• Welcome, Hoop Ball readers, to another edition of The Week Ahead!

    The playoffs have finally arrived and I am ecstatic to give my recap of how the season ended and my predictions for the playoffs.  The Blazers had the bubble MVP in Damian Lillard and snuck into the playoffs over the Grizzlies by winning the play-in game.  The Suns went 8-0 in the bubble and managed to still miss the playoffs as they did not own the tiebreaker against the Blazers or Grizzlies.  Here are my predictions for the playoffs:

    Eastern Conference

          First Round

    (1) Bucks vs. (8) Magic – Bucks win 4-0

    (2) Raptors vs. (7) Nets – Raptors win 4-1

    (3) Celtics vs. (6) 76ers – Celtics win 4-1

    (4) Heat vs. (5) Pacers – Heat win 4-1

          Second Round

    (1) Bucks vs. (4) Heat – Bucks win 4-2

    (2) Raptors vs. (3) Celtics – Celtics win 4-2

          Eastern Conference Finals

    (1) Bucks vs. (3) Celtics – Celtics win 4-3

    Celtics win the East

    Western Conference

           First Round

    (1) Lakers vs. (8) Blazers – Lakers win 4-2

    (2) Clippers vs. (7) Mavs – Clippers win 4-1

    (3) Nuggets vs. (6) Jazz – Nuggets win 4-2

    (4) Rockets vs. (5) Thunder – Thunder win 4-3

           Second Round

    (1) Lakers vs. (5) Thunder – Lakers win 4-1

    (2) Clippers vs. (3) Nuggets – Clippers win 4-2

           Western Conference Finals

    (1) Lakers vs. (2) Clippers – Clippers win 4-3

    Clippers win the West

    NBA Finals

    Clippers defeat the Celtics 4-3

    The Los Angeles Clippers will be the 2020 NBA Champions

    Now here is an overview of the week ahead:

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    Monday

    Jazz at Nuggets (Game 1)
    Nets at Raptors (Game 1)
    76ers at Celtics (Game 1)
    Mavs at Clippers (Game 1)

    Tuesday

    Magic at Bucks (Game 1)
    Heat at Pacers (Game 1)
    Thunder at Rockets (Game 1)
    Blazers at Lakers (Game 1)

    Wednesday

    Nets at Raptors (Game 2)
    Jazz at Nuggets (Game 2)
    76ers at Celtics (Game 2)
    Mavs at Clippers (Game 2)

    Thursday

    Heat at Pacers (Game 2)
    Thunder at Rockets (Game 2)
    Magic at Bucks (Game 2)
    Blazers at Lakers (Game 2)

    Friday

    Raptors at Nets (Game 3)
    Nuggets at Jazz (Game 3)
    Celtics at 76ers (Game 3)
    Clippers at Mavs (Game 3)

    Saturday

    Bucks at Magic (Game 3)
    Pacers at Heat (Game 3)
    Rockets at Thunder (Game 3)
    Lakers at Blazers (Game 3)

    Sunday

    Celtics at 76ers (Game 4)
    Clippers at Mavs (Game 4)
    Raptors at Nets (Game 4)
    Nuggets at Jazz (Game 4)

    Injury/Covid Report

    Mike Conley (birth of son) has left the bubble for the birth of his child and could have to quarantine if he returns.  This is a big blow to the Jazz as they had a good matchup with the Nuggets prior to the departure of their starting point guard.  

    Rajon Rondo (thumb) has arrived at the bubble and cleared the four-day quarantine period.  He is obviously not going to start playing with the Lakers right away, but we could see Rondo hit the court sometime during the playoffs if his thumb is 100% and his conditioning is back to normal.

    TJ Warren (foot) is questionable for the first game of the playoffs against the Heat.  He was one of the candidates for bubble MVP prior to getting hurt, so this is a big blow for the Pacers if he is forced to miss any time.

    Russell Westbrook (quadriceps) will be forced to miss some of the Rockets’ playoff series against the Thunder due to a quad injury.  He is only confirmed out for the first game of the series, but head coach Mike D’Antoni seemed doubtful that he would return for Game 2 either.

    Thanks for reading this week’s edition of The Week Ahead!

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