Welcome to the Playoffs


Mohamed Ahmed Soliman (Creative Commons)

Many Philadelphia fans are excited about the success of the Sixers in playoffs so far. The Sixers currently lead the series against the Boston Celtics 3-2.

Round One of the NBA Playoffs did not disappoint, to say the least. There were many unexpected endings to certain matchups, and there were many stars that excelled in the spotlight and some that even dimmed when they were needed the most. Throughout the first round, it became clear that some teams meant business while others were simply fluke teams.

Taking a look at the Eastern Conference, the first matchup was between the number one-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and the number eight-seeded Miami Heat. This round only lasted for a total of five games, where the Heat absolutely dismantled the Bucks. This could be attributed to the Bucks losing their former MVP player Giannis Antetokounmpo to a back contusion in Game One. He wouldn’t return until Game Four of the series, but it proved to be too late, as the Heat took the next two games when he came back from injury. The Milwaukee Bucks were officially eliminated. The two-seeded Boston Celtics then took on the seven-seeded Atlanta Hawks in their first-round matchup. Many believed the Celtics would sweep the series, but this proved to be untrue. The lower-seeded Hawks put up a dogfight, taking the Celtics to six games but coming up short against Boston’s deep rotation. The third-seeded Philadelphia 76ers took on the six-seeded Brooklyn Nets in their first-round matchup. The 76ers swept the Nets but lost Joel Embiid to an LCL Sprain in Game Three of the matchup. In the last series in the Eastern Conference, the four-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers took on the five-seeded New York Knicks. The Knicks ended up pulling off an upset over the Cavaliers, taking the series in five games.

Over in the Western Conference, the one-seeded Denver Nuggets took on the eight-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves. The Nuggets, led by two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, beat the Timberwolves in five games. The two-seeded Memphis Grizzlies took on the seven-seeded Los Angeles Lakers. Here, LeBron James and Anthony Davis shined, willing the Lakers past the Grizzlies in six games. The three-seeded Sacramento Kings took on the six-seeded Golden State Warriors for their first matchup. Here, the Warriors showed the entire league why seeding doesn’t matter, winning the series in seven games. This is why NBA fan Gabe Kerzmann has “the Golden State Warriors [winning] it all this year.” The last first-round matchup in the West was between the four-seeded Phoenix Suns and the five-seeded Los Angeles Clippers. Here, the Suns gave the Clippers a gentleman’s sweep, beating them in five games. This first round alone separated the contenders from the frauds.

After watching the first round, my NBA Finals preview prediction is a matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets. I’m not alone with this prediction, as avid 76ers fan Mario Santos has “the Sixers winning it all” as well, although some hometown bias may be thrown in there. In this NBA Finals matchup, I predict the 76ers to win the series in five games, revealing that Joel Embiid is the real MVP.