My Second Round Series Predictions in the 2022 NBA Playoffs

April 30th, 2022

By Alan Lu

When I last wrote up the last NBA playoff predictions’ post, I wrote that I felt Miami would defeat Philadelphia in 6, that Milwaukee would defeat Boston in 7, that Phoenix would win in 5, and that Golden State would win in 7.  As the first round series has wrapped up, the conclusion of the first round of the NBA playoffs have made me wonder if I still feel the same way about how the second round will conclude as I did before.

The Boston Celtics were thoroughly impressive in dismantling the Kevin Durant-led Brooklyn Nets in the first round, and they managed to sweep them to prevent the Nets from winning a game in the playoffs.  The Golden State Warriors mostly dominated the Denver Nuggets, and Stephen Curry came off the bench to really shine for the Warriors to lead the Warriors to win in five games.

Both the New Orleans Pelicans and the Minnesota Timberwolves were surprisingly competitive in their first-round series, and they took the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies to six games before losing. 

So, after having seen the first round of the NBA playoffs, I wonder if I still feel the same way about how the second round will go, but I feel like maybe it’ll go a little differently this time around.  Just how different?  Here’s my round-by-round, second round series predictions that I decided to make in my 2022 NBA playoff predictions write up.

The 2nd Round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference:

The Milwaukee Bucks-Boston Celtics’ second round series will be a terrific one to watch. The Bucks are the defending NBA champions, but they lost Khris Middleton to injury, as he will miss their second round series, so they will have to play without him. They will face a surging Celtics squad that swept the Kevin Durant-led Brooklyn Nets in four games in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
(Photo:
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images, via CelticsBlog)

(1) Miami Heat vs. (4) Philadelphia 76ers – Miami in 6
(2) Boston Celtics vs. (3) Milwaukee BucksBoston in 6

One of the major differences in my picks this time around, is that I will pick Boston in 6 games, rather than stick with my Milwaukee pick.  Not only has Boston been thoroughly impressive in their sweep of the super-talented, but frustrating to watch Brooklyn Nets team, but Milwaukee Bucks’ star forward, Khris Middleton will miss the entire second round due to injury, which will make it even tougher for the Bucks, as they will have to lean on Giannis even more to try to get past the Celtics in this series.  Giannis is one of the best NBA players in the game, but losing Middleton in the second round series is a huge blow for them, as they will lose a very versatile, All-Star forward that has been their second best player for them all season long.

That Middleton will miss the entire second round changes the equation significantly, in addition to Boston having done a superb job of defending Durant and the Nets in the first round.  Jayson Tatum was phenomenal, as he performed brilliantly in the first round. Marcus Smart truly looked like the DPOY out there, and the Celtics were bolstered by Robert Williams coming back, as their already strong defense looked even stronger. Payton Pritchard also gave them stellar minutes off the bench. I think the Boston Celtics not only have changed my opinion as to how the playoffs will shape up, but the Celtics now may be among the favorites to win the title this year.

The Miami Heat-Philadelphia 76ers’ series may be one of the more fascinating series to keep track of.  The Heat are a solid, well-coached, defensively-schooled team that plays well together, has very good team chemistry, and they are a cohesive squad that has played much better than expected.

In the meantime, the 76ers have two dominant superstars in Joel Embiid and James Harden, but the ball movement can tend to stagnate, and they haven’t always gotten nearly enough from their role players.  It also doesn’t help that Embiid broke his face, and he will not be able to play in Game 1 of the second round.  The Heat also are a little bit banged up, but they’ve shown that they can win and stay competitive without their stars, and their finishing off of the Hawks without Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler was an impressive feat itself.  That was a testament to their depth, and they’ve strengthened my confidence in my view of their team, so I think I’ll stick with picking the Heat over the 76ers in 6.

The 2nd Round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs – Western Conference:

The Phoenix Suns-Dallas Mavericks’ second round series will be a good one. The Suns are the defending Western Conference champions, but they struggled quite a bit against the Pelicans before closing them out in a convincing fashion in Game 6. Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks appear to be turning the corner, as Luka Doncic helped the Mavericks win their first round matchup against a solid Utah Jazz team.
(Photo:
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images, via DraftKings Nation)

(1) Phoenix Suns vs. (4) Dallas MavericksPhoenix in 6
(2) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (3) Golden State WarriorsGolden State in 5

A minor change, is that I will be picking Golden State in 5 this time over the Grizzlies, as a fully healthy Stephen Curry will likely make this a shorter series than previously thought.  The Warriors have a sound team system, and they have received a huge boost from Jordan Poole this year, and it’s great to finally see what the Warriors can do when they’re fully healthy.  I was on the fence before in pondering if they should be my pick to come out of the Western Conference, and now that the Warriors have shown that they have the tremendous offensive firepower that they’ve shown in years past, they too look to be among the favorites to win the title this year. 

As for the Grizzlies, they have been a little too dependent on Ja Morant so far, and the Timberwolves were able to make it a competitive series, especially in the games where he’s struggling.  Morant is an NBA superstar without a doubt, and he can really draw fouls, but the Grizzlies will need to get more consistent offensive production from his teammates, and they have to make more shots on a consistent basis.  The Warriors can downshift and force the Grizzlies to play smaller, which could take the Grizzlies out of their game.  If the Grizzlies can’t hit the offensive glass nearly as well, and if the Warriors can contain Morant, then I’m not sure if the Memphis Grizzlies will be able to go toe-to-toe with the Warriors in this series.

The Phoenix Suns had dropped a couple of games to the New Orleans Pelicans, but the Suns’ strong performance in Game 6 shows just how truly good they can be if they can put it all together, especially when healthy.  Chris Paul is a superstar point guard that will be in the Hall of Fame one day, and a healthy Devin Booker gives the Suns a much more dynamic offensive attack.

The Mavericks played surprisingly well when Doncic was out of the lineup, as they rode behind the steady point guard play of Jalen Brunson, and they also shot the ball very well in Doncic’s absence.  Their first-round series got tougher later on when they faced Utah on the road, but Luka Doncic has been very good, and Dallas will lean on their superstar point forward to do the bulk of the heavy lifting on offense.  Both Phoenix and Dallas are very good offensive teams, but I feel Phoenix has more depth.  Though Jalen Brunson has gone up a level, Dallas is still very dependent on Luka Doncic to generate offense, and sometimes it seems that they are too dependent on him.  The Suns don’t seem to have an obvious weakness to pick on like Utah did, and Phoenix can also go small if they have to.  I do think it’ll be a very competitive series, but I think Phoenix will win their second round series in 6, so I’ll stick with that.

Anyways, those are my picks for the second round, and I hope you enjoyed reading this.  The second round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs will resume on Sunday, May 1st.  Thanks for reading.

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