2023 cbhsports NBA Playoffs Preview

Image Courtesy: Forbes

Conference Play-In Results

Eastern Conference
9.Toronto Raptors (41-41)
10.Chicago Bulls (40-42) Advanced
(Winner to play loser of 7./8. game for eight seed)

7.Miami Heat (44-38)
8.Atlanta Hawks (41-41) Advanced
(Winner to be seven seed)

7.Miami Heat (44-38) Advanced
10.Chicago Bulls (40-42)

Western Conference

9.New Orleans Pelicans (42-40)
10.Oklahoma City Thunder (40-42) Advanced
(Winner to play loser of 7./8. game for eight seed)

7.Los Angeles Lakers (43-39) Advanced
8.Minnesota Timberwolves (42-40)
(Winner to be seven seed)

8.Minnesota Timberwolves (42-40) Advanced
9.Oklahoma City Thunder (40-42)

Conference Quarterfinals

Eastern Conference

1.Milwaukee Bucks (58-24) 4
8.Miami Heat (44-38) 1
Led by another MVP-like season by Giannis Antentokounmpo, the Bucks should take care of business and make the second round yet again. Heat wing Jimmy Butler should lead Miami to at least a win in the series but this one should be all Bucks.

4.Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31) 4
5.New York Knicks (47-35) 2
In what should be a very close series, Donavan Mitchell, Darius Garland, and the Cavs core should continue their season after dispatching Julius Randle and the Knicks.

3.Philadelphia 76ers (54-28) 4
6.Brooklyn Nets (45-37) 2
Likely MVP Joel Embiid and guard James Harden have been terrific all season. Since getting rid of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets gained Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson from the Suns. Bridges, a Philadelphia native and former Villanova Wildcat, has been the main scorer for the Nets since the trade.

2.Boston Celtics (57-25) 4
7.Atlanta Hawks (41-41) 1
Boston should take care of Atlanta pretty easily as the Hawks do not play great defense. The Hawks’ best hope is to win games at home because it will be hard to go into TD Garden and win multiple games.

Western Conference
1.Denver Nuggets (53-29) 4
8.Minnesota Timberwolves (42-40) 2
Could Nikola Jokic win his third consecutive MVP in Denver? It is definitely a possibility. The way this Nuggets team has played so far has been great but they can be vulnerable against a Timberwolves team that plays great inside out ball with guard Anthony Edwards and big men Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. The Nuggets should take the series in at least six games but it will be interesting to see how the Nuggets match up with the two Minnesota big men.

4.Phoenix Suns (45-37) 4
5.Los Angeles Clippers (44-38) 2
Phoenix has been absolutely tremendous since adding superstar forward Kevin Durant. The Clippers picked up his former teammate Russell Westbrook after the trade deadline and also locked up a playoff spot. While it is hard to see the Suns lose with an almost unbeatable record with KD, the Clippers have the pieces like Kawhi Leonard to make it a competitive series.

3.Sacramento Kings (48-34) 3
6.Golden State Warriors (44-38) 4
Sacramento has been terrific under new head coach Mike Brown who was previously on the Warrior’s staff. De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, and the Kings have had their best season in a very long time, reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2006. They match up with a Warriors team that has been very up and down this season even with their championship pedigree. I believe guard Stephen Curry, guard Klay Thompson, and forward Draymond Green will step up and eliminate the Kings in the first round.

2.Memphis Grizzlies (51-31) 3
7.Los Angeles Lakers (43-39) 4
The Grizzlies, led by guard Ja Morant and forward Jaren Jackson, are the second seed just like in the 2022 playoffs but are matched up with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and D’Angelo Russell and the Lakers. While Los Angeles has been up and down like Golden State this season, a fully healthy Lakers roster will be hard to beat.

Conference Semifinals

Eastern Conference
1.Milwaukee Bucks (58-24) 4
4.Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31) 2
Milwaukee has Giannis and Cleveland does not. It is pretty simple. The Cavs have a good team but not one that will be able to handle the Greek Freak, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday in a seven game series.

2.Boston Celtics (57-25) 4
3.Philadelphia 76ers (54-28) 3
Philadelphia fails to make a deep run in the playoffs again and Jayson Tatum will lead the Celtics into another conference finals after a fun seven games series with the Sixers. This series is up to the play of James Harden because if he turns the ball over it will hurt Philadelphia’s chances of a deep postseason run a lot.

Western Conference
1.Denver Nuggets (53-29) 3
4.Phoenix Suns (45-37) 4
The Suns will upset the Nuggets led by Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. It is uncommon to see two scorers like them both on the same team. Nikola Jokic will have to dominate inside for the Nuggets to win the series but it is hard to see that countering the Suns dynamic duo as well as veteran point guard Chris Paul.

6.Golden State Warriors (44-38) 4
7.Los Angeles Lakers (43-39) 2
The Golden State Warriors will win the series’ first two games at home in San Francisco and beat the Lakers in six games. The durability of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, D’Angelo Russell, and Dennis Schröder will be important like I mentioned earlier and I doubt they are fully healthy at this point.

Conference Finals

Eastern Conference
1.Milwaukee Bucks (58-24) 4
2.Boston Celtics (57-25) 3
The Bucks and Celtics will meet again in the Eastern Conference Finals. Without wing Khris Middleton in this series, the Bucks fell in seven games to Boston. With him, they will take care of the Jayson Tatum, Jaylin Brown and the Celtics.

Western Conference
4.Phoenix Suns (45-37) 4
6.Golden State Warriors (43-39) 2
In what many people think is the Warriors’ last chance at a title with their current roster, their chance to win back to back ends in the Western Conference Finals. In the end, this Sun’s roster is too talented for a Golden State roster that has not played to its full potential this season.

The 2023 NBA Finals Preview will be published on May 31 at 2 PM CT.

By Carter Huff

Please enjoy all of my content :) <3-Carter

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