After nearly a five-month hiatus and eight seeding games inside an unprecedented Disney World bubble, the most unique NBA playoff season in history is set to commence. No fans. No home-court advantage. Nothing but basketball in its purest form, and this year’s title race feel wide open in history.
After the way Damian Lillard and the Blazers rolled through the eight seeding games and a play-in game vs. Memphis, they have been a hot upset pick against the top-seeded Lakers. But our expert unanimously disagree. Nobody picked the Blazers to get past LeBron James and Co., though they might just make things difficult.
But we do have some disagreement in other series. Below is how the bracket lays out, followed by our first-round expert picks for every series. To see their predictions for the entire postseason, click here.
EASTERN CONFERENCE No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 8 Orlando Magic No. 2 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 7 Brooklyn Nets No. 3 Boston Celtics vs. No. 6 Philadelphia 76ers No. 4 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 5 Miami Heat WESTERN CONFERENCE No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No. 8 Portland Trail Blazers No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 7 Dallas Mavericks No. 3 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 6 Utah Jazz No. 4 Houston Rockets vs. No. 5 Oklahoma City Thunder