The Toronto Raptors are the defending, reigning NBA champions.
It’s my favourite sentence to type/read/hear/say. It’s the one you would have heard a lot as the NBA Playoffs were supposed to kick off this weekend. For what it’s worth, we were all spared the humiliation of another Game 1 home loss!
The absence of live basketball didn’t stop us from making our annual playoff predictions. After enjoying the latest episode, make sure to include your prognostications in the comments below. (And keep an eye on HQ for some future playoff simulation posts too!)
On This Episode:
Predicting games are difficult enough since we have no idea when the games will resume. To make things simpler, we kept the playoff schedule the same and used the current (final?) standings (plus head-to-head tiebreakers). The resulting bracket presented some intriguing matchups.
- Milwaukee Bucks (1) vs. Orlando Magic (8)
- Miami Heat (4) vs. Indiana Pacers (5)
- Boston Celtics (3) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (6)
- Toronto Raptors (2) vs. Brooklyn Nets (7)
- Los Angeles Lakers (1) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (8)
- Utah Jazz (4) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (5)
- Denver Nuggets (3) vs. Houston Rockets (6)
- Los Angeles Clippers (2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7)
What are your immediate thoughts with each series in the East? How ‘lucky’ are the Magic to play the title favourites again? Can a fully healthy Victor Oladipo give Indiana the added punch to overcome Erik Spoelstra’s young Heat squad? All-Stars Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid in a first-round heavyweight tilt anyone? Will Masai resurrect “F*ck Brooklyn”?
The annual Western Conference bloodbath would not disappoint any NBA fan. In L.A., LeBron James enters the twilight of his career, while Ja Morant is just getting his started. In Utah, the spotlight will surely be on Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, which may work in the Thunder’s favour, as Chris Paul continues to lead his over-achieving bunch. In Denver, D’antoni’s small ball rotation will be put to the test against the league’s most versatile Center. Back at Staples Center, Luka Doncic will get the rudest of playoff introductions when he faces Patrick Beverley, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard.
2:40 - 64 practices later
5:18 - Raptors title defense begins
13:50 - Kawhi’s Finals MVP defense begins
26:18 - Makings of an upset?
35:45 - All roads lead to Staples
37:30 - Beasts of the West
41:50 - Best out West
47:15 - Title in Tinseltown?