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The 2020 NBA Playoff Predictions – First Round

Western Conference

1 Los Angeles Lakers v 8 Portland Trailblazers

Troy Goostrey: Tough match up for a 1 v 8 seed as Portland are now fit and firing.  Will give the Lakers some headaches I think as defending Lillard and McCollum will stretch them.  But on the flip side, covering LBJ and AD will stretch Portland more.  Lakers #1 for a reason, Lakers in 6.

Dan Kelly: Entertaining series, but expecting (and hoping) playoff Lebron takes it another level. Lakers in 5.

Jarrod Cotton: This is my ‘upset’ pick. Dame is just too hot to bet against. Blazers in 7.

Jesse Cotton: Portland come in having played 9 do-or-die games in a row. That will take it’s toll on guys coming back from injury (Nurkic), carrying an injury (CJ) and putting the team on their back (Dame). Also, Melo on LeBron? Please.  Lakers in 6.

“You mean I can’t pick Klay and the Warriors?” – Mychal Thompson

2 Los Angeles Clippers v 7 Dallas Mavericks

Troy Goostrey: LAC are built for a championship run so whoever faced them first was in for a tough draw.  Pity it’s the up and coming Luka Doncic and his Mavs as I would have liked to see them face one of the LA teams in the second round ideally.  Luka will go all world a couple of times and DAL will steal one, but overall Clippers in 5 – too deep, too strong, too flexible.

Dan Kelly: Clippers should get through this comfortably, Luka and Porzingis should get hot enough to get a game or two off the Clips. Clippers in 6.

Jarrod Cotton: Luka / Porzingis tandem will put on an offensive display but LA just has too much firepower in this one. Clippers in 6.

Jesse Cotton: Experience will win out here with Luka and Porzingis only getting a taste of their first playoffs. Kawhi and PG will tighten the screws on the Mavs offense, with Pat Bev talking trash from the bench. Clippers in 5.

“I’m picking Mavs. No, wait, I’m staying with the Clippers. But at the end of the season, I’m going with the Mavs” – DeAndre Jordan

3 Denver Nuggets v 6 Utah Jazz

Troy Goostrey: Heart says Utah here, but Denver will be too strong.  Denver have too much overall depth and the recent explosions from MPJ only add to it.  Fun to watch Spida take it at the Denver D, but ultimately Nuggets in 6.

Dan Kelly: A 50/50 and going with Nuggets on gut feel. Would not surprise me if Jazz get through. Nuggets in 6.

Jarrod Cotton: Defense usually wins the day but I am going against that for this series and picking Denver, just. Nuggets in 7.

Jesse Cotton: I don’t trust the Nuggets, but I don’t trust the Jazz more. Nuggets in 7.

“I can’t believe the Nuggets traded Donovan Mitchell for us” – Tyler Lydon and Trey Lyles
“I can’t believe the Nuggets traded Rudy Gobert for us” – Erick Green and cash

4 Houston Rockets v 5 Oklahoma City Thunder

Troy Goostrey: How much gas has CP3 got in the pacy series versus his old mob?  If he can rally the troops, they can push it 7.  If the 3’s are dropping for the Rockets, it’s a possible sweep.  I’ll settle in the middle somewhere with Westbrook missing early, OKC will win one, but Rockets in 5.

Dan Kelly: Really unsure on this series, another 50/50 on who I think will progress. Thinking Harden will be a little too much, but with no Westbrook it could go OKC’s way. Rockets in 6.

Jarrod Cotton: The “no centre” experiment will crash and burn, especially without Westbrook starting the series. Thunder in 6.

Jesse Cotton: Houston is the most precarious team. Any slight hiccup, like starting the series without Westbrook, and they’ll come down like the Challenger. Houston, we have a problem. Thunder in 6.

“Me and James go way back” – Russell Westbrook
“Me and James go way back” – Chris Paul
“I think both those guys just fouled me” – James Harden

Eastern Conference


1 Milwaukee Bucks v 8 Orlando Magic

Troy Goostrey: Saving my keyboard the damage of writing anymore.  Bucks in 4.

Dan Kelly: Straight forward sweep this one. Bucks in 4.

Jarrod Cotton: Can’t really see any way Orlando could steal one, a sweep it is. Bucks in 4.

Jesse Cotton: Orlando won’t even win one with all games at “home”. May as well sub on Mickey Mouse. Bucks in 4.

“Bucks in 4” – Tobias Harris, JJ Redick and Michael Carter-Williams

2 Toronto Raptors v 7 Brooklyn Nets

Troy Goostrey: See the MIL v ORL summary, TOR with the other first round ‘bye’..  Raptors in 4.

Dan Kelly: Gentlemen’s sweep at the most…could be 4 games quite easily. Predicting at this stage the Raptors will get out of the East. Raptors in 5.

Jarrod Cotton: Brooklyn will get one game from the defending champions but that is all. Raptors in 5.

Jesse Cotton: No star power for the Nets, and the deep Raptors will take care of them pretty easily. Raptors in 4.

“One more season?” – Vince Carter

3 Boston Celtics v 6 Philadelphia 76ers

Troy Goostrey: Philly are still dangerous but the loss of Simmons is too much to overcome here.  It will help floor spacing with him out, but the defensive end looks too thin to help keep Tatum, Brown and Co quiet for long enough.  Boston too deep and too strong here, Celtics in 5.

Dan Kelly: Celtics will do this comfortably, giving Sixers 2 games in case Embiid decides to do something…but could see it only going 5. Celtics in 6.

Jarrod Cotton: This will be hard for Philadelphia to win more than two games without Simmons. Celtics in 6.

Jesse Cotton: If Embiid comes to play, the Sixers can exploit the Celtics’ weakness inside. But Embiid only comes to play about a third of the time. Even his hairdresser Pepe is going for the Celtics. Celtics in 6.

“How I rebound:” – Al Horford

4 Indiana Pacers v 5 Miami Heat

Troy Goostrey: Really happy with how my Pacers have fought out this season, but unfortunately it will result in another first round exit.  Without Sabonis and when Warren lit a fire under Jimmy Buckets earlier in the season, this match up is Miami’s to lose.  Heat in 6 but the core of the Pacers is back next season to finally push into the second round.

Dan Kelly: Could go either way, got a feeling Pacers may surprise in this series. Pacers in 6.

Jarrod Cotton: Kelly Olynyk will be the X factor for Miami in game seven eg. 2017 playoffs. Heat in 7.

Jesse Cotton: A bit like Brooklyn, the Pacers are lacking that true star without a fully fit Oladipo or Sabonis. Hard to win when the other team has the best 2 players. Heat in 5.

“I’m not Irish” – Jermaine O’Neal
“I’m not Scottish” – Josh McRoberts

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