NBA Predictions: Experts Say Heat vs. Celtics, Warriors vs. Choose Mavericks.


After the pair’s Game 7 match on Sunday, the NBA’s final conference matchup is set. In the West, 3rd placed Warriors will face 4th placed Dallas Mavericks. In the East, #1 Miami Heat vs #2 Boston Celtics.

Boston-Miami starts on Tuesday. Golden State Dallas starts on Wednesday.

We said this is going to be a rough postseason, and it certainly was. The title has been out of hand for quite some time. It feels like one of these four teams could make it to the finals, but in reality, we all have an opinion on who will make it to the finals.

With that in mind, below are the staff picks for both matchups, which include the number of games played in each series and a description of the choices. This will be fun.

Eastern Conference Finals: Heat vs. Celtics

Lighter’s Choice: 6 Celtics. Miami is a very good basketball team. But Celtics is great. And it’s probably the best game since late January. They have the NBA’s second best defense, defender of the year, Jayson Tatum’s superstar, incredible depth, incredible momentum, and the answer to every question posed this season. Less than .500 at the end of January? it’s okay Round 1 Series vs. mighty Brooklyn Nets? swept them Defending Champions Milwaukee Bucks 3-2 Series Loss? As Ime Udoka puts it: Much sweeter when the inevitable comeback unfolds in a dominant way. Now there is a very talented Miami Heat team with great defense with Jimmy Butler and Erik Spoelstra’s experience leading the way? I don’t have any problem. This Celtics team, like all the other challenges they face, is so great.

Quinn’s Choice: 6 Celtics. I can’t get my head around the image of Miami scoring 79 points in Game 3 of the series against the 76ers. A team that has been trying to score a long time against Philadelphia’s poor defense… Should we believe it will score against Boston? The Celtics have been historically dominant in defense essentially since January. They just knocked out two of the best players in the world. If Kyle Lowry was healthy, this series would be much more interesting. As it stands, I expect Miami to use a huge rest advantage to play the first leg at home, but otherwise the series will lean on a Boston team poised to take revenge on the Heat for their 2020 Eastern Conference Final loss.

Ward-Henninger’s Choice: 6 Celtics. If you thought the Boston-Milwaukee series was bloodshed, what would this series look like? If there are two elite defenders, the team with the more aggressive firepower, according to conventional logic, can win, and that’s the Celtics. Thanks to Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and roleplayers who have proven that they can take it a step further when it matters. That said, it’s impossible to ignore what Jimmy Butler has done this postseason, and Tyler Herro may have to break out. At the end of the day, I think the Heat will have a hard time scoring all the series, so Boston is the NBA Finals.

Maloney’s Choice: 6th place Celtics. The Heat are a very tough and good defensive team on their own, but we saw how the Celtics shut down the Bucks team, which lacked a shot generator. Miami faces a similar problem, especially as Kyle Lowry is still battling a hamstring injury and no other player is as good as Giannis Antetokounmpo. This will be a serious scrap, but in the end the Celtics will have too much talent on either side of the ball.

Wimbish’s Choice: 7th Celtics. The West can see high scoring situations, but expect this series to be the opposite as both teams use breathtaking defenses that can wear out their opponents. But I have more confidence in Boston’s ability to score more points than the Heat, who stopped the offensive for a long time against the Sixers in the last series. The unknown variable of Kyle Lowry’s hamstring injury also calls into question Heat, who doesn’t have many shooters to compete with Boston.

Botkin’s Choice: 6th place Celtics. These two teams reflect each other in many ways. Excellent switching defense. An interactive big that can hold itself around. Superstars Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler. depth. discipline. Drive and kick spirit. Once again, the Miami are far better than what they’ve been recognized for, at least in the mainstream conversation, but the Celtics will ultimately be too much for both.

Herbert’s Choice: 6th place Celtics. Can Heat score against this amazing defense? It’s as good and adaptable as this season, but I’m worried about these individual matchups and I don’t think they have enough firepower. They’re going to try to mess things up, but especially given that Miami doesn’t have a healthy Kyle Lowry, I’ll have to join Boston, my team of choice, to qualify for the playoffs.

Kaskey-Blomain’s Choice: 6th place Celtics. The series promises to be a tough and defensive fight as both teams are wearing hats to put on a tight containment defense. But the Celtics have more firepower on offense and are the best player in Jayson Tatum’s entire series. After slowing down the duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in round one and removing the current champion and arguably the best in the world from Giannis Antetokounmpo in round two, the Celtics should have no problem slowing down Jimmy Butler. , Bam Adebayo, and Co.

