The first round of the playoffs has officially come to an end, and the second round has already started. That means it’s time to look back at my first round predictions, and see how accurate (or inaccurate) they were. It also means it’s time to make my second round predictions, before too much of each series occurs and I become biased towards certain teams.
First, let’s look at my first-round predictions:
(Note: You can find all of my first-round predictions here as well)
#1 Heat vs #8 Hawks:
My prediction: Heat in Five
What actually happened: Heat in Five
#2 Celtics vs #7 Nets:
My prediction: Celtics in Seven
What actually happened: Celtics in Four
#3 Bucks vs #6 Bulls:
My prediction: Bucks in Four
What actually happened: Bucks in Five
#4 76ers vs #5 Raptors:
My prediction: 76ers in Six
What Actually Happened: 76ers in Six
#1 Suns vs #8 Pelicans:
My prediction: Suns in Four
What Actually Happened: Suns in Six
Note! When I made this prediction, I very specifically said, “If no one gets injured, Suns in four.” Devin Booker was injured midway through the series.
#2 Grizzlies vs #7 Timberwolves:
My prediction: Grizzlies in Six
What Actually Happened: Grizzlies in Six
#3 Warriors vs #6 Nuggets:
My prediction: Warriors in Six
What Actually Happened: Warriors in Five
#4 Mavericks vs #5 Jazz:
My prediction: Jazz in Seven
What Actually Happened: Mavericks in Six
Without a doubt, this is the greatest I’ve ever done when it comes to playoff predictions. 7 out of 8 series I predicted the correct winner, and it would’ve been eight if I didn’t ignore Rudy Gobert‘s trouble with small-ball lineups. I said in my predictions post above that I thought he could overcome those lineups, but he clearly couldn’t.
Three of these matchups I correctly guessed the amount of games it would take, and two of them I was only one game off. So, if there’s any reason to continue reading about my second-round predictions, I now have a decent track record to back myself up. With that, let’s look at these second-round matchups:
#1 Heat vs #4 76ers
This is a very difficult series for me to predict. While I’ll always love Boston first, I want Philadelphia to finally reach the Eastern Conference Finals. I love watching James Harden when he’s at his best, but I’m scared of what he looks like at his worst. Miami finished a relatively easy five game series against Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks, while Philadelphia had to fight their way through a scrappy Raptors team that put up a fight despite injuries to Scottie Barnes and Fred VanVleet. Unfortunately, iron man Joel Embiid will miss Games 1 and 2 of this series, and “might” return in Game Three or Four. Unless Harden and Tyrese Maxey go off in Miami, that’ll be two easy wins for the Heat at home. Then all they have to do is win one on the road, and they’re up 3-1 and can close out the series at home.
If Embiid does come back, then Bam Adebayo will be able to guard him, and he’s an extremely good defender. Mattise Thybulle will be back for the entire series, but he can’t guard Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry at the same time. As much as I hate to say it, Heat in Five.
#2 Celtics vs #3 Bucks
As of the writing of this, Milwaukee has already won Game One, thanks to Boston shooting 33% from the field and 36% from three. They’ve stolen a game on the road, which they needed to do. However, Milwaukee is without All-Star wing Khris Middleton. Once the Celtics start shooting better, I don’t know if the Bucks can keep up.
On the other hand, Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated the paint and hit his fair share of mid-range jumpers, finishing with a 24-point 13-rebound 12-assist triple-double. Jrue Holiday helped cause 18 turnovers from the Celtics, and his post game is deadly. I’m really torn between who to pick; but I think the home court advantage will help Boston. You can’t count on Jaylen Brown to shoot 33% from three, or Marcus Smart to shoot 16.7% from three, or Payton Pritchard to shoot 25%. Plus, Middleton likely won’t play at all in this series. I’m going to go with the Celtics in Seven.
#1 Suns vs #4 Mavericks
In my mind, I don’t see how the Mavericks can match the firepower of the Phoenix Suns. However, I don’t this will be a quick and easy series for the Suns, thanks to Luka Doncic. Doncic is in the second round of the playoffs for the first time in his career, and there’s no way he’s going down without a fight. I think Phoenix wins this series and advances to the Western Conference Finals for the second straight season, but Doncic will make it ridiculously difficult to do so. Suns in Seven.
#2 Grizzlies vs #3 Warriors
Game one was an action packed battle between these two teams, coming down to the very final seconds. Klay Thompson hit a three, and after the Grizzlies missed, they fouled Thompson. Uncharacteristically, Thompson missed both free throws, but with 3.6 seconds left, Golden State clamped down on Memphis, and Ja Morant missed the game-winning layup. It was somewhat similar to the game winner Morant made in Game Five, expect you could see the play was much better defender by the Warriors.
The Grizzlies are a fun, young team, but they can’t match the Warriors. They’ve got Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green in the starting lineup, with Jordan Poole dropping a near 31-point triple-double off the bench. Warriors in Five.
What do you think of my predictions? Let me know in the comments below, don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog, and as always, have an awesome day!