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NBA playoff predictions: Bracket picks & 2024 Finals champion

Check out the latest NBA playoff predictions for the 2023-24 season as the offseason is officially underway with teams chasing the NBA Finals!

The 2023-24 season is now a few weeks in, and we have our latest NBA Playoff predictions for the campaign.

The Denver Nuggets are looking to go back-to-back after winning its first NBA Finals trophy against the Miami Heat. They already look like a force and the favorites to repeat as champs. But an injury could impact that.

The Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers were all projected to compete with Denver. While that still might be the case, struggles have been the name of the game for the trio. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers have not won a game since acquiring James Harden in a blockbuster trade.

Back east, the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers sure look like the class of the conference. Tyrese Maxey has stepped up for Philadelphia following the Harden trade.

Below, we give you our NBA playoff predictions for the 2023-24 campaign with updates throughout the season.

Related: Updated 2023-24 NBA power rankings

Eastern Conference NBA playoff predictions and seeds

nba playoff predictions: philadelphia 76ers
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Boston Celtics (60-22)
  2. Philadelphia 76ers (58-24)
  3. Milwaukee Bucks (57-25)
  4. Miami Heat (48-34)
  5. New York Knicks (46-36)
  6. Cleveland Cavaliers (44-38)
  7. Indiana Pacers (42-40)
  8. Brooklyn Nets (40-42)
  • Boston has already put up nine wins in 11 games, including a current four-game winning streak. Jayson Tatum (28.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 4.1 APG) is putting up an MVP performance. Recent addition Kristaps Porzingis has stepped up big time with nearly 20 points per game on 41% shooting from distance. These Celtics look like the class of the East.
  • Philadelphia has split two games with Boston thus far this season. Outside of the excellence of reigning MVP Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey’s emergence following the trade of Harden has been the story. He’s averaging 27.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists while shooting 43% from distance. He continues to play like that, and the 76ers will be competing for the Eastern Conference title.
  • It’s been a mixed bag for Milwaukee as Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo look to mesh. The team sits at 7-4 with losses to the Hawks, Raptors, Pacers and Magic mixed in. The Bucks have also put up big wins against Philadelphia and Miami. This tells us what the team is capable of.
  • After an ugly 1-4 start this season, Miami has now won six consecutive games. While it has come against less-than-stellar competition, the emergence of Bam Adebayo (23.0 PPG) and Tyler Herro (22.9 PPG) have been key behind Jimmy Butler. Even then, the Heat need that second star. Look for front office head Pat Riley to do everything possible in this regard ahead of the February NBA trade deadline.
  • Mediocre. That continues to define the 6-6 Knicks through three weeks. They have not competed well against the big boys in the conference such as the Celtics (0-2) and Bucks (0-1) while taking care of business against lesser competition. New York needs better play from Julius Randle (36% shooting). Whether that ever happens remains to be seen.

The Cavaliers, Pacers and Nets round out the final three in our NBA Playoff predictions back east. Of this group, Indiana has been the most impressive. It sits at 7-4 on the season with Tyrese Haliburton (24.7 PPG, 12.5 APG) continuing to play elite basketball.

Western Conference NBA playoff predictions and seeds

NBA: Playoffs-Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Denver Nuggets (61-21)
  2. Dallas Mavericks (57-25)
  3. Phoenix Suns (52-30)
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves (49-33)
  5. Sacramento Kings (48-34)
  6. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-35)
  7. Golden State Warriors (46-36)
  8. Los Angeles Lakers (43-39)
  • Denver is 9-2 on the season and outscoring its opponents by an average of 8.2 points per. Obviously, Nikola Jokic is the engine here. He’s averaging 30.0 points, 13.9 rebounds and 8.4 assists on the season. Unfortunately, another injury to Jamal Murray (hamstring) has to be some cause for concern. He’s out until at least December.
  • After struggling to mesh last season, the duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are doing their thing in Big D. These two are averaging a combined 53.0 points, 11.9 rebounds and 14.8 assists per game. Tim Hardaway’s solid play (18.7 PPG) has been huge for the Mavs, too, as they sit at 9-3 on the season.
  • Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal have played all of two games together. It has obviously impacted the Suns as they’ve started a disappointing 5-6 on the season. KD is still averaging 30 points. But with Beal and Booker having played a combined six games, it’s hard to gauge where this team is.
  • After an ugly 2-4 start to the season, Sacramento has won four consecutive games. That included a blowout 125-110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 15. Things are starting to turn around for Mike Brown’s squad after a surprise appearance in the playoffs last season.

The Thunder, Warriors and Lakers round out the final three in our NBA Playoff predictions for the Western Conference. While the Warriors and Lakers have been major disappointments this season, it’s hard not to like what Oklahoma City continues to do. That’s an ascending team.

Related: Get All The Latest NBA News On Sportsnaut

NBA playoff predictions: Matchups and winners

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
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Eastern Conference first round

  • No. 1 Boston Celtics over No. 8 Brooklyn Nets (4-0)
  • No. 4 Miami Heat over No. 5 New York Knicks (4-2)
  • No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks over No. 6 Cleveland Cavaliers (4-1)
  • No. 2 Philadelphia 76ers over No. 7 Indiana Pacers (4-1)

Western Conference first round

  • No. 1 Denver Nuggets over No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers (4-2)
  • No. 5 Sacramento Kings over No. 4 Minnesota Timberwolves (4-3)
  • No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder over No. 3 Phoenix Suns (4-3)
  • No. 2 Dallas Mavericks over No. 7 Golden State Warriors (4-3)

NBA playoff predictions: Conference semifinals

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Milwaukee Bucks
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Eastern Conference semifinals

  • No. 1 Boston Celtics over No. 4 Miami Heat (4-2)
  • No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks over No. 2 Philadelphia 76ers (4-3)

Western Conference semifinals

  • No. 1 Denver Nuggets over No. 5 Sacramento Kings (4-2)
  • No. 2 Dallas Mavericks over No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder (4-2)

NBA playoff predictions: Conference finals

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Eastern Conference conference finals

  • No. 1 Boston Celtics over No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks (4-3)

Western Conference conference finals

  • No. 1 Denver Nuggets over No. 2 Dallas Mavericks (4-2)

2024 NBA Finals predictions: Boston Celtics over Denver Nuggets (4-3)

nba playoff predictions: boston celtics
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