. New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans finished the season 36-46 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. They’re currently matched up with the Phoenix Suns with the series tied 1-1 after the first two games. I have the Pelicans losing to the Suns in five games. 

The Pelicans would be a lot scarier with Zion Williamson on the floor. Unfortunately, he missed the entire year and who knows when he’ll play next. Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum will lead this team, but it won’t be enough to get past a team that was in the Finals last year. 

14. Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls finished the season 46-36 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. They’re currently matched up with the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks and are down 1-0 in the series with Game 2 on Wednesday. I have them losing in 5. 

The Bulls have a solid core consisting of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic. If they weren’t playing a team as good as the Bucks, they would have a better shot at moving past the first round. Unfortunately, it won’t matter how good they play, the Bucks are better. 

13. Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks finished the season 43-39 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. They’re currently matched up with the No. 1 seeded Miami Heat and are already down 2-0 in the first round. I have the Hawks losing to the Heat in five games. 

The Hawks advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals last season in what many viewed as a surprise and they were hoping to keep the ball rolling this season. Unfortunately, they don’t look the same and Trae Young isn’t playing his best ball. They’ve also been without Clint Capela

12. Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets finished the season 48-34 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. They’re currently matched up against the Golden State Warriors and are already down 2-0 in the series. I have the Nuggets losing to the Warriors in six games.

The Nuggets are without their starting point guard Jamal Murray, which is a major reason why they’re struggling in the first round. We know what Nikola Jokic can do, but the Warriors’ defense is going to do whatever they can to contain him. Without help, Denver won’t last long. 

11. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves finished the season 46-36 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. They’re currently matched up against the Memphis Grizzlies with the series tied at 1-1. I have the Timberwolves losing to the Grizzlies in seven games. 

This is one of those series that can go either way. Memphis is hands-down the better team, but Minnesota plays with the type of fire you need in the NBA playoffs. That fire will carry them to three wins over their opponent, but it won’t be enough to take Game 7 – especially on the road.

10. Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks finished the season 52-30 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. They’re currently matched up against the Utah Jazz with the first round series tied at 1-1. I have the Mavericks losing to the Jazz in a tough seven-game series.

The Mavericks have been without their star player Luka Doncic for the first two games of this series. He’ll likely be back for Game 3 and while it’ll give the Mavs a much-needed boost, I don’t think it will be enough to move past a hungry Jazz team. This is definitely a series to watch.

9. Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets finished the season 44-38 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. They’re currently matched up against the Boston Celtics in the first round and are down 1-0 with Game 2 on Wednesday. I have the Nets losing in seven games. 

Many analysts pegged the Brooklyn Nets as championship favorites, but I’m not buying it. They don’t have the depth that other teams do, they don’t play defense as good as the Celtics, and they can’t expect to lean on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving the entire playoffs. They need help. 

Second Round Exits

8. Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies finished the season 56-26 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. They’re currently matched up against the Minnesota Timberwolves with the series tied 1-1. I have the Grizzlies winning their first round series in seven games. 

Based on my prediction, the Grizzlies would face the Golden State Warriors in the second round – a series I have Memphis losing in five games. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. will have a good series, but the Warriors’ defense and depth will be too much to handle for a young team.

7. Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz finished the season 49-33 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. They’re currently matched up against the Dallas Mavericks with the series tied 1-1. I have the Jazz winning in seven games behind Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

Based on my predictions, the Jazz will face the Phoenix Suns in the second round – a series I have the Suns winning in six games. The Suns are too powerful of a team and while the Jazz will be their toughest opponent yet, they’ll only have enough firepower to win two games. 

6. Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics finished the season 51-31 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. They’re currently matched up against the Brooklyn Nets and are leading the series 1-0 after a buzzer-beater victory in Game 1. I have Boston winning in seven.

After a long first round series, the Celtics will face the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round – a series I have the Celtics losing in six games. Much like their Nets’ series, this one is going to be an exciting one to watch as two of the best go head-to-head. The Bucks win with experience.

5. Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers finished the season 51-31 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. They’re currently matched up against the Toronto Raptors and are leading 2-0 in the series. I don’t think the Raptors stand a chance – 76ers get the sweep. 

Based on my predictions, the 76ers would play the Miami Heat in the second round – a series I have Philadelphia losing in six games. They traded for James Harden mid-season with hopes of winning a coveted ring, but I think they meet a fierce Heat defense that’s too much to handle.

Conference Finals Exits

4. Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns finished the season 64-18 (league-best) and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. They’re currently matched up against the New Orleans Pelicans and the series is tied at one game a piece – I have the Suns winning in five games. 

After a six-game series against the Jazz, Phoenix would be matched up against the Golden State Warriors in the Conference Finals – a series I have the Suns losing in seven games. They would love to make their second trip to the Finals in as many years, but I don’t see it happening. 

3. Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks finished the season 51-31 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. They’re currently matched up against the Chicago Bulls and are up 1-0 in the series – Game 2 is on Wednesday. I have the Bucks winning the series in five games.

After a six-game series against the Celtics, the Bucks would move on to the Conference Finals against the Miami Heat – a series I have the Bucks losing in seven games. The two teams have seen each other in the playoffs the past two years – Miami won in 2020 and the Bucks in 2021. 

NBA Finals Runner-Up

2. Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors finished the season 53-29 and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. They’re currently matched up against the Denver Nuggets and are leading the series 2-0 after two games. I believe the Warriors will finish them in five games. 

After a five-game series against the Memphis Grizzlies and seven-game series against the Phoenix Suns, the Warriors will face the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. The series will go to six games, but the Warriors won’t have enough left in the tank for a hungry and deep Heat team.

NBA Finals Champion

1. Miami Heat

The Miami Heat finished the season 53-29 (best in the East) and entered the NBA playoffs as a No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. They’re currently matched up against the Atlanta Hawks and are up 2-0 in the series. The Heat should have no problem closing them out in five games.

After a six-game series against the Philadelphia 76ers and a seven-game series against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Heat will win a six-game series against the Warriors to win the 2022 NBA Championship. It’ll be well-deserved by one of the hardest-working teams in the entire league. 

What Are Your Predictions for the NBA Playoffs?

Alright, you know what we think might happen in this year’s NBA playoffs – we have the Miami Heat winning it all behind Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry. Now, we want to know what you think will happen. Who do you have winning? Who do you have hoisting that trophy?

After two games, we know that several teams hold a 2-0 lead in their first round series – which is an excellent way to start. With that said, there are also some 1-1 series and those are the ones that will likely go the distance. Either way, there’s a lot of exciting basketball to come. 

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No matter what team you have winning or what team you’re rooting for, we hope you enjoy this year’s NBA playoffs for what they are – the most exciting two months in the entire basketball season. May your team do well and if they aren’t in the NBA playoffs, there’s always next year!

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