NBA Final Predictions
On 15 April, the most anticipated part of the NBA season – the playoffs – began. The 16 strongest teams in the NBA began to compete for the coveted NBA title (for more NBA playoffs predictions and strategies check NBA player betting).
This year's NBA playoffs are very interesting because it is very difficult to pick a favorite. While it used to be common to see the same teams in the NBA Finals, this year there are many contenders.
The reigning NBA champions, the Warriors, are in sixth place in the Western Conference and will have to play the entire playoffs without home court advantage, while the Celtics, who played in last year's finals, will have to beat the 76ers and, most likely, the Bucks, and it will not be an easy road.
Read on for a closer look at each of the teams in the 2022-23 NBA Playoffs. We'll take a look at the team's prospects and who could potentially play in the 2023 NBA Finals.
Also, you can read our guide to betting totals on the NBA to give yourself a better chance to succeed when betting based on NBA predictions for playoffs. Good luck!
Table of content
Denver Nuggets Predictions
The Nuggets continue to be a stable playoff contender, but year after year they have not been able to achieve high results. This year Nikola Jokic will need help from both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. The team also has Jeff Green, who played in the NBA Finals, and a high level of supporting cast, including Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Bruce Brown and Drew Gordon.
In the first round, the team will face the Timberwolves. Our Timberwolves vs Nuggets prediction is that we shouldn't see much intrigue there. Minnesota lacks more talent on offense to face any team in a playoff series.
Looking further ahead, the Nuggets would be the winner of the Clippers-Suns pairing. Both teams have high-level stars, most notably Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant. It is this stage that seems to be the main reason why the Nuggets are not favorites to play in the NBA Finals. As great a regular season as Denver has had, it would not be surprising if the playoffs ended in the second round.
NBA Playoffs Predictions: Eastern Conference predictions
The Eastern Conference tends to be much less intriguing than the West, so it's no surprise that this year there are only three major teams that should be competing for a spot in the NBA Finals. Interestingly, last year's runner-up Celtics will potentially need to beat both of these teams if they want to repeat last year's feat. Let's look at NBA playoffs predictions in Eastern Conference team by team.
Milwaukee Bucks Predictions
The Bucks not only won the Eastern Conference but also the entire NBA regular season, which means they would have home court advantage in both the march to the Finals and the Finals themselves. In the first round, the team will face the Heat, who lost the first game of the play-offs but won the second game against the Bulls.
Interestingly, the Heat won the Eastern Conference last season and have enough talent to challenge the Bucks. However, it's not hard to make Bucks vs Heat predictions: given the current form of the teams, this series should not be prolonged.
The Bucks lost their first game against the Heat, somewhat unexpectedly, but it is worth mentioning that Giannis Antetokounmpo pulled out early due to injury. The Greek is expected to play in the second game, so it would not be surprising if the Bucks win the next four games in a row and prepare for the second round of the playoffs.
The Bucks' first place in the East not only gives them home court advantage, but also a relatively easy path to the conference finals. If the Heat are eliminated in the first round, the Cavaliers or the Knicks would be waiting in the second round, which even looks like a weaker option than the Heat.
🏀 Who is the favorite to win the NBA Eastern Conference?
After clinching their 10th conference title just last season, The Celtics look primed to defend their championship.
🏀 Who is favored to win the NBA finals 2023?
NBA Playoff predictions are that The Celtics are favored to win the 2022-23 NBA Finals.
🏀 What are the odds the Grizzlies win the finals?
The Memphis Grizzlies have a 5% chance of winning the NBA Finals.
🏀 What NBA team has the best record 2023?
The Milwaukee Bucks had the best regular season record in the 2022-23 NBA season at 58-24.
🏀 Who is currently the best NBA player 2023?
Giannis Antetokounmpo topped ESPN's best NBA player for the 2022-2023 season list.
The Bucks need to get over the potential 76ers-Celtics series and hope that Philadelphia beats Boston. The Celtics have a team that is not only capable of defending against the Bucks, but also has the offensive talent, as we saw last year.
Looking at the outlook for the Bucks, the regular season has shown that they are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the league. Not only do they show quality play, but they also have the experience of NBA champions. If the team manages to avoid the Celtics, the Bucks could potentially not only play in the NBA Finals, but also win it.
Boston Celtics Predictions
The Celtics are on a great run, having made the NBA Finals last year and finishing second in the Eastern Conference this year, and have the talent to get back to where they were last year. Led by Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown, the team has a high caliber of supporting cast and a core that has been built up over the years is finally bearing fruit.
This is the most balanced team in the league, with the Celtics having the second-best offense and third-best defense during the regular season. These results show that the team is well prepared for the playoffs, where the team needs to defend as well as attack.
Celtics vs Hawks prediction
The Celtics will face the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, and the series should not take too long. The Celtics were already able to overwhelm their opponents in the second half in the first game, and it would not be surprising if the series were to end in five games or less.
The main challenge for the Celtics will start in the second round of the playoffs. There is a potential duel against the 76ers, who have played the Celtics four times in the regular season with three victories. Both teams are high level, but the Celtics seem to have more potential at the moment.
