2024 NBA playoffs: Predictions, professional picks for each and each 2nd-spherical sequence with Nuggets going by complex test

The first spherical of the 2024 NBA playoffs is within the books place for one sequence: Orlando is at Cleveland for Sport 7 on Sunday, with the winner earning the determined pleasure of going by the Celtics within the convention semis. So far, now we salvage had two seeding upsets, with the No. 5 Mavericks laying aside the No. 4 Clippers and the No. 6 Pacers casting off the No. 3 Bucks. No. 5 Orlando would perhaps be the third to erase some chalk.

Transferring forward, these 2nd-spherical sequence, because the children would say, gape love fire. Minnesota vs. Denver kicks off 2nd-spherical motion Saturday night, and I’m here to articulate you the Timberwolves are for staunch with the our bodies to match up with Nikola Jokic and the strain perimeter protection to make existence complex on Jamal Murray.

The 2nd West semifinal is No. 5 Dallas vs. No. 1 Oklahoma City. That sequence speaks for itself. 

In the East, now we salvage a throwback to the Reggie Miller/Patrick Ewing wars of the 90s with the No. 2 Knicks taking on the No. 6 Pacers. Under, our consultants salvage weighed in with their predictions for each and each of the three sequence that we know of to this point. After we discover who’s playing Boston, those picks will seemingly be along at the moment after.

Nuggets vs. Timberwolves

Botkin: Nuggets in 6. Right here is tight. Minnesota can match up with Jokic without having to destroy Gobert on him, leaving the seemingly DPOY as a roving rim protector, and the Wolves’ collective ball strain is up to the assignment of moderately now not easy Jamal Murray and Denver’s two-man motion. However within the finish, the Nuggets know precisely where to skedaddle for high-leverage buckets. It won them end games in opposition to the Lakers, and it would perhaps take hang of them end games in opposition to Minnesota.

Herbert: Nuggets in 7. Minnesota’s first-spherical sequence was extra impressive, and it has already confirmed it has the personnel to make the defending champs unlucky. If this sequence is as tight as I imagine it would perhaps be, despite the proven truth that, it makes sense to roll with the group of workers that executes better in crunch time. (I’m assuming Jamal Murray is equipped and productive here; if now not, uh-oh.)

Maloney: Nuggets in 7. I in any case wish to confess that these teams’ respective performances within the dear spherical salvage made me a little bit much less assured on this prediction, but I produce now not are desirous to overreact to those sequence. I’ve expected the Nuggets to come out of the West all season lengthy, and while the Wolves will give them a staunch scenario, one group of workers has Nikola Jokic and the opposite would now not.

Quinn: Nuggets in 7. I in any case struggled with this one, severely with Jamal Murray hobbled. No protection has extra our bodies to throw at Murray or Nikola Jokic. Anthony Edwards is peaking into superstardom on the splendid time. Minnesota’s bench is a lot better than Denver’s. The Timberwolves would perhaps maybe very smartly take hang of this sequence. I come what might maybe when Denver by the slimmest of margins. The Nuggets salvage dwelling-courtroom profit. They salvage basically the most easy player on this planet. Aaron Gordon and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can give Edwards powerful extra anxiety than any Sun did, and Denver’s at-the-diploma protection on rob-on-rolls is going to pressure the ball out of his fingers extra. I just appropriate apprehension that Minnesota is just a few aspects of offense short on this matchup, but man, it’d skedaddle either manner.

Ward-Henninger: Nuggets in 6. I gain your total the the reason why the Wolves will give the defending champions problems — familiarity, size/size and an absolute killer in Anthony Edwards. I just appropriate cannot gain there, given that I’ve watched the Nuggets eviscerate opponent after opponent during crunch time throughout the last two years. Denver had a plus-41(!) accumulate ranking within the clutch in their opening-spherical sequence take hang of over the Lakers, and it utterly backs up the come during test. When it comes the total manner down to end games, which this sequence seemingly will, or now not it would perhaps be Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray in opposition to Anthony Edwards. As colossal as Ant has been, I do know who I’m taking 10 times out of 10 in that scenario — or on this case, four out of six.

Wimbish: Timberwolves in 7. The Timberwolves gave the Nuggets some problems within the dear spherical last year, and they split their long-established=season matchups with each and each facet winning two games. I comprehend or now not it is wild to skedaddle in opposition to Denver and Nikola Jokic, but Minnesota regarded far extra dominant than I expected within the dear spherical. Granted the Suns had zero depth, but the combo of size, athleticism, scoring and oh yeah, Anthony Edwards, legitimately makes me mediate this group of workers can dethrone Denver.

Knicks vs. Pacers

Botkin: Knicks in 6. Contemporary York owns the offensive glass and Jalen Brunson has a tall sequence in opposition to a comfortable Indiana protection. With Contemporary York’s rim safety, Indiana cannot make sufficient 3s to set up up with what I mediate is going to be a tall sequence from the Knicks’ shooters.

Herbert: Knicks in 5. I mediate the Sixers sequence ready Contemporary York smartly defensively, and I’m insecure concerning the Pacers on the glass. It is means that Tyrese Haliburton goes into his early season supernova mode and makes this prediction gape silly, but I’m now not pleased that Indiana is sturdy sufficient on protection to articulate the Knicks’ over-reliance on Jalen Brunson.

Maloney: Knicks in 6. What a incompatibility of kinds here. It ought to be bright to gape if the Knicks can grind down the Pacers and set up them within the half of courtroom. After all I belief Jalen Brunson, the Knicks’ protection and the Madison Square Backyard crowd bigger than any of the Pacers’ advantages.

