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NBA Playoff Power Rankings: Celtics should still prevail in battle with Bucks

John Tomase
April 23, 2018 - 5:42 pm
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By Danny Dragin

The playoffs are in full swing, and WEEI.com's Danny Dragin is here to update his thoughts on each series as the second round nears.

Eastern Conference

Toronto Raptors: 2-2 vs. Washington Wizards: 2-2

The Raptors took the first two games with ease, but the Wizards managed to show that they still match up well with Toronto. The Wizards held Kyle Lowry to 11 points and DeMar DeRozan to 17 in the first game, forcing the bench to beat them, but in Game 2 DeRozan got it going, scoring 37 points. John Wall has done his part, scoring extremely efficiently, and Bradley Beal managed to turn up his scoring by dropping 31 points in Game 4.

Original Prediction: Raptors in 7

Updated Prediction: Raptors in 7

Boston Celtics: 2-2 vs. Milwaukee Bucks: 2-2

The Celtics are more than what anyone could have imagined. Terry Rozier has been looking more like Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown has started to resemble Vince Carter, all while Jayson Tatum has slowly started to mold into a superstar before our very eyes. Milwaukee, as a team, has started to help Giannis as they began giving more minutes to Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker. But Boston is a hard team to beat at home and Milwaukee will have to do that twice.

Original Prediction: Celtics in 7

Updated Prediction: Celtics in 7

Cleveland Cavaliers: 2-2 vs. Indiana Pacers: 2-2

The Pacers obliterated the Cavs in the opener and LeBron didn't look like LeBron. The Cavs shot 23 percent from three and basically every player committed at least one turnover. Victor Oladipo saw his moment and took over, stuffing his stat sheet and scoring 32 points, but LeBron became LeBron again in Game 2, scoring 46 points and dishing out five assists, although it almost wasn't enough in a three-point win. In the third game Bojan Bogdanovic dropped 30 and the Pacers won by two. The Cavs rallied to take Game 4 behind the marksmanship of Kyle Korver, who had 18 points in 26 minutes, and also Tristan Thompson, whose presence seemed to help the offense click.

Original Prediction: Cavaliers in 5

Updated Prediction: Cavaliers in 6

Philadelphia 76ers: 3-1 vs. Miami Heat: 1-3

This could be the most entertaining matchup in the playoffs, although it looks like it could get cut short. Dwyane Wade has managed to turn the clock back and he's playing with a whole new attitude that you haven't seen in a long time. He scored 28 points in Game 2, and Goran Dragic helped him out with 20 points of his own. But the Sixers still look like they have the upper hand, and now that Joel Embiid is back they can take their game to a whole new level. My only question is, why are they not playing Markelle Fultz?

Original Prediction: Sixers in 6

Updated Prediction: Sixers in 5

Western Conference

Houston Rockets:2-1 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: 1-2

Hey, it's a series. The Timberwolves made it clear they wouldn't roll over in Game 1, which the Rockets squeaked out by three points behind 44 points and eight assists from James Harden. In Game 3, the Timberwolves played out of their minds offensively behind Andrew Wiggins (20 points), Jimmy Butler (28), Jeff Teague (17) and Karl Anthony-Towns (18) The only thing the Timberwolves should really be dwelling on is the fact that KAT has yet to top 20 points in the series.

Original Prediction: Rockets in 7

Updated Prediction: Rockets in 7

Golden State Warriors: 3-1 vs. San Antonio Spurs: 1-3

This season has been a tornado of questions and finger pointing in the Spurs facility and it has only gotten worse. Gregg Popovich's wife died on Wednesday night and Pop did not coach in Games 3 or 4. Steve Kerr was clearly heartbroken beating his mentor's team, as he slowly walked out of the arena with a somber face. The Warriors look like they are still the team with the most firepower despite not having Steph Curry on the floor. The Spurs managed to pull off one win, though, in Pop's absence.

Original Prediction: Warriors in 6

Updated Prediction: Warriors in 5

Portland Trail Blazers: 0-4 vs. New Orleans Pelicans: 4-0

Who saw this coming? The Pelicans weren't even expected to make the playoffs after Boogie Cousins blew out his Achilles, but they managed to get it done by sweeping the No. 3 seed. Anthony Davis has been his usual consistent self, Nikola Mirotic shaved his beard and suddenly gained superpowers, dropping 30 points in Game 3. And Rajon Rondo is once again proving his worth as a premier playoff point guard, dishing out 17 assists in Game 1 and hitting a dagger 3-pointer at the end of Game 2.

Original Prediction: Portland in 6

Result: Pelicans in 4 

Oklahoma City Thunder: 1-2 vs. Utah Jazz: 2-1

Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony might have wished they never gave Donovan Mitchell that post game pep talk in their first game of the regular season. Mitchell said the three of them told him to just "not stop" and "keep going," which is exactly what he's doing against them right now. Mitchell had 27 points in Game 1 and 28 points in Game 2. The rest of the Jazz held the Thunder Big Three to 0-14 from the field in the fourth quarter of Game 2. Ricky Rubio had a huge 26-point triple-double in Game 3, and Russell Westbrook vowed to "shut that (expletive) down" moving forward.

Original Prediction: Thunder in 5

Updated Prediction: Thunder in 6

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