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The Virtual Hub for the Media of the The Benjamin School's Upper School

The Pharcyte

The Virtual Hub for the Media of the The Benjamin School's Upper School

The Pharcyte


Who Will Win the Super Bowl?

  • Chiefs (67%, 2 Votes)
  • 49ers (33%, 1 Votes)
  • Taylor Swift (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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NBA Playoff Primer: Can Nuggets Go Back-to-Back?

The Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets have been the two best teams in the league this year, making them a likely Finals matchup.
Sporting News
The Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets have been the two best teams in the league this year, making them a likely Finals matchup.

After an exciting Play-In Tournament that saw the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat clinch playoff berths in the East, and the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans clinch playoff berths in the West, the round of 16 is officially underway.

The Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets are the league’s two number-one seeds, which makes sense considering these were consistently the two best teams during the regular season. Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and Co. are looking to become the first repeat champion since the 2016-2017 Golden State Warriors.

Like most seasons, this playoffs unfortunately comes with a slew of injuries. Guaranteed to miss at least the beginning of their respective series are Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf strain), Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler (MCL sprain), and New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson (hamstring injury). Additionally, Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard’s status (knee inflammation) is heavily in question. New York Knicks star Julius Randle (shoulder surgery) has already been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

The Pharcyde is going to examine each of the eight first-round playoff series and make a championship pick.

Eastern Conference:

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

Another year of the playoffs means another year of the Celtics facing off against the Heat. In their fourth matchup in five seasons, this should be the Celtics’ easiest series against the reigning Eastern Conference champions. Without Jimmy Butler, it would take a miracle for the Heat to pull off this upset.

Phar-pick: Celtics in four games.

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

This is certainly not the matchup the Knicks had hoped for when earning the East’s number-two seed. Facing off against reigning MVP Joel Embiid and budding star Tyrese Maxey will be a tall task for Jalen Brunson and his Knicks. With Embiid not being 100% and the Knicks owning home-court advantage, New York should be able to squeeze out the series victory.

Phar-pick: Knicks in seven games.

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

The Pacers have to like their chances in this series against the Bucks after winning four of their five matchups in the regular season. And with Giannis Antetokoumpo’s status for the series in doubt, Indiana will look to take advantage of a struggling Bucks team. Since the hiring of head coach Doc Rivers midseason, the Bucks have gone just 15-16. Their struggles may continue in this series against a fast-paced, high-octane Pacers offense.

Phar-pick: Pacers in six games.

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

After getting embarrassed last playoffs by the Knicks as the fourth seed, the Cavs are hoping to be more prepared against a young Magic team this time around. In what should be an ugly, grind-it-out series between two elite defenses, the offensive talent of the Cavs should give them the edge. One thing is for certain: Cleveland needs Donovan Mitchell at his best.

Phar-pick: Cavs in six games.

Western Conference

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

As the youngest number-one seed in NBA history, the pressure on this Thunder team is tremendous. They had a great regular season led by MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but the postseason is a different beast. Facing the Pelicans without Zion Williamson should not make this too difficult of a series for the Thunder, but there is some serious doubt about what they are capable of in the later rounds.

Phar-pick: Thunder in five games.

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

Lebron James and his Lakers are getting exactly what they wanted: a rematch with the team that eliminated them last playoffs. But this Nuggets team is no easier opponent than they were last year. The dynamic duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are as formidable as ever, and Denver’s home-court advantage is among the best in the league. There may be a few close games, but Denver should be able to handle LA fairly easily.

Phar-pick: Nuggets in five games.

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

One of the more surprising teams in the league, the Wolves are finally healthy and are looking to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in two decades. Standing in their way is the three-headed monster that is Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. If Minnesota’s defense can contain them, and Anthony Edwards plays like the superstar he is, the Wolves should be able to win this series.

Phar-pick: Wolves in six games.

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

For the third time in five years, Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard are facing off in the first round of the playoffs. How much Kawhi will be available in this series is an important factor. Without Kawhi, Paul George and James Harden are most likely not enough to keep up with Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and a potent Dallas offensive attack. The playoffs are also when Luka is at his best, so why should this be the year he slows down?

Phar-pick: Mavs in seven games.

Finals Phar-pick: Denver Nuggets over Boston Celtics in six games.

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About the Contributor
Joey Tomassetti
Joey Tomassetti, Editor-in-Chief
Joey is a senior and is an Edtior-in-Chief of The Pharcyde. He has been a part of the paper for three years. He is a member of three varsity sports teams: cross country, basketball, and track. He is also a member of the Veteran's Appreciation Club and the Sports Analytics Club. In his free time, Joey enjoys spending time with his family and friends, watching sports, and going to the beach.

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