My 2023 NBA Conference Finals’ Predictions

May 16th, 2023

By Alan Lu

The 2023 Eastern Conference Finals could be shaping up to be a great one, and the Boston Celtics’ superstar forward, Jayson Tatum just recently scored 51 points in Game 7 of the second round to help his team defeat the Philadelphia 76ers to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
(Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images, via

The 2023 NBA playoffs have been going on, and it’s been quite eventful.  The Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns are out, and Jayson Tatum scored 51 points in Game 7 of the second round series between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers while Joel Embiid and James Harden combined to score just 24 points on 8 of 29 shooting.

Kevin Durant was supposed to lead the Phoenix Suns far in the playoffs, and they gambled and bet a lot on him, but instead the Phoenix Suns received another early exit, as the Denver Nuggets played very good basketball, and Nikola Jokic looked like he should’ve been the MVP instead. It turns out that the Phoenix Suns didn’t have enough depth, and they really seemed to run out of gas towards the end of their series against Denver. After all, even though the Suns did add another superstar in acquiring Durant in a midseason trade, dealing away solid role players such as Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Jae Crowder is a very tough beat, and they certainly didn’t seem to have enough players that could play substantial minutes off the bench in the playoffs.

The Golden State Warriors are also out, and the Los Angeles Lakers look rejuvenated, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis playing great basketball.  The Miami Heat are back in contention, and we’ve been treated to playoff Jimmy, as Jimmy Butler has helped the Heat get back to the Conference Finals in the East once again, and he also defeated his old former coach, Tom Thibodeau, who now coaches the New York Knicks.

So what can we expect?  What should we expect?  I’m not entirely sure, but all I can say is, the NBA playoffs will be a lot of fun, as usual.

I went 2-2 in making my round-by-round, second round playoff picks.  I didn’t have much luck in making picks in the Western Conference, but I had more success in making the Eastern Conference picks, and I was able to get the Miami and Boston picks right.

Here are my picks for the Eastern and Western Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

2023 Eastern Conference Finals’ Prediction: The Boston Celtics over the Miami Heat in 6 games.

As much as Boston has had their ups and downs in the playoffs, they still have shown that they can be an elite team in this year’s playoffs, and they have a bonafide superstar in Jayson Tatum. Jimmy Butler and head coach Erik Spoelstra will turn in a valiant effort, but Jayson Tatum at the peak of his game is a special player to watch.  The Boston Celtics have played very good basketball all year long, and while they have looked very beatable at times in the playoffs, they’ve managed to bounce back.  So at least for now, I’ll stick with the Boston Celtics, and I am picking them to make it to the 2023 NBA Finals.

Denver Nuggets’ superstar center and two-time MVP award winner, Nikola Jokic, and the Los Angeles Lakers’ legendary forward, LeBron James will face off against each other in the 2023 Western Conference Finals.
(Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press, via The Denver Post)

2023 Western Conference Finals’ Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers over the Denver Nuggets in 7 games

The Denver Nuggets are very fun to watch, and I enjoy watching them play.  The ball moves crisply and very well, and Nikola Jokic really elevates his teammates, which is fun to watch.  Jokic truly is playing at a tremendous level this year, and the Nuggets are a really good team at home.  Even more, getting a healthy Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray back has really helped Denver, and they’ve shown that they can be an explosive and dynamic team, especially on offense. Also, head coach Michael Malone deserves a lot of credit for his team’s success, and he’s helped his team get to their second Western Conference Finals in the past five years. Moreover, the Denver Nuggets arguably has the best offensive system, and they were really able to defeat a very talented Phoenix Suns’ team handily in Game 6 of their second round series to advance to the next round.

That said, history says teams that are led by superstars, and teams that are led by LeBron James will likely make the NBA Finals.  LeBron James has been to 10 NBA Finals in his 20-year NBA career, which is truly remarkable.  The Los Angeles Lakers look rejuvenated, and head coach Darvin Ham has really helped the Lakers bounce back.  LeBron is an all-time great player, and he’s shown that he can dominate and take over to win in the playoffs time and time again. The Lakers have made smart acquisitions by signing Dennis Schroder, and by trading for D’Angelo Russell and Jarred Vanderbilt in the offseason.  Austin Reaves has played very well this season, and he’s a shot maker that could be the X-Factor in this series.  Moreover, the Lakers dismantled a battle tested, Golden State Warriors’ team that were led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and head coach Steve Kerr, and the Lakers were even able to defeat the defending champions in 6 games rather thana allow their opponents to draw it out to a seventh game.

So, it’s a tough call. It’s not an easy decision for me to make, but I think I’ll pick the Lakers to win in 7.  I also could see Denver winning in 7, but at this stage, it might as well be a coin flip.

Anyways, those are my picks for now, and there may be a decent chance that it could be headed for another Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA Finals.  Those are my thoughts on how the NBA Conference Finals could go, and it will be fun to watch to see how the NBA playoffs will unfold.  Thanks for reading.

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