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  1. #1

    Cool Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    After going 3-1 with the Play-In Tournament picks, I'm ready for the real thing!

    Eastern Conference
    Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics

    The Celtics are the preeminent team this season, heads & shoulders ahead of everyone else. On paper they look like one of the all-time great teams: big, versatile, deep enough, & the best starting 5 in the league. Their weaknesses? Too reliant on the 3 point shot, & they've had great seasons in the past only to fall flat on their faces in the playoffs. However, that won't become a serious problem until at least the Eastern Conference Finals.

    The 2024 Heat sure ain't the 2023 Heat. They have a substandard offense that will be even crappier without Himmy Butler. Moreover the Celtics will be doubly motivated to avenge their embarrassing loss to the Heat in last year's playoffs. And the Heat do not have enough weapons to neutralize the Celtics' overwhelming advantages.
    Boston in 4

    Philadelphia Sixers @ New York Knicks

    Jalen Brunson had an All-Star caliber season with career highs in points & assists (28.7ppg & 6.7 apg), & clearly established himself as the best player on the team even before Julius Randle went down with a bum shoulder. Nobody picked the Knicks to finish 2nd in the East before the season, so credit is due to Brunson, despite injuries (to Mitchell, OG Anunoby as well). The Knicks are 2nd in points allowed, although that ranking is a little deceptive because of their slow play (19th in scoring). Also, they finished 15th in defensive FG%, partly because they don't have shot-blocking (29th). Coach Thibodeau doesn't really wear down his players by playing them too many minutes: no Knick averged over 35.5 mpg. And only 4 Knicks averaged over 30 mpg.

    The Sixers' excellent win-loss record with Embiid in the lineup isn't really relevant because Embiid is hobbled since his return from knee surgery. He can put up solid numbers, but he doesn't have the same power and explosiveness & he's not in top condition.

    After trading Harden, Tyrese Maxey seized the opportunity to become an All-Star for the first time, but an 75-80% Embiid plus young Maxey & a decent supporting cast isn't enough to beat a tough Knicks team lead by Brunson.

    New York in 6

    Indiana Pacers @ Milwaukee Bucks
    The Bucks have had an underwhelming season, but if Giannis Antetokounmpo didn't hurt his knee, they would have finished second in the East. Slipping to third seed isn't necessarily fatal, but reports indicate that Giannis will miss part of the first round. When he's back he will be less than 100%. And the Pacers have been a tough matchup even when the Bucks were at full strength. The Pacers won their series (4-1) & the Bucks needed a career high 64 points from Giannis to avoid being swept.

    Damon Lillard's scoring average went down by 8 points after joining the Bucks, but it's more concerning that his FG% dropped from 46.3 to 42.4. You'd think Lillard's shot selection & percentage would improve with the chance to play with better players. Worse yet, Lillard's decline on offense means adding Lillard & substracting Jrue Holiday means the Bucks' perimeter defense is absolute dogsh*t. Every guard saw a matchup vs the Bucks as a license to break their scoring records.

    Tyrese Haliburton has had a great season (20.1 ppg & 10.9 apg), but he took his game another level vs the Bucks (27.0 ppg, 11.0 apg) with great shooting splits (53.2/37.5/90.9). The Pacers are a craptactular defensive team (27th in points allowed, 30th in defensive FG%), but without Antetokounmpo, the Bucks won't be able to exploit the weak points in the Pacers' defense. Also the Bucks has had no answer to the Pacers' league leading offense (123.3 ppg). In their final matchup, despite healthy Antetokounmpo, Lillard & Middleton hitting 32 minutes, the Pacers beat the Bucks 142-130.

    Indiana in 6

    Orlando Magic @ Cleveland Cavaliers
    The Cavaliers tanked their final game vs the Hornets on purpose to drop into fourth, so the Basketball Gods will enact karmic punishment. The Cavaliers struggled vs the Knicks' physical game last year in the first round, and now they'll face the physical Magic who ranked 4th in the league in points allowed and 5th in steals. Paolo Banchero earned his first All-Star averaging 22.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, & 5.4 apg. 7 of the Magic players averaged 21 minutes and six of them are 25 or under. Meaning they lack playoff experience, but neither do most of the Cavaliers. Donovan Mitchell (26.6 ppg) has had some explosive games in the playoffs, but he's missed 27 games this year due to a knee injury & he hasn't looked like his old self ever since then.

