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NBA Playoffs First Round 2021

Welcome to Baller Central!!!! Basketball and Football articles created by Phil and Akeem

PLAYOFF TIME IS HERE!!!!!! Now that the dust has settled from the play in tournament it is time to find out who will be our NBA champion after a long and challenging year with injuries and covid restrictions. Let’s get right into these predictions!!!!!

East #1 Philadelphia 76ers vs #8 Washington Wizards

76ers swept Wizards in season series (3-0)

76ers swept Wizards in season series (3-0)

Analysis

Info: The rivalry with Russell Westbrook and Joel Embiid adds another chapter as the Wizards beat the Pacers to earn the 8th seed to play the first seeded 76ers in the first round. Russ and Beal will look to take down the process led by Ben and Joel. This will be a huge test for first year coach for the 76ers Doc Rivers as he hasn’t found much success after his 2008 championship with the Celtics. Also Russ will be playing with one of the biggest chips on as his ability to win continuously comes into question.


X-Factor: The Wizards X-Factor will be Bradley Beal. He isn‘t 100% healthy and we all know Russ will bring his usual triple double antics so it will be up to Bradley Beal to help Russ keep the Wizards afloat in unfamiliar territory. For the 76ers it’s MVP candidate Joel Embiid. It is one word for him. HEALTH.He stays healthy the 76ers can go far but without him they can get lose just as fast as they came in.



Prediction: 76ers in 6. We see the 76ers handling business in this one but we see Russ having some monster games to steal 2 games from Philly.



West #1 Utah Jazz vs #8 Memphis Grizzlies

The Jazz swept the Grizzlies in the regular season (3-0).

The Jazz swept the Grizzlies in the regular season (3-0).

Analysis

Info: First things first. CREDIT TO JA MORANT. This man put on a show to not only make the playoffs but beat the blazing hot Steph Curry which was the same team that torched them last week to claim the 8th seed spot. Now they get a date with the first seeded Utah Jazz that is coming off a disappointing last season giving up a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets. Plus a lot of people aren’t respecting them as a number one seed and rIghtfully so. They have to perform in the playoffs before gaining that respect.


X-Factor: The X Factor for the Grizzlies will always be one man JA MORANT. They will live by this man and they will die by this man. Jaren Jackson has been easing back into games but Ja Morant leads this team. For the Jazz it will be Donovan Mitchell. He had some time off to recover from an injury so he will need to be on his A Game to help the Jazz make a meaningful run.



Prediction: Jazz in 5. We see the Jazz having a short series here. Ja will be able to steal one game but the tough Grizzlies need more pieces to contend. Also Jaren Jackson isn’t fully healthy so that will be an issue as well. Ja Morant can’t do it all.


East #4 New York Knicks vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

Knicks swept the Hawks in the regular season (3-0).

Knicks swept the Hawks in the regular season (3-0).

Analysis

Info: The feel good story of the year the NEW YORK KNICKS led by most improved candidate Julius Randle has come back to the PLAYOFFS!!!!! They will be playing against the Hawks led by rising star Trae Young. The Knicks will be bringing in one of the best defenses in the league while you never know when Trae Young can go off plus pieces like Bogdan and Gallo has been performing well. Matchup to watch will be Julius Randle vs John Collins whoever does better their team will win the series.


X-Factor: The Knicks X Factor will be their leader Julius Randle. He earned an all star selection and helped lead the Knicks to the four seed. Now the question is how will he perform and lead the Knicks in one of the first playoff appearances in a while. The Hawks X Factor will be John Collins. The Knicks best player is Randle so Collins will have the duty in shutting him down. If Collins can slow down Randle then the Hawks fan upset the Knicks.



Prediction: Knicks in 7 We see this being an amazing series with a bunch of close games. With that being said the Hawks are close but not there just yet. The Knicks have way too much momentum to lose in the first round especially them having home court advantage.

West #4 Los Angeles Clippers vs #5 Dallas Mavericks

Mavs beat the Clippers 2 times out of 3 in the regular season.

Mavs beat the Clippers 2 times out of 3 in the regular season.

Analysis

Info: A rematch of last year’s playoff series as the Clippers once again play the Mavs. Last year’s series was great as Luka had some great moments and could’ve beat the Clippers. The Clippers will look to move on past their second round woes as they have a new coach in Ty Lue. The Mavs always have a shot when Luka Doncic is playing but the supporting cast will have to step up.


X-Factor: The X factor for the Mavs will be Kristaps Porzingis. His health will be key heading into this series. Luka is amazing but he needs his running mate if the Mavs want to go far plus his health has been a big problem recently. As for the Clippers it will be PG aka Paul George. He has had playoff struggles recently and will look to redeem himself.



