My 2022 Conference Finals Predictions in the 2022 NBA Playoffs
May 16th, 2022
By Alan Lu
As the second round came to a conclusion, I will proceed to make my round-by-round, Conference Finals predictions for the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Here are some of my thoughts on how the second round went, and from there, I will make my 2022 Conference Finals’ predictions.
Thoughts on the Second Round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs:
In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics-Milwaukee Bucks was a really close series for most of the way, and it went all the way to 7 games. Giannis was great in this series, and Jrue Holiday came up with some really good defensive plays especially in Game 5, but the Bucks couldn’t quite hold on in the absence of Khris Middleton, who was out due to a lingering knee injury, and Boston Celtics’ hot shooting led by Jayson Tatum, Grant Williams, and Payton Pritchard led them to rout Milwaukee in Game 7 to dethrone the defending champions.
As for the Miami Heat-Philadelphia 76ers’ series, it seemed as if the tide would go Philly’s way when Joel Embiid returned for Game 3, and he helped the 76ers win two games to tie up the series at 2-2 apiece.
However, Miami was able to win out from there to take the series and win in 6 games. It was astonishing that neither James Harden nor Tyrese Maxey came ready to play in Game 6. The 76ers looked lost without Joel Embiid, and they just couldn’t keep up with the Heat, especially when they lost Danny Green due to a knee injury early in Game 6. Miami had too much depth and talent, and Jimmy Butler was unstoppable in this series, as he would score at will against whomever Philadelphia decided to have guard him.
In the Golden State Warriors-Memphis Grizzlies’ series, the Grizzlies were very competitive and tested the limits of the Warriors, and it was a very physical series that had questionably dirty play amid a litany of hard fouls that were committed, but Ja Morant’s knee injury that he suffered in Game 3 ultimately gave the Warriors the upper hand, which may have changed the fate of the series to swing significantly back in Golden State’s way.
Golden State’s head coach Steve Kerr was able to get his team off to a 2-1 lead against the Grizzlies, but he was unable to coach due to illness midway through the series, but associate and acting head coach Mike Brown stepped in and did an admirable job in Games 4 and 6 to fill in and help the Warriors win the series. The Grizzlies turned in a dominant Game 5 to win by over 50 in that game, but the Warriors had too much firepower for the Morant-less Grizzlies in Game 6, and the Warriors played really well when they were focused and had their offense going.
In the Dallas Mavericks-Phoenix Suns’ series, the lingering effects of the Suns letting the eighth seeded, Pelicans hang around for 6 games rather than close out their first round series in 4 or 5 proved to be huge, especially with Luka Doncic and the Mavericks awaiting them in the second round.
Luka Doncic has really taken the next step in the evolution of his game, as he is already one of the best players in the league, by thoroughly dominating the Phoenix Suns in the second round, and he’s also helped elevate the play of his teammates. Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith have been playing very well in the playoffs, and Spencer Dinwiddie scored 30 points off the bench in a decisive Game 7.
Also, Devin Booker and Chris Paul were essentially no-shows in the Suns’ Game 7, as they were shut down in that game. Meanwhile in Game 7, the Suns were blown out and they seemed to have lost even before the first quarter came to a close. DeAndre Ayton was also basically a no-show as he didn’t even play very much in Game 7, which is a little surprising considering that he had a solid season overall. Considering that he has not yet been re-signed by Phoenix, his questionable playoff performance and impact in the postseason raises questions and concerns about if the Suns would or should bring him back, and for how much if they decide to do so.
The Phoenix Suns played lethargically as they looked virtually lifeless out there, they looked out of sync, and they didn’t seem to play with much energy, effort, or enthusiasm. Monty Williams may have won the Head Coach of the Year award this year, but the Suns didn’t seem to play as if he earned it as they fell flat in the playoffs. After a disappointing exit from the playoffs, and with Chris Paul being one of the oldest players in the NBA and potentially close to retiring, the Suns will have to figure out how to retool and restructure their team for next season.
Well, with the eliminations of both the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Phoenix Suns, my 2022 NBA.com playoff bracket challenge has officially been busted. That record currently stands at 10-2, but it will end up being 10-5, as the teams I had advancing in the playoff bracket challenge are both eliminated. While I’m a little sad that my bracket is busted, I also find it refreshing that new teams will be advancing to the Conference Finals, and we will get a new NBA champion this year.
As for my round-by-round predictions, my 2022 record is 11-1, 8-0 in the first round, and 3-1 in the second round, and in my second round predictions, I switched my prediction to pick the Celtics over the Bucks that time.
And now, here are my round-by-round, Conference Finals predictions for the 2022 NBA playoffs.
The 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Finals – Predictions:
(1) Miami Heat vs. (2) Boston Celtics – Boston in 7
The Eastern Conference Finals will be a very tough and competitive series. Both teams are very well-coached, but Boston is a deeper team, especially on the wings. They have a team that can shoot and defend at all five positions, which could make them very tough to guard, especially since they have two of the most dynamic players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Grant Williams has proven to be a very valuable, versatile role player that has really excelled as a shooter, defender, and hustle player for his team this year. The Celtics have a lot of options, as they can go small or big, they have very good balance in their lineup, and they are not overly dependent on a single player to help their team, so their length, versatility, and flexibility will make them a very tough for teams to match up to.
As for Miami, they will have to lean heavily on their superstar wing, Jimmy Butler, and they also rely on their starting center, Bam Adebayo to get stops defensively. On top of it, Miami has been getting a little banged, as Kyle Lowry isn’t all the way healthy, and he hasn’t shot the ball nearly as well as he did in the first round. Therefore, the Boston Celtics probably will end up winning the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals to go on to the NBA Finals.
The 2022 NBA Western Conference Finals – Predictions:
(3) Golden State Warriors vs. (4) Dallas Mavericks – Golden State in 6
The Dallas Mavericks are the big wildcard team that could totally throw off the predictions, but if anything, the Warriors have been one of the most reliable teams in the playoffs in the past decade. The Golden State Warriors are an experienced, championship team. Head coach Steve Kerr is a proven tactician and coach that knows how to manage lineups and execute game plans, so the Warriors may be better equipped to defend a five-out attack than Phoenix. As for Dallas, Luka Doncic has been great, and defeating the Suns in 7 games was a tremendous series win for them, but the Mavericks are very dependent on him, and the other ball handlers can tend to be quite streaky in games, and things can quickly go snowball for the Mavericks if Doncic isn’t playing very well.
The Warriors are a very talented team that can really pour on the points as they have superstar guards in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole has had a very good season as well. They also have a terrific defensive forward in Draymond Green that can rack up assists. It’ll be a very tough, competitive series, but I think I’m going to pick Golden State to win the Western Conference Finals to make it to the 2022 NBA Finals this year. They have had really high highs, and really low lows in the playoffs this year, but the Warriors’ talent, pedigree, and experience could make it likely for them to be able to get the Western Conference series win to move on to the NBA Finals this year.
The 2022 NBA Playoffs will resume on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how the Conference Finals, and time will tell to see which of the NBA teams will advance to the 2022 NBA Finals. Thanks for reading.