2020 has definitely been one for the ages with everything that’s happened. In March, the world changed because of the coronavirus and sports disappeared. Fortunately, it returned and the NBA was played in a bubble without fans in the stands. Since the NBA restart, we have seen some amazing performances. Damian Lillard, Michael Porter Jr. and Devin Booker are just a few of the guys who have had amazing performances. The Suns were the only team to go undefeated and now their future look bright as ever. We have now arrived at the 2020 NBA playoffs. We had a battle for the 8th seed in the west as Portland and Memphis played to see who battled the Lakers in the first round. Without further ado, let’s see who’ll advance from the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
We have the Milwaukee Bucks battling the Orlando Magic in the opening round. Milwaukee had the best record in the NBA and Giannis figures to repeat as MVP this year. Orlando will feel the effects of Jonathon Isaac tearing his ACL a couple weeks ago. Orlando was already going to be without Mo Bamba. Orlando still got a good team, but not enough to compete against the Bucks. I’m picking Milwaukee to win the series in a sweep. Milwaukee Wins Series 4-0
In the 4 versus 5 series, we have the Indiana Pacers battling the Miami Heat. T.J. Warren was one of the breakout stars in the NBA bubble. Warren was one of the leading scorers, which has given the Pacers another threat. The Miami Heat is some peoples surprise pick to come out the Eastern Conference. Jimmy Butler and T.J. Warren could resume their feud from earlier in the year before the pandemic hit. Will Victor Oladipo be healthy enough to contribute for the Pacers? Either way, this could be the best series in the first round of the Eastern Conference. I’m predicting it’ll go five games and the Heat will edge out the Pacers. Miami Wins Series 4-2
The Toronto Raptors will battle the Brooklyn Nets in the 2 versus 7 series. The Raptors haven’t missed a beat a year after winning the championship. Many people thought with Kawhi Leonard leaving, they’ll struggle once again. Toronto continues to be a great, aggressive team. The Brooklyn Nets are dealing with so many injuries, but they have no quit in their heart. Caris LeVert has emerged as a star that’ll help Brooklyn next year when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are there. Unfortunately, this year the Nets will go down against the Raptors, but they may win one game. Toronto Wins Series 4-1
The final first round series in the Eastern Conference will see the Boston Celtics battle the Philadelphia 76ers. Boston has had moments in the bubble where they looked like the favorite to come out of the East. The main issue with the Celtics will have to be their health. Kemba Walker is still having knee issues and he’s one of their key players if they’re going to make a run. Jayson Tatum has emerged as a bonafied superstar and Jaylen Brown isn’t far behind. The 76ers are having issues when it comes to health themselves. Ben Simmons is out after having knee surgery and Joell Embiid can’t stay healthy either. Tobias Harris and Al Horford will need to step up big time in this series. I’m still picking the Celtics to advance to the next round. Boston Wins Series 4-1
We start the Western Conference playoffs with one of the more intriguing matchups. The top seed Los Angeles Lakers will take on the 8th seed Portland Trailblazers. The Lakers have had issues throughout their time in the bubble with offense. If Anthony Davis and Lebron James isn’t scoring, they’re having a hard time getting production from others. For them to beat Portland, someone like Kyle Kuzma will need to step up and take some of the burden off James and Davis. Portland beat Memphis in the play-in game to secure the final playoff spot. I’ve said a week ago that this Portland team is probably the scariest team in the bubble. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are as good as it gets, and they have plenty of support also. I wouldn’t be shocked if Portland upset the Lakers, but I’m going with Los Angeles. Los Angeles Wins Series 4-3
We have a very intriguing 4 versus 5 series as the Houston Rockets battle the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Rockets are one of the best offensive teams in the league. James Harden can put up 40 points in the blink of an eye and Russell Westbrook can get hot quickly. Russell Westbrook is dealing with a quad injury and that could become a factor in this series. Will small ball help or hurt the Rockets against the Thunder? Many people didn’t see Oklahoma City in this position when the season started. Those same people thought they would trade Chris Paul for the assets to build towards the future. Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook were traded for one another during the offseason. Could the Thunder cancel the Rockets plans for a deep run? I’m rolling with Houston in this one. Houston Wins Series 4-2
The 2 versus 7 series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks should be a good one. The Clippers will be at full strength for this series, which is something that’s rare for them. Many believe that this Clippers team is the one that could challenge the Lakers for the title. Kawhi Leonard is as good as anyone when it comes to playoff performances. Paul George is one of the best players in the league and can score with the best of them. As far as Dallas is concerned, Luka Doncic will need a historic series for the Mavericks to compete. At 21, Luka is already one of the best players in the league and Kristaps Porzingis has looked great also. Unfortunately, for the Mavericks they don’t have enough weapons for the Clippers, and they will fall. Los Angeles Wins Series 4-2.
The final series in the Western Conference will put the Denver Nuggets against the Utah Jazz. The Nuggets are finally coming together as a team as they have battled injuries also. With the emergence of Bol Bol and Michael Porter Jr., the Nuggets have more weapons. Denver is probably the sleeper team in the West. Nikola Jokic is a problem and this series against Rudy Gobert should be fun to watch. Utah enter this series not playing their best basketball in the bubble. Mike Conley just left the bubble for the birth of his son and who knows how this will play into this series. Utah will be competitive against Denver, but the Nuggets should advance to the next round. Denver Wins Series 4-3.
Are you looking forward to the 2020 NBA playoffs? What do you think about my first round picks? Will there be any major upsets in the 2020 NBA playoffs or the first round specifically? Leave some feedback below about my picks or the 2020 NBA playoffs. Check out my projected 2nd round matchups.
- Milwaukee Bucks vs. 4. Miami Heat
- Toronto Raptors vs. 3. Boston Celtics
- Los Angeles Lakers vs. 4. Houston Rockets
- Los Angeles Clippers vs. 3. Denver Nuggets