For the first time since the spring of 2019, this month for the NBA fans means only one and only thing: playoffs basketball. After the traditional 82-game schedule the playoffs are also scheduled for April as by tradition. This regular season was one of the most competitive seasons in maybe a decade and this is a season in which expectations are high for every single team that is involved in the playoffs as both of the divisions are widely open and teams have quality to beat opponents or if you prefer everyone can beat everyone here.
See also : How do the NBA Playoffs Work?
Western Conference preview
Starting with the West, we have so exiting series at the first round as never before. Since most of the public didn’t believe that the Suns would go to the finals last season, this season led by veteran Chris Paul and Armani Booker, Suns were and going to be the team to beat. This team still doesn’t have an opponent as it is awaiting the outcome of the play-in tournament.
Memphis Grizzlies, the surprise of the season for now, went above all expectations during the regular season. This young and talented team finished 2nd at the West and for the playoffs first round will battle another young team, The Minnesota Timberwolves which will be probably a lot more interesting then we can imagine.
Golden State returned strong this season after disappointing back to back seasons mostly because the injuries of the “splash brothers” . Their opponent is now Denver led by Nikola Jokic a strong center on a way to become a legend of the NBA.
Last and perhaps the most interesting battle will be held against Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz. Luka Doncic magic continues from season to season but would it be enough to beat the strong Jazz team. This team of Jazz is the “dark horse” in this season and it will not be a surprise if we see them in the finals.
Eastern Conference preview
During all season long there was a daily shuffling in the Eastern Conference standings, but at the end Miami Heat was the team that clinched the first seed on the wings of Jimmy Butler and the Sixth Man of the Year frontrunner Tyler Herro. These guys improved a lot a season by season and deserve another shot at the title. Their opponent is to be known Friday night and this is where they start from.
Boston Celtics started the season poorly but since December they were playing an extremely good basketball and finished just right behind Miami Heat. For the first round of the playoffs they got the team full of superstar, Brooklyn, after the Nets secured the 7th seed via the Play-In Tournament.
The current champions Milwaukee Bucks finished third during the regular season, and for the first round they got Chicago Bulls. It will be very interesting to see how the Bulls will challenge the champions after having a much better season now if you compare to the several previous ones.
Philadelphia and “The Process” finished fourth during the regular season and for that purpose they will welcome the Toronto Raptors. The 76ers are favorite for this one but the Raptors are always an unpredictable playoffs team especially when playing in Canada.
It is expected all of the favorite teams to deliver. Western Conference contenders are Suns and the Warriors, but Utah Jazz also should be seriously considered for a place in the West finals. On the other side at the East, despite securing the playoffs with Play-In game, Brooklyn Nets are highly considered as contenders after Irwing and Durant are back. Milwaukee however is still the favorite to progress to the finals.
See also : NBA Playoffs 2nd round