    The Cavaliers are 6th in defensive FG%, and 7th in points allowed, but last year their defense was even better before they crumbled vs the Knicks. Unless they prove otherwise, there's no reason to believe in the Cavaliers in the playoffs. Despite that, I'll have to go with them. Begrudgingly.
    Cleveland in 6

  2. #2

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Western Conference
    New Orleans Pelicans @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    The Thunder have been much better this season than expected - they're an excellent defensive team (3rd in defensive FG%), quite unusual for a young team that hasn't developed a winning culture. Six players averaged at least 20 mpg, and each of them are 25 or under. The veteran, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, won't hit 26 until July & he's established himself as the legit MVP candidate who plays hard at both ends of the floor, leading the team in points (30.1 ppg) assists (6.2) and steals (2.0). Other than a lack of experience, the OKC Thunder are weak on the boards (27th). They will struggle in a playoff series vs a strong & physical team, but their youth & athleticism will offset that to some extent.

    The Pelicans lost to the Lakers but snuck into the playoffs by beating the Kings 105-98. At 49-33, the Pelicans are one of the winningest 8th seeded teams of all-time, but they won't have Zion for at least a few more weeks after he hurt his leg. The scrappy Pellies will pose a good challenge for the inexperienced Thunder.
    Oklahoma City in 6

    LA Lakers @ Denver Nuggets
    The Nuggets started the season 8-1 & never lost more than 3 in a row all year long. They were consistently at or near the top of the West Conference standings before finishing in a tie with OKC Thunder & ended up in 2nd due to tiebreaks. Jokic had another MVP caliber season, & Murray played at an All-Star level (21.2 ppg, 6.5 apg) despite missing 23 games. MP Jr, Gordon, KCP round out a tough starting lineup with an excellent combination of size, speed, athleticism & shooting. They don't have great depth, but they won the 2023 title w/o great depth, and in the playoffs, depth isn't as important as it is in the regular season, as long there are no major injuries & serious foul trouble.

    The Nuggets OWN the Lakers: swept them in the 2023 Western Conference Finals, & 3-0 in the regular season. Lakers shipped off their scapegoats (Westbrook & Coach Vogel), yet they're still stuck in mediocrity, failing to finish in the top six in the west. Despite finishing second in FG%, 6th in scoring, & 8th in 3 point FG%, the Lakers finished 8th out of 15 teams in the West Conference standings. They ranked 17th in defensive FG%, 23rd in points allowed. We haven't seen anything from the Nuggets or the Lakers to indicate the Lakers can beat the Nuggets 4 out of 7 games.

    Denver in 5

    Phoenix Suns @ Minnesota Timberwolves

    The Wolves played at an elite level consistently, led the league in both points allowed and defensive FG%. Many experts laugh at the twin-tower pairing of Gobert with Karl Anthony Towns, but size always matters in basketball, and still does today. The Nuggets bludgeon opponents with their size, & the Wolves' roster was built by the same executive (Tim Connelly) who built the Nuggets' roster before moving to Minnesota. Anthony Edwards is in the MVP conversation. Towns is second option on offense, & he played well before a knee injury. Looked rusty upon his return in a 125-106 loss to the Suns on April 14th. The Wolves are just 18th in scoring, so they need Towns back at full strength.
    The Suns is KD's last chance at forming a Superteam, after Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets. Now Durant is going to battle with Devin Booker & Bradley Beal. Despite that star power, the Suns needed a tiebreaker to finish ahead of New Orleans to avoid the Play-in Tournament. However, I like their chances vs the Wolves due to their pull-up jumper vs the Wolves' drop coverage.
    Phoenix in 6

    Dallas Mavericks @ LA Clippers
    Doncic had another MVP caliber season, & his sidekick Irving not only play better than last year, he was available for more games & meshed much better with Luka. Doncic has destroyed the Clippers in 2 series (31 ppg, 9.8 rpg, & 8.7 apg in 20202; 35.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg, & 10.3 apg in 2021). The Mavericks leveled up with two mid-season acquisitions in Gafford & PJ Washington.

