Second Round Predictions for the 2024 NBA Playoffs

May 5th, 2024

By Alan Lu

I was going to wait to make my second round picks until all of the first round teams had finished, but it seems that the second round is going on as we speak, and honestly, I’ve kind of just lost track of time.  But I want to make some picks, regardless, so I’m determined to put out these second round playoff predictions, no matter how late it is, even with the first game of the Minnesota-Denver series already having taken place.  For those of you who wanted to know what my first round predictions were, you can find it here. Anyways, without further ado, I will provide you with my 2024 second round playoff picks as listed below.

The Minnesota Timberwolves surprisingly took Game 1 against Denver in Denver’s home building, and with Denver having lost at home in the second round, now all bets are off as to who will win the title this year. (Photo: Getty Images, via The Mirror)

2024 Western Conference 2nd Round Series Picks

(3) Minnesota Timberwolves over (2) Denver Nuggets in 7

Before the series started, I would’ve picked Denver in 6, for a myriad of factors, but mostly because Denver was my preseason pick and that they have a tremendous point center in Nikola Jokic.  But Minnesota took Game 1 by storm, with Anthony Edwards putting on a terrific MJ-like performance, and their big man duo of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns could be more than enough to cause fits for Denver.  Chris Finch has been one of the best coaches this year, and Minnesota has a deep and balanced roster.  In game 1, Minnesota made enough noise to get me shook. Of course, you could chalk it up to being just one game, but I think it showed me enough to believe that they can overtake Denver in this series.

I think this will be a long and tough series, and as Denver is the reigning champions, and they won’t go down without a fight.  They also have the advantage of altitude in their remaining home games.  I know Denver was my preseason pick, but I’m making an audible and switching the pick here.  Anthony Edwards is a superstar that looks to be on the cusp of greatness, and maybe Rudy Gobert may have found his true calling by being the player that could match up to and contain Jokic.  Minnesota has a deeper bench as they have the Sixth Man of the Year in Naz Reid, and Mike Conley’s been a steady point guard.  So, if Minnesota keeps at it, I think they could defeat Denver in this series.  So my pick here is Minnesota in 7.

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder over (5) Dallas Mavericks in 6 games

The Dallas Mavericks won their series in convincing fashion, and the Doncic-Kyrie duo has proved to be a formidable one, as both players have stepped up in a big way.  But I think the Thunder will win this series.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the best players in the game, Chet Holmgren is a terrific interior player, and coach Mark Daigneault is a master of making adjustments.  On one hand, Dallas played a much more formidable opponent in the first round, but the Thunder made a sweep, and they have the best record among Western Conference teams. So, I think I’m picking Oklahoma City in 6.

With the New York Knicks’ convincing playoff series win over Joel Embiid’s Philadelphia 76ers, the Knicks have emerged as a sleeper contender for the title this year, and they have been a fun team to watch in the playoffs. (Photo: Getty Images, via New York Post)

2024 Eastern Conference 2nd Round Series Picks

(1) Boston Celtics over (4) Cleveland Cavaliers in 6

Boston has the most complete team and roster, and if all goes expected, they should be able to win this series.  They have a very good forward tandem in having Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday has been a terrific defensive point guard, and adding Kristaps Porzingis gives them a dynamic offensive force that can help them lock down the paint.  That said, the Cavs have a very good trio of their own, led by Donovan Mitchell.  The concern is that the Celtics can sometimes tend to let up (as they managed to lose one game to an under-talented and depleted Miami Heat team in the first round despite winning their series), and the Cavaliers have games where they can truly take over.  I think Boston’s talent and depth will win out in this series, but Cleveland will likely make it tougher than expected at least.

(2) New York Knicks over (6) Indiana Pacers in 6

The Pacers have been a fun, fast-paced team to watch, and they are led by a stealth superstar in Tyrese Haliburton, a smart, do-everything guard that goes beyond what is expected to help his team win games.  But after New York’s convincing playoff series win over Philadelphia, I’m convinced that the Knicks will at least go to the Eastern Conference Finals.  Jalen Brunson is a dynamic, scoring point guard that can take over games, and the Villanova connection is uncanny, as the Knicks have off-the-charts team chemistry.  They’ve gotten great production from their bench and supporting cast, and OG Anunoby is the tough, tenacious two-way forward that Thibs has been waiting for to have on his team.  Therefore, I’m going with the Knicks in 6.

In my first round predictions, I went 6-2.  I’ll admit it’s a bold move picking against Denver in the second round, but Minnesota’s Game 1 win seems to be evidence that it could be a realistic possibility.  And if that happens, then Denver will wish that they would’ve re-signed Bruce Brown, as that would’ve been another defender that they could throw out at Edwards to try to slow him down. And I do think that Calvin Booth and Denver should’ve re-signed Bruce Brown, given his strong production off the bench, especially from a defensive standpoint last year. Anyways, we’ll see what happens as the games play out.  Thanks for reading.

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