September 22, 2021

NBA Playoffs Conference Semis Predictions

Jarael and Ryan continue their 2021 NBA Play-Off predictions with the Eastern and Western Conference Semifinals.

Western Conference

Suns (2) vs. Nuggets (3)

Jarael: Let’s be honest, the Suns beating the Lakers is not that surprising based on the injuries and the inconsistency LA played with the last few weeks of the season. Give them their props and respect this team for who they are. They play smart, have an efficient offense, and are led by one of the best point guards in NBA history. They will have a very hard time with the Joker, but I think if they continue to play with poise and at their own pace, we will see them in the Western Conference Finals. I am going with the Suns (4-1).

Ryan: Okay, I was wrong when I said the Suns would be worried about playing the defending champs in the first round. The Suns lived up to their name as they were absolutely red hot (ha). But now they must turn their attention to an MVP candidate Jokic and Nuggets. I am most excited about this series as I feel that these teams match up fairly well. The Nuggets biggest worry is their guard play without Jamal Murray. The key to the Nuggets victory will be Monte Morris continuing to play as well as he did against the Blazers. And the key to the Suns victory is DeAndre Ayton holding his own against Jokic. I give the slight edge to the. Nuggets (4-3). 

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Jazz (1) vs. Clippers (4)

Jarael: The Clippers manage to overcome Luka magic in another epic playoff showdown. Both Utah and the Clippers were tested in the first round, nothing easy. This series will be less about the superstars and more about role players making an impact, game to game. I like this matchup for Gobert as the Clippers have been running with a smaller lineup. Unfortunately, Gobert having a great offensive game doesn’t do much for the Jazz chances to overcome the dynamic duo of Leonard and George. I think this is a close series, I like how the Jazz will be able to space the floor more and I think their starting 5 is a bit more versatile than the Clippers. Analytics tell me the Clippers should still outperform the Jazz, so I am leaning Clippers. No way they have two 7-game series in a row. Clippers (4-2)

Ryan: Dang, I was so close to my big upset of the Mavs finally knocking out the Clippers. Someone give Luka some help!! Props to Kawhi for his offensive play to led the comeback and close out the series. In the two win-or-go-home games Kawhi averaged. 36.5 ppg, 8 rpg, 6 apg. and shot 70% from the field. He will need to continue his hot streak to take down the Jazz that scored 120 points in each of their wins in the first round against the Grizzlies. I think the Clippers will be able to slow down a hurt Donovan Mitchell to take the series. Clippers (4-2)

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Eastern Conference

76ers (1) vs. Hawks (5)

Jarael: This series will depend on the availability of Embiid. I think the Hawks team can compete offensively but if Philly makes them play defense, it is going to be a long series. The Sixers had an easy route to the second round playing a very inconsistent Wizards team. The Hawks had a competitive series but eventually overwhelmed the Knicks with their versatile offense. If Embiid is not healthy, I lean for this young Hawks team. I think Tre Young’s ability to control the offense and get his teammates involved is enough to make this series competitive. I am taking the Hawks (4-3).

Ryan: I wanted Julius Randle and the  Knicks to do well, but I am pretty sure Randle is appearing on milk cartons in NYC after that series. But at least Trae Young provided entertainment for a pretty boring series. But now the young dude goes against a tougher East Coast city in the 76ers. The 76ers easily handled the Wizards even without a fully healthy Embiid. This series could get interesting if Embiid is very limited playing, but I don’t see Trae Young being as effective against the 76ers. 76ers (4-2).

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Nets (2) vs. Bucks (3)

Jarael: I have two predictions for this series. One with my heart and one I placed on William Hill. The Bucks had an impressive sweep of the Heat but the Nets three headed monster is not comparable to an inefficient Heat team. If this Nets team didn’t have James Harden, I would lean Bucks 100% but the role Harden plays for this team is by far the most important piece for the Nets and it makes them truly unguardable. Harden and Joe Harris are the players who can have the most impact in terms of game changing momentum. If Jrue Holiday starts the series guarding Harden, I will feel good about the Bucks chances. We also need Middleton to be efficient and effective every game. I am going with my heart on this one. Bucks (4-2)

Ryan: Milwaukee has to be feeling great on the revenge tour of dominating the Miami Heat. But they better get over that feeling and focus on the most dangerous offensive team in the league. I feel like when I am watching the Nets I am watching someone play NBA 2K on rookie, it just doesn’t seem fair. I watched Joe Harris hit 4 straight wide-open 3s in a row because the Celtics couldn’t guard him as Irving, Durrant, and Harden were on the court. And suddenly Blake Griffin is back to his lob city days? Sorry Milwaukee but the Buck stops here. I respect the greatness of Giannis to give the Bucks one or two games. But this Nets team is too dangerous. Nets (4-2)

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Jarael and Ryan continue their 2021 NBA Play-Off predictions with the Eastern and Western Conference Semifinals.

