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NBA Playoffs 2024 Preview

NBA Playoffs 2024 Preview. The Boston Celtics stand out in the Eastern Conference with a commanding lead of 14 wins more than the second-place team. Only three wins separate the remaining five teams. The Western Conference teams are closer together and more evenly spaced. Their top three teams have a one-win difference, and fourth to sixth place only has a two-win difference. Does that mean that the Celtics will win the Championship? Most people think so.

Eastern Conference

 No. 1 Boston Celtics

Boston waits to see if they take on the Bulls or the Heat.

 No. 2 New York Knicks vs. No. 7 Philadelphia 76ers (-130)

The Knicks lost Julius Randle to a shoulder injury but will see OG Anunoby return now that his elbow is healthy. When Anunoby was in the lineup, the Knicks went 20-3 this year – against Philly, they were 2-0. They’ll need Anunoby when they meet Joel Embiid and the 76ers, who are the favorites to win this series.

 No. 6 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks (-175)

The Pacers have improved enough to finally get into the playoffs after missing out the last few years. Now they have to win a playoff series, which they haven’t done since 2014. At least they beat the Bucks four of the five times they met during the regular season.

The Bucks had their lowest win percentage (49-33) since 2018. They fired their coach in January, but the new head coach, Doc Rivers, has not improved their record. Star player Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss at least a few games in this series, which might extend it a few games, but Milwaukee should still win. Giannis averaged 30.4 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists in the regular season.

 No. 5 Orlando Magic vs. No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers (-190)

One of these teams will finally end a drought of getting past the first round in the playoffs. Cleveland hasn’t won a series without LeBron James since 1993. The Magic haven’t won a playoff series since 2010.

The Magic have the No. 3 defense in the NBA, but the Cavs are better at shooting. When they played each other during the regular season, Cleveland outscored Orlando in three-pointers by an average of 15 points. Cleveland also has more experience in the playoffs, having lost to the Knicks in five games in the first round last season.

Western Conference

 No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder

At this point, the Thunder will play the Pelicans or the Kings. The Pelicans are 2-point favorites to win, with an over/under of 218.5.

 No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No. 2 Denver Nuggets (-310)

The Lakers won against the Pelicans and will play the Nuggets in the first round. Denver swept the Lakers in the regular season 3-0 and swept them in the conference finals last year. The Lakers are playing their best basketball right now, but they still haven’t figured out how to beat Denver. Aaron Gordon is successfully covering LeBron James, while Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are almost impossible to stop on offense. Keep your limits in, as lots of money could go to this series, especially player props.

 No. 3 Minnesota Timberwolves vs. No. 6 Phoenix Suns (-115)

In the last two years, the Timberwolves lost in the first round of the playoffs. They’re a better team this year, with 56 wins in the regular season. The Suns only have 49 wins, but that was when Bradley Beal missed 23 games and Devin Booker missed nine. They’re back in the lineup along with Kevin Durant, which is why they have a slight edge in odds. It’s still a guess how well they can do against the Timberwolves. Minnesota hopes for a deep run in the playoffs this year, but they must get past Durant and the Suns first. This might be the best series of the first round.

 No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 5 Dallas Mavericks (-115)

The Clippers might be seeded higher than the Mavericks, but they are entering the playoffs with injury issues. That’s not new for the Clippers, but it might keep them from advancing out of the first round this season. Hopefully, Kawhi Leonard can return from his knee injury to boost his team in time. 

Championship Odds

Boston Celtics                    +165

Denver Nuggets                 +300

Dallas Mavericks                +1500

Los Angeles Clippers           +1500

Milwaukee Bucks                +1500

Oklahoma City Thunder       +1600

Philadelphia 76ers              +1600

Minnesota Timberwolves      +1900

Phoenix Suns                    +1900

Los Angeles Lakers             +2900

New York Knicks                +3300

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