The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Basketball / NBA Conference Semi Finals: Preview and Predictions

NBA Conference Semi Finals: Preview and Predictions

Previewing all four matchups!
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 22: Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo 34 brings the ball up court during Game Three of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls on April 22, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire NBA, Basketball Herren, USA APR 22 Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs - Bucks at Bulls Icon22042227

Conference Semi-Finals

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Eastern Conference

Heat vs Sixers

A week ago, this matchup had fans all over the NBA salivating. Fast forward a week, and now the 76ers have a significant issue with the injury to their star Joel Embiid. The Heat would have been a slight favorite with two completely healthy teams,  but now the Heat is prohibitive favorites in this series.

The loss of a big man like Embiid will make it much harder for the Sixers to spread out the Heat defense. Both teams like to grind it out, and with Embiid not being able to play, the pressure will fall squarely on James Harden’s shoulders.

Miami is a deep and talented team, which makes them hard to beat in a long series. There will be a reason to hope if the Sixers can find a way to split the opening pair of games in Miami. Embiid could return in this series, but I don’t think it’s a realistic option until game 3 or 4; it might be too late by then. Pick Heat in 5

Bucks vs Celtics

Middleton is out, but Giannis is still here! Giannis is the best player in the world. The Celtics swept the Nets and did it with outstanding defense. The loss of Middleton throws a definite wrench into the Bucks plan to repeat, but they are still a force to be reckoned with. Check out all of the latest gambling news!

The Celtics lack of size makes this a bad matchup for Boston, even with Middleton out for the Bucks. The Nets were tailor-made for the Celtics, and it looks like the Celtics are tailor-made for the Bucks. Pick Bucks in 5

Western Conference

Grizzlies vs Warriors

The third-seeded Warriors reached the second round of the postseason by winning their first-round matchup with the Nuggets in five games.

The Grizzlies had some trouble with the Timberwolves but prevailed in six hard-fought games.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala each have three Championship rings with the Warriors, and they will be facing a young athletic Grizzlies team who have not been on a stage this big.

The Grizzlies won three of the four regular-season matchups between the teams, but as we have seen in the past, that means little come playoff time.

The Warriors are an experienced team with an ability to shoot the long ball that is unmatched by almost any team in NBA history. I think all of the games will be tight and hard-fought, but the Warriors know how to win those close games in big spots. The Grizzlies will learn a lot from this series, and it will help them in the future, but the Warriors will take this. Pick Warriors in 6

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Dallas vs Phoenix

The Suns are a perfect 9-0 against the Mavericks in the last nine matchups, with the Mavericks’ previous win coming on Nov. 29, 2019, almost three years ago. So the Suns have owned the Mavericks.

In round one, Dallas executed a perfect defensive game plan against the Utah Jazz. The Mavericks ran the Jazz off the three-point line, daring the Jazz’s guards to beat them with floaters, short paint shots, and long twos. It worked. Can they come up with a plan to beat the Suns?

That same game plan would get the Mavs beat against the Suns because the Suns have mid-range weapons like Chris Paul and Devin Booker. Suns blooming center DeAndre Ayton could be the most significant factor in this series as I don’t think the Mavs will be able to defend him.

In the end, Luka will get his, but I don’t think the Mavs have enough weapons to counteract the Suns in this series. The Suns are too deep and versatile. Pick Suns in 5

 

 

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