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Here’s a quick blog post with my playoff picks in both sports. All 8 NHL first-round playoff series have each played one game thus far…but when you see my picks, you’ll realize that these picks were made LONG before the games started.
(1) MILWAUKEE BUCKS over (8) Detroit Pistons in 5 games
Giannis and the Bucks cruise over the suspect Pistons and I may be generous that it’s not a sweep.
(4) BOSTON CELTICS over (5) Indiana Pacers in 7 games
If Indiana had Victor Oladipo, this series might be tilted in their favor. Without him, they take Boston the distance but fall short yet again in the playoffs.
(2) TORONTO RAPTORS over (7) Orlando Magic in 6 games
I like the way Orlando has been playing lately but they’re a year or so away from pulling the playoff upset.
(3) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS over (6) Brooklyn Nets in 6 games
The Nets have been a very nice story this season but I’m hard-pressed seeing them win 4 of 7 against a stacked Philly squad.
(4) BOSTON CELTICS over (1) Milwaukee Bucks in 6 games
This is where experience means something. Milwaukee had a tremendous regular season but a healthy Kyrie Irving is the difference in this series. Boston pulls the upset.
(3) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS over (2) Toronto Raptors in 6 games
The Raptors won 3 of 4 in the regular season but that won’t matter IF, and only if, the 76ers are healthy. Both of these Eastern Conference series’ could go either way…but give me the upsets (and the more talented overall squads).
(3) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS over (4) Boston Celtics in 7 games
What a series this would be! Every game would be must-see TV. But I’m very bullish on the Sixers starting five of Simmons-Redick-Butler-Harris-Embiid. The Celtics take them the distance but fall short and the Sixers are back the Finals for the first time in nearly two decades.
(1) GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS over (8) Los Angeles Clippers in 4 games
The undermanned Clippers have been impressive just to get to this point…but they’re about to be steamrolled by the Warriors machine.
(4) HOUSTON ROCKETS over (5) Utah Jazz in 6 games
How did the Rockets slip to the 4 seed? Won’t matter for this series but these should be an entertaining six games vs. Utah.
(6) OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER over (3) Portland Trailblazers in 7 games
I have no idea who to pick in this series though I’m fairly confident it goes seven games either way.
(2) DENVER NUGGETS over (7) San Antonio Spurs in 7 games
The Spurs will win one in Denver and two at home…but it won’t be good enough to beat the favored Nuggets.
(1) GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS over (4) Houston Rockets in 7 games
The best series of last year’s playoffs is recreated in the second round. If the Warriors aren’t fully healthy, Houston has a good shot. But I simply don’t trust Mike D’Antoni’s methods deeper in the playoffs so GSW is the pick.
(2) DENVER NUGGETS over (6) Oklahoma City Thunder in 7 games
I don’t love either of these teams compared to Houston but give me the Nuggets to win another closely contested seven-game series over the Westbrook-George dynamic duo.
(1) GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS over (2) Denver Nuggets in 5 games
After two lengthy series’, I doubt Denver would have much left in the tank to take down the Warriors. Golden State cruises to its 5th straight NBA Finals.
(1) GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS over (3) Philadelphia 76ers in 5 games
MVP: Kevin Durant
The winner of just about every game in this series would score 130+…you would see the highest over-unders of any NBA Finals in history. But I just don’t see how this Warriors squad, if healthy, loses to any team in the league in a seven game series. I also will predict that this championship marks the end of the Warriors dynasty – Kevin Durant and Boogie Cousins leave and the Warriors don’t make the Finals again in Steve Kerr’s tenure.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING over Columbus Blue Jackets in 5 games
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS over Boston Bruins in 7 games
WASHINGTON CAPITALS over Carolina Hurricanes in 5 games
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS over New York Islanders in 6 games
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING over Toronto Maple Leafs in 5 games
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS over Washington Capitals in 6 games
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING over Pittsburgh Penguins in 6 games
CALGARY FLAMES over Colorado Avalanche in 6 games
LAS VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS over San Jose Sharks in 7 games
NASHVILLE PREDATORS over Dallas Stars in 6 games
WINNIPEG JETS over St. Louis Blues in 7 games
CALGARY FLAMES over Las Vegas Golden Knights in 5 games
WINNIPEG JETS over Nashville Predators in 6 games
WINNIPEG JETS over Calgary Flames in 7 games
STANLEY CUP FINALS
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING over Winnipeg Jets in 6 games
Conn Smythe Trophy (MVP): Nikita Kucherov
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