Student Predictions for the NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are back! After a year of the pandemic bubble and a year with limited fans, the NBA playoffs kicked off this past month on Tuesday, April 12 in full swing. No more mask mandates, no more social distancing. Just exciting, intense playoff basketball. 

Not only did the NBA playoffs return in full swing, but also returned with the second-ever NBA Play-In Tournament. This new addition to the NBA playoffs was introduced during the NBA COVID-19 hiatus in 2020 and was first put into use last year during the playoffs. 

The NBA Play-In Tournament takes place before the first round of the playoffs and decides the last four teams that will make it into the playoffs. The NBA Play-In Tournament gives teams a chance to fight and earn their spot in the playoffs. This year in the NBA Play-In Tournament the Hawks, Nets, Timberwolves and Pelicans all earned spots in the playoffs.

With the first and second round over, the field is down to four teams. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat are taking on the Boston Celtics and in the Western Conference Finals, the Dallas Mavericks are taking on the Golden State Warriors. These teams will fight for a spot in the NBA finals to decide whose name will go down in history. Many Harvard-Westlake students have been following the playoffs very closely and have made a prediction on who they think will win the NBA championship. 

“I think we’re going to see the Celtics and Warriors in this year’s finals with Boston finally getting number 18,” lifelong fan Ryder Katz ‘25 said. Both of these teams sit above the rest in their respective conferences and I don’t see anyone stopping them. The Celtics role players have complemented their stars perfectly and the Warriors are once again looking like the best in the west.” 

Although the Celtics got off to a rough start this season, they have really picked it up lately behind their star players, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. As Katz said, the role players for the Celtics have been the difference. They have gotten key contributions from role guys such as Al Horford, Grant Williams and Marcus Smart. I definitely would not be surprised if the Celtics went on to win the NBA finals this year.

“I think it will be the Heat in the finals against the Warriors with the Warriors taking home the finals,” NBA enthusiast Alex Nickoll ‘25 said.

The Warriors have been up and down all season as they have had to deal with injuries to many key guys, but now that they are completely healthy, with the return of their shooting guard Klay Thompson, they are starting to look like the Warriors we all know and love from four years ago. Led by their veteran stars, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors have been cruising through the NBA playoffs taking down the Denver Nuggets and the Memphis Grizzlies. Personally, I do not see anyone stopping them from returning to their glory.

The final four teams left in the NBA playoffs are all good picks to win it all and these next games will come down to the wire. The team that will propel themselves to victory will have to show their heart, determination and desire in order to lift the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in June.