Crossover: VT’s NBA Playoff Predictions | 2024

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A second annual NBA crossover nugget of VikingsTerritory content, a few of our writers who quietly follow basketball as much as football weigh in with NBA playoff predictions.

The Boston Celtics are odds-on favorites to win the chip, hovering around +135 odds to win it all for the first time since 2008 — the Kevin Garnett days. The Denver Nuggets are next in line at +300.

Crossover: VT’s NBA Playoff Predictions

VT‘s Janik Eckardt, PurplePTSD‘s Josh Frey, and Dustin Baker collaborated this week to pump out round-by-round playoff predictions.

These are those.

1st Round

NBA Playoff Predictions
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports.

Eastern Conference

(1) Boston Celtics over (8) Miami Heat, 4-1
(5) Orlando Magic over (4) Cleveland Cavaliers, 4-3
(3) Milwaukee Bucks over (6) Indiana Pacers, 4-3
(7) Philadelphia 76ers over (2) New York Knicks, 4-3

We grabbed two upsets here, not believing in the Knicks’ oomph to knock off Joel Embiid’s 76ers. Admittedly, we’re also paranoid about our Celtics pick because Miami always pulls off some shenanigans. Our decision-making process, too, split over Cavaliers-Magic, as Baker picked Cleveland.

Western Conference

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder over (8) New Orleans Pelicans, 4-1
(4) Los Angeles Clippers over (5) Dallas Mavericks, 4-3
(3) Minnesota Timberwolves over (6) Phoenix Suns, 4-3
(2) Denver Nuggets over (7) Los Angeles Lakers, 4-3

Each matchup is absolutely magnificent; let’s get that factoid out of the way. The bottom three will be utter slugfests, and the panel only disagreed on Clippers-Mavericks. Josh Frey picked Dallas in seven.

2nd Round

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Eastern Conference

(1) Boston Celtics over (5) Orlando Magic, 4-1
(3) Milwaukee Bucks over (7) Philadelphia 76ers, 4-2

Janik Eckardt noted, “There’s no way both Antetokounmpo and Embiid will play in the second round,” which he claimed made the prediction impossible.

Nevertheless, we picked the Celtics to shellack the Magic and the Bucks to stave off the 76ers. Philadelphia is like the Dallas Cowboys (as of late) — incapable of reaching a conference championship.

Western Conference

(4) Los Angeles Clippers over (1) Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-3
(3) Minnesota Timberwolves over (2) Denver Nuggets, 4-3

Baker vehemently disagreed that Minnesota would knock off Denver, but he was outvoted. Eckardt also picked the Thunder over the Clippers. But in the end, this group picked two teams that have never reached the NBA Finals. What a world.

Conference Championships

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

Eastern Conference

(1) Boston Celtics over (3) Milwaukee Bucks, 4-2

This year’s Celtics team just feels different, probably because Kristaps Porziņģis has played reliably, and Jrue Holiday is money. They’re significantly better than the Bucks — at least per team cohesion; roster talent is debatable — and will reach the NBA Finals.

Western Conference

(4) Los Angeles Clippers over (3) Minnesota Timberwolves, 4-3

The Wolves need one more year to grow into their fur before they’re considered NBA-Finals-bound. Los Angeles gets one crack at this thing after assembling their version of a superteam a half-decade ago. Celtics-Clippers, it is.

NBA Finals

Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports.

(1) Boston Celtics over (4) Los Angeles Clippers, 4-1

The Clippers little run will fizzle, and the Celtics will become champions for the first time in 16 years. Jayson Tatum will win NBA Finals MVP. Baker wanted readers to know that he believes this Finals matchup will be Celtics over Nuggets, but Eckardt and Frey outvoted him in the WCF.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by