Western Conference Finals: Warriors v Mavericks

lighter’s Choose: Warriors Inn 5. The hero of Luka Doncic, who led the Dallas Mavericks through the Phoenix Suns, cannot be overstated. But the Golden State Warriors will be an entirely different contender. Unlike Phoenix, he is an unshakable contender in the face of a strong D and a cool superstar. The Warriors’ past experience (winning and losing titles) will help them move beyond Luka & Co. The Warriors have the best defense in the NBA. They have the best shooters in NBA history. They have more depth and headlines than their Durant days, but they’re not limited to Jordan Poole’s appearance. They have Klay and Dray again. And they won’t be wasting another chance on another title like Phoenix did.

Quinn’s Choice: Warriors in 7. I think we’re very slightly overestimating Mavericks right now based on several factors that are unlikely to hold. Phoenix’s attack relied so much on the two creators to generate the attack that one, who appeared to be injured, was completely incapacitated. The Golden State’s more egalitarian system would not be so vulnerable. The Warriors can athletically punish Dallas in a way the Suns couldn’t. Some Mavericks are shooting well over the head in the playoffs, and what if Maxi Kleber continues with 48 percent of 3-pointers? Give him more powers and start planning the parade. I think Golden State’s comfortable defensive transition will force Dallas to look for an alternative offensively. It’s as incredible as Luka Doncic. I think it’s worth noting that a core like this beat LeBron James three times in the finals. They’re not new to this kind of showdown. Doncic will make it to the finals someday, but this is still Golden State’s time.

Ward-Henninger’s Choice: Warriors in 7. The Warriors have shown a lot of flaws this postseason, but they have the adaptability and championship agility to make it to the finals for the first time since 2019. Luka Doncic doesn’t have the answer, but between Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green they can. At least try to make his life difficult. The Warriors also have the manpower to stand up to the Mavs when they do five out, one of the Mavs’ biggest weapons. As we get closer, I trust Draymond, Steph and Klay more than Luka’s colleagues. Golden State, please.

Maloney’s Choice: Seven Warriors. This will be an attractive matchup, as both teams love to play on the 3-pointer. It’s hard to deal with after Luka Doncic and Mavs disbanded the Suns in Game 7, but I’ll lean a bit on the Warriors thanks to their collective talent, championship experience and home court advantage.

Wimbish’s Choice: Mavericks Inn 7. If you don’t consider these two teams almost mirrors of each other, here are some stats to consider. Both the Warriors and Mavericks had a defensive rating of 110.5 in the playoffs, and Dallas’ 114.5 offensive rating was 0.2 better than Golden State. These two squads are incredibly well suited to each other as they can move into a small ball lineup to subdue their opponents and rely heavily on their 3-pointers. The Warriors are the favorite team to win and claim a title in this series based on their championship history, but the Golden State didn’t look like the world-beating and dreaded team we saw in 2016. Playing the wrong basketball, Stephen Curry didn’t hit the crazy three we’re used to seeing in him. Meanwhile, the Mavericks get into the series with their best basketball, and it’s hard to face Luka Doncic right now, who seems to be the best remaining player in the playoffs.

botkin’s Choose: 7 warriors. Golden State took a break after defeating Phoenix. Luka Doncic is a certified madman, but it’s a big deal that Mikal Bridges doesn’t chase Stephen Curry all over the court. The same goes for the fact that Dallas plays smaller. So Golden State can respond with the most powerful lineup without much worry. Add to that the fact that the Warriors can now have an edge on the home court, which makes Game 7 a difference in a series to watch.

Herbert’s Choice: Mavericks Inn 7. In the preseason, you pick the Warriors to win, and at the end of the regular season, you pick them up and advance to the finals. Why should you pick your Conference Finals opponent now? Because there are more questions about Golden State joining this series than about Dallas. The injuries to Gary Payton II, Otto Porter and Andre Iguodala have messed up the Warriors’ rotation and some of the lineups they threw against Memphis will not be viable against the Mavs. This feels like a toss-up to me, but I think the team seems to improve in almost every game.

Kaskey-Blomain’s Choice: Warriors in 7. The Warriors have an experiential advantage in this series, and as the two teams are evenly matched on paper, it could ultimately prove to be the difference. The biggest concern the Golden State faces is how to blunt Luka Doncic, who has completely dominated him this postseason. The Warriors have to be planned as there is no individual defender who can feel good with Doncic, especially Gary Payton II, still absent. Also, the small ball has been an advantage for Dallas in this playoff, but not against Golden State, where the small ball lineup is very effective.

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