I’m sports guy, and I’m not so sports guy. And we’re the Dude Sports Guy. It doesn’t really work when it’s just me right here. You’ll be surprised to find that my expert opinion is to pick all the favorites. I’ll shortly explain myself.
PHX Suns vs NOR Pelicans
Pelicans look like a rejuvenated team since adding CJ McCollum, and with a lot of young pieces they scare me a little. Suns are a historically good team in the clutch, on the road, at home it doesn’t really matter. I have no reason to suspect the major upset besides the suffering it would bring me. SUNS IN 5.
DAL Mavericks vs UTAH Jazz
The big story of the series is unfortunately can Luka Dončić get healthy and finally get out of the first round. I fear by the time he is fully healthy he will dig them out the whole, but it will be too little too late. JAZZ IN 7.
GSW Warriors vs DEN Nuggets
Impressive Jokic has keep the Nuggies afloat thus far but when you have a player of equal dominance in Curry? I don’t want to sleep on Denver especially because it can be big vs small but Warriors supporting cast will be able to clear. WARRIORS IN 5.
MEM Grizzles vs MIN T-Wolves
Upset city…maybe. Ja Morant and the Grizz will have their hands full with the 2022 Play-In Tournament champion Wolves. Pat Bev the literal embodiment of an internet troll will probably start playing like a scumbag and start diving into Ja’s ankles…please don’t. Wolves have talent but Grizzles have proven that they deserve some respect and I think they get it here. Grizzles in 6.
MIA Heat vs ATL Hawks
Say Trae Young looks like a Gerber baby or a hairy lolipop all you want, but when Trae Young is cookin’ he’s insane out there. Hawks knocked out the 1 seed last year and I don’t think the Heat are a super strong 1 seed. Yet, they’re a good team with playoff experience and as long as the avoid critical pitfalls the Heat should be able to clear a Hawks team who almost lost to Cleveland. HEAT IN 6.
PHI 76ers vs TOR RAPTORS
A lot of people picking this as their upset and I don’t know if I’m on board with that. Toronto is arguably a deeper and better coached team but I question that if Joel Embiid and James Harden are both locked in that it’s going to be a force to be reckoned with. 76ers in 6.
MIL Bucks vs CHI Bulls
If Lonzo Ball was healthy I might take Chicago here. I mean if there’s anyway to dismiss the can’t beat good teams narrative, eliminate the favorites out of the East. If the Bulls can channel what they had months ago where they were the top team and DeRozan looks like an MVP candidate it’s certainly possible. Giannis is going to run and dunk all over this sad shell of their formers self. BUCKS IN 5.
BOS Celtics vs BRK Nets
Boston got cursed with this fun match-up against the team that sent them home last year. I like Tatum and Brown and Smart, I really do. Just KD and Kyrie are really nasty together and if they’re both scoring 30+ points every game that’s just a major problem to deal with. NETS IN 6.
PHX Suns vs UTAH Jazz
This is a makeup for the two not meeting last year. Both teams matchup so well with Booker/Mitchell and Ayton/Gobert being perfect adversaries. I think the Jazz miss Ingles and the question really becomes can Bojan Bogdanović and Jordan Clarkson have a greater output then the depth of the Suns. Close but I think Point God makes a difference and Mikael Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Cam Payne all might have time to shine here.
MEM Grizzles vs GSW Warriors
My expert opinion is literally just flip a coin. I worry about the Grizzles having inexperience in the post-season, but they won all those games without Ja which is not something I can say about Golden State (who lose Ja at all). I don’t want to beat against Golden State, they’re dangerous night in and night out, but I think they’re the more volatile team. If Curry has a shooting slump that’s huge. The X-factor is really can Klay Thompson be the difference maker and take over a quarter or two in a key game. Maybe but Grizzles are the more consistent team and I don’t see there role players pulling a disappearing act as much as I could see Golden State primarily rest on Curry’s shoulders. Grizzles in 7.
MIA Heat vs PHI 76ers
Can Bam stop Embiid? Do I trust Harden to not go on a cold streak more than Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro. Kyle Lowry is the X-factor here, he has a history of being passive in the playoffs but he’s going to have to make big time plays in the clutch. It’s close but I think the maybe MVP of the league Embiid can get over his 2nd round misery now that RIP Bozo isn’t on his team. 76ers in 6.
MIL Bucks vs BRK Nets
Flip a coin. Both these teams are great. Giannis and KD are both going toe to toe (just like last year). Bucks might be a wee bit better at defense and have more depth on the roster. I’m giving the edge due to the Deer District and beating the Bucks at home is tough. Nets might get punished for their low seeding. BUCKS in 7.
PHX Suns vs Mem Grizzles
Tough and Grizzles have a nicely constructed team. Grizzles path to victory is taking advantage of their athleticism and capitalizing on good looks. It can go either way, I don’t want to pick the Grizzles as they don’t have prior playoff experience but if you win the previous two series and the prove to be hungry… maybe it’s lunchtime? Suns are so fundamentally sound, mentally tough and ready to rise to the occasion. They have had me in disbelief time and time again this season and I just they’re more likely to demoralize you than you are them. They’re not going down quietly, and I think they prove that last year was far from a fluke. SUNS in 7.
MIL Bucks vs PHI 76ers
history indicates that Joel Embiid and James Harden fail at some point in the playoffs. Both are a little too reliant on the foul line that you stop giving them the calls, Giannis and Middleton can match them in terms of volume. I trust Jrue Holiday, Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez more than I do the supporting cast in Philly. It’s tough but it is Bucks in 6.
PHX SUNS VS MIL Bucks
My fear is that the Suns don’t even make it this far as they always seems to have had that luck in the past. I remember last year I wanted to Bucks because I think they are worthy adversary. I respect Giannis greatly as well as the rest of the Bucks they earned their crown last year and it is very well possible they repeat. However, history usually dictates the repeat championship team split. It would be great if the Suns finally conquered their final boss and recovery from last year’s crushing defeat. Javale McGee was brought in to be the difference so the Suns aren’t so reliant on Ayton being in foul trouble or not. Giannis and Middleton were unbelievable dominant and still last year came down to a few crucial moments and momentum swings. CP3 finally gets his ring and Devin Booker finally gets his respect and the “super team” that came to him staying loyal to the Valley. It would be beautiful and the Suns are looking like a great championship roster. I as unbiased as I can be have the Suns winning the finals in 7 this year. I can’t wait to get hurt again, oh no I’m not ready. This might be the best chance. Please make it happen.