Bob Kemp

NBA FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

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        The NBA playoffs begin on Saturday with the most difficult first round to handicap in many seasons. The following is the eight series in order of interest with series prices.
        #7 LAKERS (-155) VS. #2 SUNS (+135): This is the worst possible matchup for the Suns, assuming LeBron James and Anthony Davis can physically make in through the series = LAKERS IN SIX
        #6 BLAZERS (-120) VS. #3 NUGGETS (EVEN): I was on the Nuggets to win the West until Jamal Murray went down with the season-ending injury = BLAZERS IN SIX
        #6 HEAT (+235) AT #3 BUCKS (-315): I was far more enthused picking the Heat to eliminate the Bucks last season, but Erik Spoelstra vs. Mike Budenholzer remains a significant mismatch = HEAT IN SIX
        #5 HAWKS (-115) AT #4 KNICKS (+105): Tim Thibodeau will attack Trae Young at both ends and at least 15,000 MSG fans is great for the league, must to the disgust of Nate McMillan = KNICKS IN FIVE
        #5 MAVERICKS (+300) VS. CLIPPERS (-400): The Clippers get the opponent they wanted after tanking the last two games of the regular season to avoid the Lakers = CLIPPERS IN FIVE
        #8 WIZARDS (+730) VS. 76ERS (-1250): The Sixers have the best bracket of any contending team, but they must take care of business and efficiently eliminate the Wizards and the Hawks/Knicks winner = 76ERS IN FIVE
        #8 GRIZZLIES (+425) VS. #1 JAZZ (-625): Donovan Mitchell practiced this week and is expected to return. The Grizzlies deserve to be here after outplaying the Warriors on Friday night = JAZZ IN FIVE
        #7 CELTICS (+540) VS. #2 NETS (-850): Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden get time together after playing just 120 minutes simultaneously during the regular season = NETS IN FOUR
CHECK BACK ON SUNDAY FOR A SIX PACK OF SUNS-LAKERS POST-GAME ANALYSIS