Prediction: Clippers in 6 We will see some Luka Magic to get him two games but the downfall of Kristaps health will be a huge factor which will cause Luka do a lot of heavy lifting. Plus it isn’t the second round yet so the Clippers shouldn’t be worried.

East #3 Milwaukee Bucks vs #6 Miami Heat

Bucks won 2 out of its 3 regular season matchups with the Heat.

Bucks won 2 out of its 3 regular season matchups with the Heat.

Analysis

Info: We have another former playoff matchup!!!! last year the Heat went on an improbable run to the finals. During that run they went through the first seeded Bucks. So you know Milwaukee still has a sour taste in their mouth. This year is a bit different due to the Bucks adding talented guard Jrue Holiday and the Heat losing a key player in Jae Crowder who helped the defense. Milwaukee has underperformed in the playoffs despite great regular seasons and Miami is the defending Eastern Conference Champs so it will be a great series.


X-Factor: The X Factor for the Bucks is Jrue Holiday. He is one of the best two way guards in the league and always a DPOY candidate and with Miami being able to shoot well he will need to lock down Miami’s threes. For the Heat it is Bam Adebayo. We know Jimmy will bring the intensity and heart it’s up to Bam to bring the defense and lock down that paint so Giannis will be forced to pass or shoot.



Prediction: Bucks in 6. We have this being an excellent series. We see the Bucks exercising some serious demons as they try to bring their playoff reputation up. Jrue will be key to hold in Miami’s hot shooting from players like Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson who we haven’t heard from much this year.


West #3 Denver Nuggets vs #6 Portland Trailblazers

Nuggets swept the Blazers (4-0) in the regular season.

Nuggets swept the Blazers (4-0) in the regular season.

Analysis

Info: We have the MVP candidate in Nikola Jokic vs Clutch Time Dame Lillard in this matchup. The Nuggets lost G Jamal Murray to a torn ACL earlier in the season but still finished the regular season hot winning a majority of their games. As for the Blazers another underwhelming year where Dame and CJ do the work and everyone else underperforms or is injured.


X-Factor: The Denver PGs are their X factor. Not only do Austin Rivers, Facundo Campazzo, and Monte Morris have to replace the production of Jamal Murray but they have to guard Dame Dolla. As for the Blazers it’s the rest of the squad. We know Dame and CJ will bring it but everyone gotta show up.



Prediction: Nuggets in 6 This series will be a lot closer than everyone thinks due to just because Dame Lillard. The Nuggets will win but there will be a lot of close games. Maybe some coming to the last few possessions.


East #2 Brooklyn Nets Vs. #7 Boston Celtics

Nets swept Celtics (3-0) in regular season.

Nets swept Celtics (3-0) in regular season.

Analysis

Info: We have a division battle for this playoff matchup!!!!! The battle of the Atlantic division will be underway!! The Celtics have had an up and down season the whole year which ended on a down when their second J in Jaylen Brown got a wrist injury and was out rest of the year. As for the Nets they have been dealing with health issues all year with their big 3 while managing to be a number two seed.


X-Factor: X Factor for the Celtics is Robert Williams and Tristan Thompson. They need to protect the paint and make sure BK doesn’t get any second chances because they definitely won’t miss a second time around. For the Nets it will be Kyrie Irving going up against his former team. He has a favorable matchup against Kemba. He exposes it well enough Marcus Smart will have to switch and James Harden will get Kemba.



Prediction: Nets in 5 We have the Nets beating an undermanned and inconsistent Celtics squad and sending them to the gulag.


West #2 Phoenix Suns Vs. #7 Los Angeles Lakers

Suns won 2 out of 3 matchups against the Lakers in the regular season.

Suns won 2 out of 3 matchups against the Lakers in the regular season.

Analysis


Info: This is the worst possible scenario for the Suns retuning to playoffs. They have to play a Lakers team with LeBron and AD gaining momentum. CP3 has done so much for Phoenix this year but now he has an even bigger task in guiding them through the playoffs. As for the Lakers they have dealt with injury woes all year and finally have everyone back for the playoffs.


X-Factor: For the Suns it is DeAndre Ayton. We know the guard play will be great with Phoenix but can Ayton show up against Drummond and AD? As for the Lakers it is health. Lebron and AD stay healthy they should win and if not they will be sent home.



Prediction: Lakers in 6 With Lebron and AD back in the Lakers mix it is hard to see them lose in the first round. Sucks for CP and Book but those are the breaks.

Those are our predictions for the first round this year!!! Hope you guys enjoyed reading and enjoy watching the playoffs!!!! Did your team make the playoffs? Let us know. Hopefully we get a lot of fun series and a lot of great playoff moments.

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