Western Conference

Suns (2) vs. Nuggets (3)

Jarael: Let’s be honest, the Suns beating the Lakers is not that surprising based on the injuries and the inconsistency LA played with the last few weeks of the season. Give them their props and respect this team for who they are. They play smart, have an efficient offense, and are led by one of the best point guards in NBA history. They will have a very hard time with the Joker, but I think if they continue to play with poise and at their own pace, we will see them in the Western Conference Finals. I am going with the Suns (4-1).

Ryan: Okay, I was wrong when I said the Suns would be worried about playing the defending champs in the first round. The Suns lived up to their name as they were absolutely red hot (ha). But now they must turn their attention to an MVP candidate Jokic and Nuggets. I am most excited about this series as I feel that these teams match up fairly well. The Nuggets biggest worry is their guard play without Jamal Murray. The key to the Nuggets victory will be Monte Morris continuing to play as well as he did against the Blazers. And the key to the Suns victory is DeAndre Ayton holding his own against Jokic. I give the slight edge to the. Nuggets (4-3). 

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Jazz (1) vs. Clippers (4)

Jarael: The Clippers manage to overcome Luka magic in another epic playoff showdown. Both Utah and the Clippers were tested in the first round, nothing easy. This series will be less about the superstars and more about role players making an impact, game to game. I like this matchup for Gobert as the Clippers have been running with a smaller line up. Unfortunately, Gorbert having a great offensive game doesn’t do much for the Jazz chances to overcome the dynamic duo of Leonard and George. I think this is a close series, I like how the Jazz will be able to space the floor more and I think their starting 5 is a bit more versatile than the Clippers. Analytics tell me the Clippers should still outperform the Jazz, so I am leaning Clippers. No way they have two 7-game series in a row. Clippers (4-2)

Ryan: Dang, I was so close to my big upset of the Mavs finally knocking out the Clippers. Someone give Luka some help!! Props to Kawhi for his offensive play to led the come back and close out the series. In the two win or go home games Kawhi averaged. 36.5 ppg, 8 rpg, 6 apg. and shot 70% from the field. He will need to continue his hot streak to take down the  Jazz that scored 120 points in each of their wins in the first round against the Grizzlies. I think the Clippers will be able to slow down a hurt Donovan Mitchell to take the series. Clippers (4-2)

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Eastern Conference

76ers (1) vs. Hawks (5)

Jarael: This series will depend on the availability of Embiid. I think the Hawks team can compete offensively but if Philly makes them play defense, it is going to be a long series. The Sixers had an easy route to the second round playing a very inconsistent Wizards team. The Hawks had a competitive series but eventually overwhelmed the Knicks with their versatile offense. If Embiid is not healthy, I lean for this young Hawks team. I think Tre Young’s ability to control the offense and get his teammates involved is enough to make this series competitive. I am taking the Hawks (4-3).

Ryan: I wanted Julius Randle and the  Knicks to do so well but I am pretty sure Randle is appearing on milk cartons in NYC after that series. But at least Trae Young provided entertainment for a pretty boring series. But now the young dude goes against a tougher East Coast city in the 76ers. The 76ers easily handled the Wizards even without a fully healthy Emiid. This series could get interesting if Emiid is very limited playing, but I don’t see Trae Young being as effective against the 76ers. 76ers (4-2).

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Nets (2) vs. Bucks (3)

Jarael: I have two predictions for this series. One with my heart and one I placed on William Hill. The Bucks had an impressive sweep of the Heat but the Nets three headed monster is not comparable to an inefficient Heat team. If this Nets team didn’t have James Harden, I would lean Bucks 100% but the role Harden plays for this team is by far the most important piece for the Nets and it makes them truly unguardable. Harden and Joe Harris are the players who can have the most impact in terms of game changing momentum. If Jrue Holiday starts the series guarding Harden, I will feel good about the Bucks chances. We also need Middleton to be efficient and effective every game. I am going with my heart on this one. Bucks (4-2)

Ryan: Milwaukee has to be feeling great on the revenge tour of dominating the Miami Heat. But they better get over that feeling and focus on the most dangerous offensive team in the league. I feel like when I am watching the Nets I am watching someone play NBA 2K on rookie, it just doesn’t seem fair. I watched Joe Harris hit 4 straight wide-open 3s in a row because the Celtics couldn’t guard him as Irving, Durrant, and Harden were on the court. And suddenly Blake Griffin is back to his lob city days? Sorry Milwaukee but the Buck stops here. I respect the greatness of Giannis to give the Bucks one or two games. But this Nets team is too dangerous. Nets (4-2)

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Chaplin
Jarael is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but currently resides in Ankeny, Iowa with his wife and their two animals, Bill and Nala. Jarael graduated from Buena Vista University and received his masters in Communication from University of Northern Iowa. Jarael continues to attempt to impress his third cousin Lebron James as he attempts to become a 4-time Men’s basketball champion in the Des Moines metro area. If you have seen the movie Coming to America or lived through the 90’s, Jarael’s Halloween costumes will bring you joy. He can be found on Twitter @ThePrinceAkeem tweeting logical ideas and assisting NBA athletes on how they can perform better on a nightly basis.

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