NBA Round 1 Playoff Preview: Mavs upset Clippers in 7

Photo by Ashley Landis / AP

Eastern Conference

1.76ers VS 8. Wizards

Westbrook and Beal will need to play lights out to have a chance. The 76ers should win with ease. They have everything they need to make a deep playoff run. Embiid is having an MVP type season and the rest of the squad is stacked. Will this be the year they finally make something happen? 76ers in 5  

2. Nets VS 7. Celtics 

This should be a fun series. A ton of ballers on both teams. Ultimately, I think the big 3 will be too much for the Celtics to handle. Don’t expect a sweep though. The Celtics have underachieved this season, and I expect them to played a little angry. We know what Tatum can do, but this team has depth. Fournier has been a great addition. If Boston wants to win this series they’ll need to shut down 2 of the Nets big 3. Easier said than done. Nets in 5 

3. Bucks VS 6. Heat 

A rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Both the Bucks and Heat have found their mojo heading into the playoffs. The Bucks won the season series against the Heat 2-1. I expect this to be a hard fought, old school, bruising, hard-nosed series. The Bucks want revenge and the Heat want to prove last season was no fluke. The Bucks are deeper than last year, but it all comes down to Giannis. The Heat built a “wall” last year preventing him from getting going. Miami will need to do the same this year. Giannis VS Bam Bam will be the matchup to watch here. Milwaukee does match up well against Miami though. I picked against my Heat last year in this matchup…. But not this year!!! Heat in 7 

4. New York Knicks VS 5. Atlanta Hawks 

This is a good series for the NBA. Great to see the Knicks back in the postseason. Julius Randle is playing out of his mind. Averaging just over 24 PPG. Trey Young is obviously another player to focus on in this series. I expect these guys to go back and forth all series long. I love the addition of Lou Williams for the Hawks and think he’ll play a big role in this series. Hawks in 7  

Western Conference 

  1. Jazz VS 8. Grizzles/Warriors 

There aren’t enough NBA fans who take the Jazz seriously. They’ll need to win the West for that to change. I’d like to see them play a little more bully ball. As I’m writing this the Grizzles are leading the Warriors 77-71 in the 3rd Q. Gimme the Grizzles to hold on. Either way the Jazz will win this series. If they play the Grizzles gimme the Jazz in 6, if not, gimme them in 5 over the Warriors.  

2. Suns VS 7. Lakers 

This has the potential to be the best series these playoffs. Even though the Suns are the 2 seed, I can’t hep but feel the Lakers are the favourites. The Suns have been the NBA’s feel good story. Chris Paul has been exactly what they needed. The Lakers have underperformed this season but have dealt with key injuries. Look for LeBron and AD to be ultra aggressive. I think the Suns will give the Lakers a run for their money, but fall just short. Lakers in 6  

3. Nuggets VS 6. Trail Blazers 

The Nuggets have impressed me with how they’ve coped with the loss of Murray. Jokic has been impressive and is my MVP. The Nuggets are deep though. Austin Rivers has been a pleasant surprise for them. The Trail Blazers are fun and have a solid unit. Lillard and McCollum are the top guys, but you can never count out Melo. It’ll come down to how/if Portland can slow down Jokic. Nuggets in 6 

4. Clippers VS 5. Mavericks 

Some have criticized the Clippers for tanking so they wouldn’t have to play the Lakers. I’m not sure I necessarily believe that but I’m not a fan of “load management” or whatever you wanna call it. Kawhi and the Clippers have a lot to prove after last season’s loss to the Nuggets in the postseason. We all know they have the talent to win it all. There’s a lot of pressure on LA. Dallas finished the season winning 7 of their last 10 games. Dončić and Porzingis will be huge in this series, but don’t forget about Hardaway Jr. He’s got game. My mind says Clippers but gut says Mavs. Go big or go home. Mavericks in 7 

As always don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family and check out our Youtube channel for all of our podcasts and videos! For more coverage on the NBA playoffs, be sure to check out this week’s episode of We’ve Got Balls! Dean and Lucas discuss the Play-In games and give their predictions for Round 1. Check it out to see how they stack up against mine!

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