Rapid-Fire Playoff Predictions

Writer: Caleb Akpan

The 2018 NBA playoffs are here, let’s not waste any time getting down to business. Here are 5 rapid-fire predictions for each first round series including, of course, who will prevail and move onto the semifinals.

Western Conference: (1) Houston Rockets vs (8) Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Karl-Anthony Towns makes Clint Capela’s defensive abilities look subpar
  • All of the Timberwolves starters average 40 minutes a game or more
  • The Rockets set a record for most threes attempted in a playoff game
  • James Harden creates another crossover highlight, this time in a crucial moment
  • Series Prediction: Rockets in 5

Western Conference: (2) Golden State Warriors vs (7) San Antonio Spurs

  • The Warriors are upset in Game 1, much like they almost were before Kawhi Leonard got hurt in 2017. This time LaMarcus Aldridge dominates the game.
  • Dejounte Murray emerges as the true point guard of the future for San Antonio.
  • Kevin Durant leads the league in points per game
  • All of the bench vets on both teams show up in big moments
  • Series Prediction: Warriors in 6

Western Conference: (3) Portland Trail Blazers vs (6) New Orleans Pelicans

  • Anthony Davis scores the most points in a single out of any playoff participant
  • Aside from that game, the Blazers do a better job of defending Davis than expected
  • Damian Lillard hits at least one game winner/buzzer beater
  • The legend of “Playoff Rondo” continues and the point guard averages at least 10 and 10 with great defense
  • Series Prediction: Blazers in 6

Western Conference: (4) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (5) Utah Jazz

  • Russell Westbrook averages a triple double for the series
  • Donovan Mitchell ups his play (20.5/3.7/3.7/1.5 on 44/34 shooting) from the regular season significantly
  • Rudy Gobert averages at least 3 blocks per game
  • Carmelo Anthony is a reliable third option, and even has a throwback game or two
  • Series Prediction: Thunder in 6

Eastern Conference: (1) Toronto Raptors v (8) Washington Wizards

  • The Raptors continue their streak of lost Game 1s (10 straight going into Saturday)
  • John Wall and Bradley Beal outplay Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan
  • One of the Raptors bench mob members emerges as the clear leader
  • One game is won on a buzzer beater
  • Series Prediction: Raptors in 7

Eastern Conference: (2) Boston Celtics vs (7) Milwaukee Bucks

  • The Bucks upset in Game 1 behind a huge performance from the Greek Freak
  • Jayson Tatum emerges as a legitimate star
  • Jabari Parker earns himself a big contract in the summer based on his performance
  • The Celtics rebound significantly better than in the 2017 playoffs (37.9 RPG, 14th of 16)
  • Series Prediction: Celtics in 7

Eastern Conference: (3) Philadelphia 76ers vs (6) Miami Heat

  • Joel Embiid and Hassan Whiteside troll each other on Twitter/Instagram the entire series
  • Ben Simmons averages a triple double for the series
  • One of the Heat’s younger players (Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow) emerges as a huge contributor
  • Dwyane Wade plays better than he did last year (15/5/4 on 37/35 shooting)
  • Series Prediction: 76ers in 5 or 6 (depending on Embiid’s return)

Eastern Conference: (4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs (5) Indiana Pacers

  • LeBron James averages a triple double for the series
  • LeBron James’ streak of first round game wins (21) ends
  • Like Paul George in 2017 (43 MPG), Victor Oladipo leads the Pacers and the league in minutes per game in the first round.
  • Myles Turner plays up to his potential and has a huge series
  • Series Prediction: Cavs in a close 5
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