With the first round of the NBA Playoffs coming close, it’s time to revisit our NBA Playoff predictions for 2021-22.
It was an unusual season in the NBA, with the Los Angeles Lakers struggling mightily and missing the playoffs. In the meantime, up-and-comers like the Memphis Grizzlies have made waves.
Check out our NBA playoff predictions below, including updates on the first-round action throughout the league and our projections for how things will progress moving forward.
NBA Playoff Predictions for the Eastern Conference
- Miami Heat (53-29)
- Boston Celtics (51-31)
- Milwaukee Bucks (51-31)
- Philadelphia 76ers (51-31)
- Toronto Raptors (48-34)
- Chicago Bulls (46-36)
- Brooklyn Nets (44-38)
- Atlanta Hawks (43-39)
Miami looked like a legitimate powerhouse with a five-game series win over an outmatched Atlanta Hawks team in Round 1. Jimmy Butler put on a show that has the Heat looking like the favorites in the Eastern Conference. Before missing Game 5 due to a minor knee injury, he averaged 30.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.8 steals.
Joel Embiid’s buzzer-beating three-pointer in overtime of Game 3 against the Raptors appeared to put the series out of reach for the Philadelphia 76ers. Surprisingly, Toronto won Game 4 at home before completely dominating the 76ers on the road in Game 5. To avoid an epic collapse, the Phillies traveled to Canada and won Game 6 by a 132-97, stopping the series. Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and James Harden combined for 80 points in the win.
The Boston Celtics have been on a tear lately regarding title contenders. The Celtics are 30-5 in their last 35 games, including a four-game sweep of Brooklyn. More than anything, it’s been about the team’s excellent defense, which is anchored by Marcus Smart, the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Just ask Kevin Durant, who is coming off his worst postseason performance ever. The Nets, on the other hand, are finished and may face some significant changes this summer.
In our Eastern Conference NBA Playoff projections, the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks were assumed to be fully healthy. This is no longer the case. In Milwaukee’s dreadful Game 2 home defeat to the Chicago Bulls, underrated winger Khris Middleton damaged his MCL. Despite this, the Bucks won the series 4-1 and appear to be firing on all cylinders as they prepare to face the Celtics in the conference semifinals. Middleton, unfortunately, has already been ruled out of the series.
NBA Playoff Predictions for the Western Conference
- Phoenix Suns (64-18)
- Memphis Grizzlies (56-26)
- Golden State Warriors (53-29)
- Dallas Mavericks (52-30)
- Utah Jazz (49-33)
- Denver Nuggets (48-34)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (46-36)
- New Orleans Pelicans (36-46)
Devin Booker is a basketball player. Devin Booker is a basketball player. More, Devin Booker is a basketball player. The Suns’ standout two-guard suffered a hamstring injury in Game 2 of this series against the New Orleans Pelicans. More than the NBA’s best team losing at home to a squad with 46 losses. Fortunately, Booker was able to return in time to help Phoenix defeat the Pelicans in Game 6. On the other hand, Chris Paul’s 14-for-14 shooting night helped the team win the series and advance to the conference semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks.
The Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 after advancing past the play-in competition in terms of upsets. Sadly, they have blasted out again in Game 2, with Karl-Anthony Towns struggling to make an impact. With Memphis leading 3-2 at home on Tuesday evening, the series returns to Minnesota for Game 6.
Whether Memphis or Minnesota advance to the conference playoffs, the Golden State Warriors will give them an unpleasant awakening. Thanks to Jordan Poole’s rise to popularity and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s return to full strength, the Warriors have become a force. They dominated the Denver Nuggets in their first three games against them. Even though the Nuggets avoided elimination in Game 4, the Warriors won the series-clinching game at home the next night.
The Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks enjoyed an up-and-down series that was one of the more entertaining first-round games. Dallas won the series in six games despite Luka Doncic missing the first three games due to injury. It now faces a challenging match against a Suns club that is fully healthy. Meanwhile, following yet another early playoff elimination, the Jazz is likely in for a summer of change.
Bracket projections for the NBA Playoffs: Matchups and Winners
The first round of the Eastern Conference
- Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks (over 8) (4-1)
- The Philadelphia 76ers have a four-point lead over the Toronto Raptors (4-2)
- The Milwaukee Bucks are favored by three points over the Chicago Bulls (4-1)
- The Boston Celtics will defeat the Brooklyn Nets by a score of 2 to 7. (4-0)
The first round of the Western Conference
- The Phoenix Suns are favored by one point over the New Orleans Pelicans (4-2)
- The Dallas Mavericks have a four-point lead against the Utah Jazz (4-2)
- The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves by a score of 2 to 7. (4-3)
- The Golden State Warriors defeated the Denver Nuggets by a score of 3 to 6. (4-1)
Predictions for the NBA Playoffs: Conference Semifinals
In the Eastern Conference,
- The Miami Heat have a one-point advantage over the Philadelphia 76ers (4-3)
- Milwaukee Bucks vs. 2. Boston Celtics (4-2)
Conference of the West
- Dallas Mavericks vs. 1. Phoenix Suns (4-2)
- The Golden State Warriors defeated the Memphis Grizzlies by a score of 3 to 2. (4-2)
Finals of the Conference
In the Eastern Conference,
- The Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat by a score of 2 to 1. (4-3)
Conference of the West
1. Phoenix Suns over 3. Golden State Warriors (4-3)
The Phoenix Suns will defeat the Boston Celtics 4-2 in the NBA Finals in 2022.