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NBA Playoff Predictions – Conference Finals

1 Milwaukee Bucks v 2 Toronto Raptors

Giannis vs Kawhi. 2 of the 3 best performers in the playoffs so far, along with Durant, go head to head. It’s also the first “battle of the brothers” with Marc taking on Pau. Although “taking on” is a bit overrated, it’s hard to battle when one guy is injured.

Milwaukee haven’t been tested too much in the playoffs so far, only losing the one game. Apart from Giannis, they’ve got good contributions from guys like George Hill and Pat Connaughton. This scares me a bit.
Lopez and Bledsoe come off a Boston series shooting a combined 12/51 from 3, and if they keep up that kind of inconsistency, I wouldn’t want to have to rely on those benchies to get the job done.
As far as slowing Kawhi, can the length of Giannis trouble him? They have had success with Middleton on him in the regular season so they might stick with that.

Toronto on the other hand only have guys like Drake VanVleet struggling, who to me is a bit more expendable. As long as my main guys are firing, it doesn’t hurt so much to have to give his minutes to someone like Lin.
As unstoppable as Giannis is, the Raptors are relatively well equipped to handle him with Kawhi, Siakam and Serge all different bodies to be able to throw at him.

I’m going to go with an upset here and pick the Raptors. Giannis and the Bucks will be here the next couple of years, but I feel this is the Raptors last roll of the dice.

Toronto 4-3

“I’m Virignia Tech’s all time leader in steals” – Dell Curry
“Please” – Alvin Robertson
“I’m just here for the free food” – Greg Monroe

1 Golden State Warriors v 3 Portland Trailblazers

Is Durant going to play? Is Cousins going to return? Does that even matter? The second of the “battle of the brothers” with Steph taking on Seth.

Missing KD would be a big deal for the Warriors this series. Without him, it’s really Steph and Klay vs Dame and CJ. That’s a lot closer than what the Warriors would like I’m sure. At least they have Klay and Iggy able to try to slow those guys down a bit. I don’t expect Rodney Hood to keep up his hot streak, and without that there isn’t a lot else to Portland’s offense. Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless aren’t scaring anyone.

Portland have a nothing to lose attitude, with a lot of people in the pre-season not picking them to make the playoffs, then not being picked to get past OKC, then not being picked to get past Denver.
They have been battling injuries, both major (Nurkic) and minor (Kanter) and this along with them seeming running on adrenaline could catch up to them.
But it hasn’t so far, and they haven’t even really needed both of their big guns firing to win. The first round belonged to Lillard, and the second round belonged to McCollum. I have a feeling though that this time around they will need both at the tops of their games.

I can see the Warriors overlooking this series a little, and in trying to avoid bringing any of their main guys back during the Finals, they might bring them in now, which could upset the apple cart for a game or two. But I don’t see Portland winning the series.

Golden State 4-1

“Turns out not a lot of players have played for both the Warriors and Blazers” – Wayne Cooper
“I know, right? I signed with Golden State but only played the one season” – Jerome Kersey
“I signed with Portland and never played at all!” – Festus Ezeli

1 thought on “NBA Playoff Predictions – Conference Finals”

  1. Another quality review Jesse!! I like what you pointed out but one different selection for me!!
    MIL v TOR – Bucks in 7. Tight series, Bucks won’t drop game 7 at home.
    GSW v POR – Warriors in 5. Blazers get one at home and if it’s Game 3 and the series seems close, KD will return. If Warriors start 3-0, KD sits and recovers properly.

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