    Sugar K Leonard is a 2-time Finals MVP, & if he's healthy & dominant, the Clippers can beat anyone in the playoffs. But He hasn't played all of the games in a playoff series his team has won since the first round of 2021 playoffs. Westbrook's energy & unselfishness is crucial for the Clippers: He started as the team's PG in the beginning of this season before graciously volunteering to accept a reserve role after the Clippers acquired Harden. Beyond Leonard & Westbrook, there's not much reason to trust the Clippers in a playoff series. Harden is the most overrated MVP ever based on his playoff collapses & his propensity for more turnovers than FG made in playoff games. George called himself Playoff P, but his playoff resume is full of chokery (42.0 FG% in 9 of 18 playoff series).

    If Leonard goes into Cyborg mode, he will offset Harden & Playoff P. But if we wish in one hand & sh*t in the other hand, which fills up faster first?
    Dallas in 6

  3. #3
    NBA lottery pick dankok8's Avatar
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    Oct 2010

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    I have the same picks as you except I got Sixers in 6. Less confident in that after Game 1 (lol) but still sticking with it.

  4. #4
    The Renaissance man bladefd's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Galaxy Far Far Away

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Good picks!

    I think Twolves will beat Suns. And Clippers over Mavs, especially if Kawhi returns at some point.

  5. #5
    Very good NBA starter elementally morale's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Nice work on the writeup.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Thanks, guys

    Wolves-Nuggets coming right up!

  7. #7
    ... on a leash ArbitraryWater's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    I walk a higher path, son

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Those are some damn good picks

  8. #8

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Minnesota Timberwolves @ Denver Nuggets

    If Gobert & Towns dominate the paint, & Edwards continues his ascension, they can beat the Nuggets.

    The Timberwolves improved on defense from last year (first in defensive FG% at 45% and points allowed at 106.5 ppg), better than 11th and 18th.

    The Timberwolves are the product of their President of BB operations, Connelly, who traded for Gobert last season. He understands that size still matter in the NBA, despite stat gurus whose dogmatic beliefs in small ball & high variance threes. The Wolves finished 23rd in the league in threes attempted, for what it's worth.

    At first I was skeptical of the Wolves, not because of their size or lack of three point shooting, but cuz of their low IQ play in clutch situations. PG Conley in his first year has settled down the team, and sped up the maturation process of the young guys, especially Edwards being on the verge of MVP considerations.

    But the Nuggets will win because Jokic is putting up Prime Wilt numbers:

    Chamberlain in 67 playoffs: 29.1 ppg, 21.7 rpg, 9 apg, at 57.9 FG%

    Joker in 24 playoffs: 28.2 ppg, 16.2 rpg, 9.8 apg, at 59.1 FG%

    No small sample size cuz the Joker averaged 30 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 9.5 apg, and 54.8 FG% last year playoffs. The Joker is the perfect combination of Bird's sweet shooting, floor game, and hard nosed rebounding plus McHale's excellent footwork in the post.

    Jamal Murray wasn't that great during the Nuggets' gentleman's sweep of the Lakers (23.6 ppg at 40 FG%), but he hit the clutch shots in Game 2 and Game 5. The rest of the roster is very well-balanced.

    This should be a great classic old-school slugfest where both teams attack the paint. Joker is the difference - by the way he distorts opposing defenses that struggle with his ability to score at high efficiency & pass with extreme accuracy.

    Denver in 6

  9. #9

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Indiana Pacers @ New York Knicks

    If the Pacers' fastbreak overpowers the Knicks' methodical & physical style, they can win this series. They led the NBA in scoring (123.3ppg) and FG% (50.7). Although the Pacers don't really play defense, their fast pace & efficient offense already puts a lot of pressure on opposing teams.

    However, because Jalen Brunson will be the best player in this series, the Knicks will win. The Brunson Burner annihilated the Sixers in the first round (35.3 ppg). The last time a Knicks hit those heights was Bernard King in the early 80s!

