If the NBA Playoffs started today 

An early look at the approaching NBA playoffs 


Courtesy of Gobierno CDMX

An NBA basketball

ERICK AGUILAR, Evergreen reporter

The Playoffs start in less than a month’s time, on April 15. In light of this, let us take a look at what the brackets would look like if the playoffs started today, as well as how I think they would play out. Note that we are avoiding the play in tournament.

In the East 

First Round

  • No.1 Celtics vs. No. 8 Hawks  

I love Trae Young. He is a phenomenal player and knows how to capitalize in big games. With that being said, he is not leading his team past the Celtics. 4-3 Celtics advance, this Hawks team will not go down without a fight. It is a shame this team is seeing one of the best teams in the competition so early, they will not be able to face them in the conference finals like last year. 

  • No.2 Bucks vs. No.7 Heat 

I will keep this short, Miami does not stand a chance. Bucks advance 4-1.

  • No.3 76ers vs. No.6 Knicks 

This Knicks team is the best we have seen in a while led by their three-headed scoring monster. That being said, it will not be enough. 4-0 76ers advance. 

  • No.4 Cavaliers vs. No.5 Nets 

If the Nets’ big three were still in Brooklyn, my prediction would be different. And I have made it very clear that I do believe in this Cavaliers team. I am going to say 4-2 Cavaliers advance.

Conference Semi-Finals 

  • No.1 Celtics vs. No.4 Cavaliers 

I really think this Cavaliers team is the playoff dark horse. They are playing so well and they are hungry. I have to be honest, if the Cavaliers met the Bucks or 76ers in this series it would not end well for them.

But I think they match up well with the Celtics. The Cavaliers have been playing excellent defense all season and the Celtics do not have a dominant big man to take over the game. Let us be real, the Celtics always seem to choke in the playoffs and this year will be no different. Jayson Tatum will be Jayson Tatum, but the rest of the team will be neutralized. 4-2 Cavaliers move on. 

  • No.2 Bucks vs. No.3 76ers 

This will be an incredible series to watch between teams in the Conference. Call it a hot take, but the winner of this series will win the finals. These teams match up so well with each other, both teams have great rosters and both have proven to perform well in big moments. 

But when it boils down to it, The Bucks have proven they have what it takes to go the distance and win a banner and that is the main reason I believe in them to move on. 4-2 Bucks to win it all. 

Conference Finals 

  • No.2 Bucks vs. No.4 Cavaliers 

Well, Cleveland, it was a good run, but it would take a lot to see you all beat the Bucks. They are simply the better team all around. Not much to be said about it. Bucks in 4. But the future for the Cavaliers is bright. 

In the West 

First Round 

  • No.1 Nuggets vs. No.8 Pelicans 

Even if Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum return for playoffs, they do not stand a chance. 4-1 Nuggets advance.

  • No.2 Grizzlies vs. No.7 Mavericks 

Now, this is going to be an insane matchup. It is a real shame that these two teams have to face each other so early. This series is going to game seven, however, I am really struggling to say who will advance. I really do not think Luka and Kyrie, with the limited bench help they have, will be able to best such a solid team like the Grizz, but that feels wrong to say. This Grizzlies team is hungry, they got eliminated 4-1 by the Jazz last year and they want to show the rest of the league that they are a serious contender. The Mavericks go home early despite them reaching the conference finals last year. This is the season the Grizz make a deep run, 4-3 they advance.

  • No.3 Kings vs. No.6 Timberwolves 

The Timberwolves could give the Kings a decent run for their money here, but this Kings team is playing too well with what they have. 4-2 Kings advance.

  • No.4 Suns vs. No.5 Clippers 

The Clippers have shown great positive momentum and I believe their depth will be enough to pressure the Suns. I can see this series going either way, but I think in the end KD will be KD. Suns advance 4-3. 

Conference Semi-Finals 

  • No.1 Nuggets vs. No.4 Suns 

This series would be incredible to watch. My first analysis is that although the Suns have more stars, the Nuggets have the better all-around team. Lucky for the Suns, DeAndre Ayton would play a HUGE part in guarding Jokic, leaving most of the scoring responsibility on Jamal Murray. 

The only way the Suns win this series is if they finish it fast. They have to win in five games or less. If the series goes into six or seven games the Nuggets will advance. But in the case of my bracket, I am going to have to pick the Suns. 

  • No.3 Kings vs. No.2 Grizzlies 

Sorry, Sac-town, it has been a good run, but the rosters stack up more in favor of the Grizzlies, they simply have more depth. Nothing else to it. Grizz in 5.

Conference Finals 

  • No.4 Suns vs. No.2 Grizzlies 

This matchup would be a great one, so many moving pieces, and I really do not know who walks away smiling. Realistically I can see either team winning, but my gut here is telling me to go Suns. 

The Finals 

Well, well, well, looks like we have a rematch of the 2021 Finals which happened unintentionally. I have said it once and I will say it again: The Bucks are going all the way this year. I could see the Suns winning this game but only if it goes to a game seven and assuming their big three is healthy. 

But let me be real, Giannis Antetokounmpo is getting his second ring this season.