Quinn: Knicks in 4. What an absolute nightmare matchup for the Pacers. They horrid 26th in defensive rebounding. The Knicks horrid 1st in offensive rebounding. No group of workers enables extra paint aspects than Indiana. Their most effective assist-courtroom defender is T.J. McConnell, and sure, he’ll anxiety Jalen Brunson with corpulent-courtroom strain, but the Knicks need to now not the Bucks. This is now not an archaic group of workers that you just would perhaps place on down with drag and strain. It is the reverse. the Knicks seek info from extra stamina out of their most effective gamers than every other group of workers. In a pure wrestle of execution, the Knicks are far better than the Pacers.

Ward-Henninger: Knicks in 5. This matchup is in any case “Opposite Day,” with the Pacers playing at breakneck drag and the Knicks ending with the slowest drag within the league throughout the long-established season. To me, the Knicks will salvage the next time getting the Pacers to acquiesce to their style than vice versa, and that’s a recipe for ache for Indiana. Jalen Brunson will relentlessly hunt Tyrese Haliburton and the Knicks will slay the Pacers on the boards — Contemporary York was first within the league in offensive rebounding, while Indiana was 26th in defensive rebounding. The Pacers are desirous to spread you out and gain you scrambling, but the Knicks are so disciplined and titillating to present a pair of defensive efforts that moderately just a few those easy aspects Indiana needs will seemingly be erased. The Pacers are a nice legend, but the Knicks know precisely who they are and salvage accomplished brilliantly all season, even though their rotation is paper-skinny.

Wimbish: Knicks in 6. Right here is going to be an appealing matchup up differing kinds. The Pacers had the 2nd-most effective offense all season, playing at a breakneck drag and dizzying their opponents with how rapid and efficiently they would maybe ranking the ball. The Knicks play on the lowest drag, but place on an opponent down over the course of the sport, with the No. 9 protection. It is actually water and oil combining here, but I skedaddle in conjunction with Jalen Brunson and the Knicks to outlast Indiana. When the Pacers are on, they’re cooking, but after they’re now not hitting their images and struggling to defend, or now not it is miles a rough survey.

Roar vs. Mavericks

Botkin: Roar in 7. I’m leaning in opposition to OKC’s protection on this one and I mediate the Roar salvage the coaching edge if an adjustment or two ends up being the adaptation. However we’re talking about two elegant identical teams with taking pictures around two elite one-on-one gamers in Luka Doncic/Kyrie Irving and Shai-Gilgeous Alexander/Jalen Williams. This appears to be love a hell of a chain on paper. Flip your proverbial coin.

Herbert: Roar in 7. I’m shrugging my shoulders as I form this, and that’s a correct thing: This sequence ought to be awesome. It would perhaps maybe salvage to perhaps come the total manner down to whose map gamers shoot better, but I’ll take OKC because of I love its 5-out configuration bigger than Dallas’ and I belief Price Daigneault’s ability to remedy problems.

Maloney: Roar in 6. This has been the hardest rob for me to make, and I’m hoping the sequence ends up reflecting that. Right here’s why I’m siding with the Roar: they’ve the personnel to as a minimum make existence complex on Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving and the Mavericks produce now not salvage the personnel to punish the Roar’s lack of size.

Quinn: Roar in 7. I’m looking ahead to a chain equal to the one the Mavericks and Clippers just appropriate performed. A ton of relieve thrown at basically the most easy scorers on each and each facet, and moderately just a few questionable shooters left birth. We salvage never seen these Dallas facilities play in a correct five-out matchup, and the Roar are going to stretch them far from the rim all sequence. I lean Oklahoma City because of I belief their worst shooters bigger than I belief Dallas’, and because of I mediate Oklahoma City is a little bit better-positioned to defend straight up.

Ward-Henninger: Roar in 7. It would perhaps maybe salvage to be since the Pelicans had been hobbled, but I cannot gain over how colossal OKC regarded within the dear spherical. The utterly knock on them — the utterly REAL knock — is that they are younger and inexperienced. Successfully, out of doorways of Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, so are the Mavericks. The Roar had been third in offense this season and fourth in protection. They can play lickety-split or slack. They can play tall or tiny. Chet Holmgren is the closing rim-retaining antidote for any penetration from the Mavericks’ dynamic backcourt. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a cheat code for instantaneous offense. I just appropriate produce now not gape many weaknesses for OKC, so this might maybe perhaps maybe basically come the total manner down to the particular person abilities of Irving and Doncic ripping out their hearts. Right here is a bet that can utterly happen in three out of the seven games, nonetheless or now not it is miles a total toss-up.

Wimbish: Roar in 7. Right here is going to be basically the most animated 2nd-spherical matchup. The narratives, younger stars and MVP debates by myself will provide so many talking aspects. The staunch basketball ought to be compelling too, and while the Roar skated by the dear spherical, the identical need to now not correct in opposition to Dallas. The combo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving would perhaps maybe furthermore be deadly for opposing teams, with one man dominating within the dear half of while the opposite man picks up the slack within the last two quarters. However the Roar salvage unreal depth, and or now not it is now not only appropriate “sit down out on the 3-point line and commence images” style of depth that Dallas possesses. It ought to be extremely complex for the Mavericks to hang Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams while also accounting for Chet Holmgren who’s having a standout playoff debut averaging 15.3 aspects, over eight rebounds and almost three blocks. I produce now not belief Dallas’ map gamers to knock down sufficient images this sequence for them to beat OKC.

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