It could be said that the Bucks are a bit more favorable to play against than the 76ers, so it is the second round that will be the biggest test for the Celtics in the play-offs. Just like the Bucks, the Celtics have the best chance to play in the NBA Finals.
Philadelphia 76ers Predictions
Joel Embiid once again had a cosmic regular season and became the Most Valuable Player. There's a good chance he'll be named MVP, but the playoffs are a different story. The 76ers have been underachievers in the playoffs for years, and this year the expectations are high.
All eyes are not only on Embiid, but also on James Harden, who had a much better regular season than last year. However, with Harden's ability to disappear in the playoffs, it will be very interesting to see how this team will look in the most important battles.
In the first round, the 76ers will face the Nets, the weakest team in the playoffs, who are only here because Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant picked up wins for the team at the beginning of the season. Our 76ers vs Nets prediction is that there is no doubt that this series will come to an end soon, and then the Celtics will face a challenge.
If Boston is more comfortable against the Bucks, the 76ers are more comfortable against the Celtics because there is no one to stop Joel Embiid. However, if Philadelphia reaches the Eastern Conference Finals, they should hit a wall here, as the Bucks have everything they need to stop a surging 76ers team.
Brook Lopez is the perfect player to stop Joel Embiid – the center forward is one of the main candidates to win the best defensive player award. There's also Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, who won't give Tyrese Maxey and James Harden a break. And on the 76ers' side, there's no stopping Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo. As a result, the ceiling for the Philadelphia team this year seems to be the Eastern Conference Finals – unless the Bucks are not there.
Cleveland Cavaliers Predictions
The Cavaliers are experiencing a new era after LeBron James and are returning to the playoffs after several years of rebuilding. The team's biggest achievement is the summer signing of Donovan Mitchell, who had an amazing regular season, even scoring 71 points in one game.
The Cavaliers have a lot of young and talented players in Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Isaac Okoro and Jarrett Allen. Mitchell is 26 years old, so the future is bright.
Cavs vs Knicks Predictions
The first round of the play-offs will be against the Knicks, who have, somewhat unexpectedly, had a very solid season. For the Cavaliers, the first round of the playoffs seems to be the ultimate finale, with the 76ers waiting in the second round, where no luck is expected. While the front line can stop Joel Embiid, it's the offense that could be the problem.
New York Knicks Predictions
Knicks fans have Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, brought in from the Mavericks in the summer, to thank for their key regular season wins. Josh Hart, acquired in a trade, also contributed to the success of the season, and the whole team is united as one.
As previously mentioned in our Knicks vs Cavaliers prediction, for the Knicks, as for the Cavaliers, the first round is the playoffs – making it to the next round is an added bonus to gain experience. It would be naive to expect the Knicks to beat the 76ers, but in terms of experience, it is a great season for the team.
Brooklyn Nets Predictions
The Nets are undoubtedly the weakest team in the playoffs and would not be here if they had to play at least 5-10 more games in the regular season. The only reason the team stayed in sixth place was because it had enough wins before trading Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
This playoffs are not a big deal, but looking forward, it is a great opportunity to gain experience. The Nets have a lot of high-level middles, and bringing some of the league's stars here could make for a very strong team. As discussed before in Brooklyn Nets vs Philadelphia 76ers predictions, unfortunately, the Nets will have a very short playoff run this year.
Atlanta Hawks Predictions
The Hawks played the regular season to the best of their abilities, and this was the first season with the summer duo of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. The Hawks will face the Celtics in the playoffs, and as mentioned above in the Hawks vs Celtics prediction, the playoffs should take a short time.
The Hawks lost all three games against the Celtics during the regular season and it would not be surprising if they lost four more in a row in the playoffs. There is simply not enough talent on the team to achieve high goals. The backcourt is solid, but without these players there is no one else who can take the initiative and be a game-changer.
Miami Heat Predictions
The Heat were expected to do much more than that after last season's great season. Last year, the team not only won the regular season but also lost to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals after seven games. The Heat seem to have everything to be a successful team in the playoffs, but this year it is the offense that is the most problematic.
During the regular season, the team had the ninth-ranked defense but only 25th-ranked offence, and this will be the team's main problem in the playoffs.
In the first game of the series against the Bucks, the team managed to win, but Tyler Herro, who was one of the team's bright spots on offense, is out for 4-6 weeks with a broken arm. Without him, the team will have a much tougher time and even if they win the first game, it is unlikely that the series against the Bucks will last long.
However, in case of a miracle and a win against the Bucks, the team has the potential to qualify for the Conference Finals, as it is also capable of beating the winner of the Cavaliers-Knicks pairing.
NBA Predictions: Western Conference Predictions
The Western Conference is much more intriguing, as evidenced by the fact that the NBA champions are in sixth place, while the Lakers, who were one of the best teams in the second half of the season, are in seventh place.
The Suns, in fourth place, were only three losses away from the Pelicans, in 10th place. The strength of this conference is confirmed by the fact that the Nuggets, who finished first in the West, are not considered the favorites to reach the Finals.
