By: Monte Perez
The NBA Bubble games have been hard-fought and exciting. The post-season will start Monday, August, 17th, 2020. The level of intensity should be off the charts.
#1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. #8 Orlando Magic:
The Bucks were No.1 in almost every category in the NBA. They finished first in point differential, rebounds, and defense.
The Bucks are led by Giannis Antetokounmpo. He averaged 29.5 points, 5.6 assists, and 13.6 rebounds per game. Khris Middleton was second in scoring, averaging 20.9 points per contest.
The Orlando Magic finished 8th for a reason. Other than, Nikola Vucevic, there is no one on the Magic’s roster that scares opposing coaches or defenses. Vucevic is a legitimate all-star. He averaged 19.6 points, 3.6 assists and 10.9 rebounds per game.
The Bucks cruise to the 2nd round.
They sweep the magic, 4 games to 0.
#2 Toronto Raptors vs. #7 Brooklyn Nets:
The Raptors have not missed a beat since Kawhi Leonard left for the Los Angeles Clippers. Toronto finished 2nd in overall defense during the regular season. Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, and Serge Ibaka all average over 15 points per 48 minutes. The Raptors can win in a low scoring game or fast-paced contest.
The Nets are playing without Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, and DeAndre Jordan. They play hard, smart, and they are feisty. Jacque Vaughn has done a tremendous job of getting his team prepared to play. Chris Lavert has been the best player for Brooklyn since they arrived in Orlando. He is averaging 18 points and 4 rebounds and 4 assists on the season.
Toronto usually plays harder than their opponents. That will not be the case in this series. The Nets will win 1 game, but the Raptors have too much talent.
Toronto wins 4 games to 1.
#3 Boston Celtics vs. #6 Philadelphia 76ers:
Boston could be the best-coached team in the NBA. Brad Stevens does a tremendous job of preparing his team and making sure they know their roles. Jayson Tatum is the next super-star to play for the Celtics. Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, and Tatum all average over 17 points per contest.
Joel Embiid should average 30 points and 15 rebounds in this series. But it will not be enough. Losing Ben Simmons for the season is too big of a loss to overcome.
Celtics win in 5 games.
#4 Indiana Pacers vs. #5 Miami Heat:
The Heat have surprised the entire NBA world. Jimmy Butler has finally become a leader on and off the court. Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson have been consistent contributors. Both are averaging 13.5 points per game. Robinson finished 2nd in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage. Bam Adebayo could win the Most Improved Player Award. Goran Dragic averages 16 points a game off the bench.
T.J. Warren has been one of the best players in the bubble for the Pacers. Malcolm Brogdon is averaging 16 points, 7 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game. If Victor Oladipo can score 17 or more in this series, the Pacers have a chance Will pacers Center Domantas Sabonis play in the series. The Pacers have not ruled him out from playing, but he’s not even in Orlando. He is still rehabbing his injured foot.
With Sabonis in the lineup, I would give the edge to the Pacers. Without him, take the Heat.
Miami wins in 6 games.
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