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One of the key tenets I wanted to weave throughout my articles when I created this space was a sense of transparency. None of us want to admit when we’re wrong. This is especially true when it comes to debating sports or making predictions. But that also is part of the fun of it – if we’re going to beat our chest and celebrate our accurate predictions, then sometimes we need to take our medicine and wipe the egg off of our face when we’re wrong. A few days ago I made some predictions for the rest of the NBA Conference Semifinal Matchups, let’s see where we stand today!
Memphis Grizzlies/Golden State Warriors:
At the time the Warriors were up 3-1. I predicted Warriors in 6 and I feel good about that despite the absolute beat down the Grizzlies put on the Warriors in Game 5. The Warriors haven’t been playing their best basketball but it’s hard to picture Curry and the Dubs losing at home tonight after 2 substandard performances. Credit to the Grizzlies though for not going away without a fight.
Boston Celtics/Milwaukee Bucks
At the time the series was tied 2-2 and my prediction was Boston in 7. That still has a chance to come to fruition, however Milwaukee definitely threw a wrench into the plans by taking Game 5 in Boston, coming back after being down 93-79 in the 4th quarter. This series has had all the makings of an all-time classic, with a storyline we have seen many times before – The young Boston Celtics who feel that their time has arrived in the East against the defending NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks who are a little wounded, but fighting with a tremendous amount of pride. I still think Boston has the depth to get it done in 7, however they’re going to face a tough task in Milwaukee as Giannis and the Bucks are going to look to close the series out on their home floor with hopes of getting Khris Middleton back soon.
Dallas Mavericks/Phoenix Suns
If you asked 100 random people on the street who Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, and Frank Ntilikina are, you would probably get guesses ranging from an up and coming law-firm to members of a Euro boy band group. No, these are actually key support pieces for Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks who have pushed the Phoenix Suns to 7 games. At the time the series was tied 2-2 I predicted Phoenix would win in 6 because they were simply too talented to lose 2 more games in a row. My cousin texted me the other night and rightfully said that the Mavericks are extremely dangerous because they have nothing to lose and he is absolutely right. Luka is the best player on the floor right now and he lives for these types of moments. Chris Paul is one of the greatest point guards ever but in a pivotal Game 6 he responded with 4 assists and 5 turnovers. He has to play much better for the Suns to win. Should be a lot of fun.
Miami Heat/Philadelphia 76ers
Here is my ultimate Homer Simpson retreat to the hedges prediction. When the Sixers tied the series up at 2-2, Joel Embiid looked like he hadn’t missed a beat, and more importantly James Harden was coming off of a 31 point performance. That led to me predicting the Sixers would win in 7. Yikes. The Sixers went on to play 2 of their worst games of the season, culminating last night with James Harden playing 43 minutes and contributing 11 points, 0 free throws, and 0 points in the second half. Where doe the Sixers go from here? It’s going to be interesting. Doc Rivers seems to be exasperated and there are rumors swirling that the LA Lakers are looking to see if the Sixers look to move on in the off-season. Joel Embiid cemented himself as one of the best players in the league this year but he is going to need help, and James Harden isn’t the answer. Year in and year out he shows up out of shape for camp, spends an entire season working himself into shape and has routinely come up short in the playoffs time and time again. Someone will sign him, but if I’m GM Daryl Morey, it wouldn’t be me.
Enjoy your weekend! Next week we’ll take a look at the New York Yankees Aaron Judge and where he currently ranks among the Yankees great and what his ceiling may be.
(Photo Jasen Vinlove, USA Today Sports)