Memphis Grizzlies Predictions
The Grizzlies had a very solid regular season, finishing in second place. However, they are not in the best shape coming into the playoffs, which was confirmed in the first game against the Lakers.
Grizzlies vs Lakers Prediction
The team cannot play at full strength due to injuries to Steven Adam and Brandon Clarke. Ja Morant also played in the first game against the Lakers, and without him the series shouldn't last at all.
Memphis has a lot of problems on the front line, while the Lakers score a lot of their points from the free throw line, which is why the Lakers are the favorites for the pairing, even if they don't have the home-court advantage that they had in the first game. Interestingly, LeBron James has won 18 consecutive playoff series when his team won the first game.
Can the Grizzlies break this impressive record? With a healthy Ja Morant, the chances are better, but if he doesn't play in Game 2 and the Grizzlies lose again, then the series is over.
Sacramento Kings Predictions
The Kings had an impressive regular season and made the playoffs after a 16-year hiatus. Symbolically, the NBA champion Warriors have to be played in the first round, which is why the play-offs should not be prolonged. It is a great achievement for the team, but the Kings do not have enough experience to be successful in a playoff series.
The only plus for the Kings is that the Warriors have been tragic on the road this season with only 11 wins and 30 losses. The Warriors must win in Sacramento to advance to the next round. If they beat the champions and advance to the next round, they will have to play the winners of the Grizzlies-Lakers pairing.
It is safe to say that the opponent would not be significantly tougher than the Warriors, so the team would have the potential to go all the way to the Western Conference Finals. However, the Kings' playoff march is most likely to be interrupted by the defending NBA champion Warriors.
Phoenix Suns Predictions
The Suns are one of the most intriguing teams in the Western Conference, having managed to lure Kevin Durant in return. The forward managed to play eight games in the regular season and the team won every game. What made the series against the Clippers even more intriguing was the loss of home court advantage in the first game.
The Suns have not had a very successful regular season, but they have everything they need to win not only the Western Conference, but also the NBA Championship. With Chris Paul now 37 years old, this could be the last chance for the point guard to have his best shot at becoming an NBA champion for the first time. Without a doubt, the team's performance depends on the success of Kevin Durant.
Los Angeles Clippers Predictions and Suns vs Clippers Prediction
The Clippers will have to start the series against the Suns without Paul George, who is currently injured, but there is a chance that he will play in the series against the Suns. However, the team's success will depend mostly on Kawhi Leonard.
The forward scored 38 points in the first game and was unstoppable. If Leonard continues to play like this, the team is capable of not only beating the Suns but also reaching the NBA Finals.
The Clippers have a lot of middles, which allows the coaching staff to vary the line-up against different teams. The long bench could become a key weapon if the Clippers continue their playoff march.
However, even after winning the first game and gaining home court advantage, the Clippers are not considered a favorite against the Suns. It could be argued that this Los Angeles team is the most underrated team in the league – if they beat the Suns, they can certainly beat the Nuggets and win the Western Conference.
Golden State Warriors Predictions
The NBA champions don't need much talking about – a team that has maintained its roster has everything it needs to become NBA champions again. The most worrying thing is that the team loses a lot on the road, and just 11 wins is not the result you want from the champions, who don't have home court advantage. This means that the team will have to win at least once on the road in the playoff series. A big plus is that Andrew Wiggins, who missed the last 23 games, has joined the team.
The Warriors play the Kings in the first round and barring a surprise, the Warriors have everything to win the second round against the Grizzlies, the favorite of the Lakers. In the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors have the most playoff experience of any team.
The Warriors' uncertain play during the regular season leaves two feelings – it would not be surprising if the Warriors became NBA champions again, but it would not be surprising if they did not reach the NBA Finals.
Los Angeles Lakers Predictions
The Lakers had a successful trade, trading Russell Westbrook for D'Angelo Russell. After the NBA All-Star Weekend, the Lakers were one of the best teams in the league, thanks in large part to the dominant play of Anthony Davis.
Even though one of the Lakers' leaders is now 38 years old, James' experience can bring a lot to the team in key battles. This team has players who can create the game, which means that James does not have to be on the ball every possession, which allows him to rest and have more strength on defense.
Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves played brilliantly in the first game against the Grizzlies. The Lakers are dependent on all their players, as James alone will no longer lead the team to victories.
The first game against the Grizzlies showed that the team is capable of advancing to the next round. If it has to play the Warriors, there is a good chance that the playoffs will end there.
Minnesota Timberwolves Predictions
The Timberwolves had a very successful end to the regular season, which allowed them to make the jump to the playoffs, thanks in large part to the return of Karl-Anthony Towns from injury.
However, when looking at the playoffs, the Nuggets seem to be a much more talented team with more balance. We already saw in the first game that the Timberwolves have too little talent on offense and it will be very difficult to win the series and not just one game at a time.
The Timberwolves don't have many prospects in the playoffs this year, and the experiment with Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert hasn't worked out. Yes, the Frenchman brings value to the team, but at the same time they are not the force they were expected to be.
Not to forget the conflict between Rudy Gobert and Kyle Anderson, which shows that the atmosphere of the team itself is not the best.
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