    After 20 years of mismanagement and 7 years of losing, Leon Rose took over in 2020 and the Knicks made it back to the playoffs 3 of the last 4 years. They are no longer trying to build a superteam or tank to the bottom.

    Now they're a pack of ferocious wild dogs who value every possession. Perfect for any old-school fan of basketball. The Pacers also avoided those two methods to winning, but they are neither as gritty nor as defensive minded as the Knicks.

    New York in 6

  10. #10
    Lol RRR3's Avatar
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    Jul 2011

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Bro is obsessed with picking a winner in 6

  11. #11

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Quote Originally Posted by RRR3 View Post
    Bro is obsessed with picking a winner in 6
    Then you're gonna hate the rest of my picks

  12. #12

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Dallas Mavericks @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    If Shai Gilgeous Alexander outplays Doncic as the best player in the series, & his teammates steps up, they can win this series. He averaged 27.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, and 5.0 apg as the OKC Thunder swept the hapless Pelicans.

    The rest of the cast is quite talented: Jalen Williams averaged 21.3 ppg vs the Pelicans, while shooting better than Gilgeous Alexander (52.9%/38.9%/75.0%). Holmgren didn't do anything spectacular except average 2.8 blocks per game vs the Pellies. Giddey is another box score stuffer, and Dort is a tank of a defender. But the OKC Thunder's weakness is a lack of size (27th in rebounds). Their athleticism & energy is great, but if your team can match that, you can grind them down.

    Because the Mavericks have the Doncic/Irving dynamoic duo, & their midseason acquisitions Gafford & PJ Washington brings size & defense, they will win this series. Doncic shot poorly but nearly averaged a triple double (29.8 ppg, 9.5 apg, 8.8 rpg). When Doncic struggled vs the Clippers' defense, Irving stepped up (26.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.7 apg) at scintillating percentages (51.4%/44.9%/85.2%). Even without Kleber, the Mavericks have enough size & depth to overpower the Thunder.

    The key to this series will be turnovers. OKC Thunder forced the most turnovers this season & committed the fewest. That combination led to an extra 5.7 points per game off turnovers, easily the highest margin in the league. And they almost doubled that in their destruction of the Pelicans, forcing 19% of the Pellies' possessions into turnovers, leading to 19.8 points off TOs. However, the Mavericks had the second highest advantage in points off turnovers. With Doncic on the roster, they've finished with a top 5 lowest turnover rate in the last 5 seasons.

    Dallas in 6

  13. #13

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Dammit, 2-2 in the semis.

    Indiana Pacers @ Boston Celtics

    If Haliburton controls the pace & the Pacers score 115 to 120 ppg at efficient shooting, they can win this series. The Pacers annihilated the Knicks in Game 7, shooting 67.1% FG with 76.3% FG in the first half. Haliburton led his team in scoring & assists (21.3 ppg & 7.0 apg). Siakam has been inconsistent in the playoffs, scoring between 12 to 37 points. He won't outplay Jason Tatum, but Siakam must offset him somewhat.

    However, because the Celtics are too talented, too big for the Pacers, they will win. Holiday, Derrick White, and Jaylen Brown can take turns in controlling Haliburton, use their size & quickness to cut off angles & contest his shots.

    Porzingis has missed the Celtics' last 6 games with a strained calf, but they're counting on his return in this series. So far in the playoffs, Porzingis hasn't matched his regular season output, but he will pose matchup problems on both sides of the floor.

    The Celtics should be lauded for making the Eastern Conference finals six times in the last 8 years. But until and unless they win a title, they'll be no better than the 1994-2000 Indiana Pacers who made the ECF 5 times and the NBA Finals once without winning the championship.

    Celtics should seize this opportunity - they have had a easy path by facing the injury depleted Miami Heat, the injury depleted Cleveland Cavaliers, and now the young Indiana Pacers who are neither physical nor defensive-minded.

    Boston in 6

  14. #14
    XXL Im Still Ballin's Avatar
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    Jan 2014

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

    Good call on Dallas in the WCSF. I have the same ECF prediction. Interested to see your WCF pick prior to game one tonight.

  15. #15
    wet brain highwhey's Avatar
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    Apr 2008

    Default Re: Gotterdammerung's 2024 NBA Playoffs Picks!

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