This NBA season has seen some familiar faces return to the Playoff picture, along with some newcomers. The Bucks have become legitimate title contenders, new faces in the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic have made their first appearances in the Playoffs in years. I see these NBA Finals shaping up much differently than the last few years. Spoiler: I don’t think the Warriors make it. Yes, I said it.

Western Conference Finals:

Picking against the Warriors is almost sacrilegious in today’s NBA scene. The Rockets almost did it last year and I believe they pull off the upset in the conference semis. The Western Conference Finals will be between the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Rockets are stacked, and we all know it. James Harden is a scoring machine, Capela crashes the boards, and Chris Paul is a force on both sides of the ball. I do believe, however, that Portland has a chance in this series because Houston will be coming off a grueling series with the Warriors. The absence of Jusuf Nurkic will be evident, though, and Houston will win this series 4-2. Damian Lillard will be unable to carry this team.

Eastern Conference Finals:

Toronto will play Milwaukee for the Eastern Conference Finals. Milwaukee will escape the Celtics in a tight, 7-game series. Toronto will easily defeat the Philadelphia 76er’s, 4-2 to make the Conference finals.

I believe the Bucks will cruise by the Raptors. The most intriguing matchup in the East will be the conference semifinal matchup between the Celtics and Bucks. I just don’t trust the Raptors in the NBA Playoffs. Each year, they seem to be in the top of the standings but choke when it matters the most. While the Raptors have become accustomed to facing LeBron James in the Playoffs, they will be facing a new “King” in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Toronto’s curse will continue, and they will not make the Finals yet again, falling to the new king of the East: the Greek Freak himself.

The Bucks will defeat the Raptors 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Antetokounmpo will absolutely pop off.

The Finals:

Everyone rise and shout. The Finals will not feature the Cavaliers and Warriors. My prediction of Bucks vs Rockets could very well be wrong, but I believe the Warriors are vulnerable and Harden will do enough to knock them out. Houston has proven to be able to beat top teams, and Harden is playing even better than he did last year.

This series, featuring the two top MVP candidates, will be an absolute show. Ratings will be through the roof, and the winner of this series will prove who the real MVP truly is.

I believe that this series will go the distance with the Rockets winning in a tough, 7-game series. Both Antetokounmpo and Harden will average over 30 points each, and home court will be extremely valuable. Each of these games will be high scoring and exciting. Honestly, the fact that it’s not Cavs vs. Warriors will be exciting enough for me!

The Results:

With the Warriors not making the Finals, this will send the team into a frenzy. Rumors will swirl about the destiny of each of Golden State’s free agents. I believe Kevin Durant will go wherever Kyrie Irving is, and Klay Thompson will re-sign with the Warriors.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll see another 73-9 Golden State team like they were prior to the Durant era in The Bay. Either way, this off-season is gearing up to be the most exciting since last season!

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