The brackets for the 2024 playoffs are officially set! Here are the predictions for the drama to come.

New York Knicks (2) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (7)

After finishing the regular season being mentioned in Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidate talks, Jalen Brunson hopes to lead the Knicks to another playoff series victory, this time over Philadelphia. Outside of Julius Randle, the Knicks are finding more health come playoff time, with forward OG Anunoby and center Mitchell Robinson returning to the lineup. However, they’ll have to match up with last season’s MVP, Joel Embiid. After returning from a left meniscus injury, Embiid can very well take the 76ers on a deep postseason run if healthy. That’s a big IF, considering he only played in 39 games this season. 

Prediction: Knicks win series, 4-3

Milwaukee Bucks (3) vs. Indiana Pacers (6)

The Milwaukee Bucks have announced that Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss the start of the series versus Indiana. This will initially leave the team without their leading scorer and rebounder, as they hope Damian Lillard and Khris Middleton can step up in a big way. On the other hand, Indiana has had a strong year when playing Milwaukee, as they’re 4-1 against the Bucks in the regular season, including a win during the In-Season Tournament. 

Prediction: Pacers win series, 4-3

Cleveland Cavaliers (4) vs. Orlando Magic (5)

After a disappointing first-round exit in last season’s playoffs, Donovan Mitchell hopes to lead the Cavs on a deep playoff run. They’ll match up against an Orlando team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2020 in the bubble. The Magic are led by first-time all-star, Paolo Banchero, who, in his sophomore season, averaged 22.6 points and 6.9 rebounds this season. The Cavs and Magic split their regular season series, 2-2.

Prediction: Cavaliers win series, 4-2

Jayson Tatum courtesy of flickr

Boston Celtics (1) vs. Miami Heat (8)

Boston finished the regular season with the league’s best record, seven games ahead of anybody else. They’ll get a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, against the Miami Heat. Although Miami beat the Celtics in 7 games last season, they’ll have to compete without Jimmy Butler for at least multiple weeks. Boston is entering the playoffs with a healthy, rested roster, and is led by all-stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. 

Prediction: Celtics win series, 4-0

Denver Nuggets (2) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (7)

The Denver Nuggets have been the Lakers’ kryptonite dating back to last year’s Western Conference finals. Anthony Davis seems to struggle guarding Nikola Jokic, and Jamal Murray has had his way against the Lakers. However, don’t sleep on the return of Laker’s forward, Jarred Vanderbilt. He is an elite defender who can limit the Nugget’s offensive output. And finally, despite being in year 21, LeBron is going to be LeBron in the postseason. 

Prediction: Nuggets win series, 4-2

Minnesota Timberwolves (3) vs. Phoenix Suns (6)

After barely creeping into the 6th seed, the Phoenix Suns matchup against Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota is coming off its second-best regular season record in franchise history (56-26), and they hope to win a playoff series for the first time since 2004. On the flipside, Kevin Durant is looking to build upon his already impressive legacy, as he chases his first championship outside of Golden State. This time, he has Devin Booker and Bradley Beal to assist in his quest. 

Prediction: Suns win series, 4-3

Los Angeles Clippers (4) vs. Dallas Mavericks (5)

The Clippers have a loaded roster with many players looking to win their first NBA Championship, including Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and James Harden. While the Clippers have two-time Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, his status for game 1 is up in the air due to knee inflammation. Health has been a problem in recent years for Leonard, and much of the Clippers’ postseason success could ride on him. Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks finished the regular season red-hot, going 16-4 to close out the season (their final two games were losses, in which multiple starters sat out). Luka Doncic has had an MVP candidate-worthy season, as he hopes he can find some magic in the playoffs this year after missing the playoffs the previous season. 

Prediction: Mavericks win series, 4-2

Oklahoma City Thunder (1) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (8)

After finishing 40-42 last year and missing the playoffs, Oklahoma City has vaulted into the 1st seed of the wild Western Conference. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is having a career year, and his stellar play has been complimented by the rise of the rookie, Chet Holmgren. Coach of the Year, Mark Daigneault, hopes he can lead his mostly inexperienced roster through a loaded Western Conference bracket, which saw ten teams finish ten games above .500. They face a Zion-less New Orleans team, which has gone 7-5 this season without him on the court. New Orleans will need CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram to step up for them in a big way if they want to compete with OKC. 

Prediction: Thunder win series, 4-2