Bold predictions for the second half of the NBA season
With the trade deadline and All-Star weekend in the books, the NBA regular season will hit critical mass, as teams look to solidify their foundations for the playoffs or make one last push to save their seasons.
So what lies ahead? These predictions will be the headlines for the second half of the NBA season.
The Clippers decisively win the battle for Los Angeles
There is little doubt anything is going to stand in the way of a Lakers-Clippers conference finals, but the matchup is going to be a walkover, to the chagrin of Lakers fans. Barring injury or an unlikely team desynchronization deep in the playoffs, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be too much for LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The Toronto Raptors make the Eastern Conference Finals
The Raptors have exceeded expectations after they were left for dead when Leonard departed for Los Angeles. Should the standings hold, Toronto would play the hapless Nets, followed by the Celtics, ahead of a rematch with Milwaukee in the conference finals. They may lose two games, at most, before they face a legitimate foe.
Giannis Antetokounmpo repeats as MVP
Antetokounmpo is on pace to have a better season than his MVP campaign last year, and nobody is in sniffing distance of challenging him. The Greek Freak is averaging 30 points per game, to go along with 13.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists, for the NBA’s best team. A second MVP is all but a lock.
The San Antonio Spurs miss the playoffs
The Spurs haven’t missed the playoffs since they drafted Tim Duncan in 1997, but there is little hope they will continue the streak. Absent of star power and athleticism, the Spurs are outgunned and climbing uphill. The Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trail Blazers are better equipped to earn the West’s final playoff spot.
The Bucks defeat the Clippers in the NBA Finals
Leonard and Antetokounmpo will take care of business to set up a Finals clash for the ages. A Clippers squad that went from meandering to monstrous, against a Bucks team featuring the next era of NBA greatness, is going to be a physical contest, where anything less than a seven-game series would be disappointing.
Though nobody should count out a team featuring Leonard and George, Milwaukee will weather the storm and win an epic series for the ages to win its first title in 48 years.