The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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Predicting the NBA Playoffs


The NBA Playoffs have reached the conference finals and haven’t disappointed so far. The emergence of new NBA superstars this season such as Jalen Brunson, Tyrese Haliburton, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have brought prior struggling NBA teams deep into the playoffs. Lebron James and Steph Curry’s dominance in the playoffs is now the past; there’s a new era of stars ruling over the NBA. 

In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics face the Indiana Pacers for a spot in the NBA Finals. The Celtics have been a powerhouse in the 2023-2024 season, finishing with the best regular season record in the NBA of 64-18, 12 games ahead of the 2nd-placed Knicks in the Eastern Conference. Their impressive record is attributed to arguably one of the best duos in the NBA: Shooting Guard Jaylen Brown and Power Forward Jayson Tatum, two superstars who’ve led them to great success. Furthermore, the recent additions of Center Kristaps Porziņģis and veteran Point Guard Jrue Holiday have added to the dynamic offensive prowess and combined effectively with the returning guard Derrick White. So far in their playoff run, the Celtics have beaten both the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers in five games, and don’t show any signs of slowing down. Even without Porziņģis in the Cleveland series, they dominated on both ends of the court and rarely seemed doubtful of victory.

The Indiana Pacers reached the NBA playoffs for the first time in four seasons. The Pacers have had a tough road to the Eastern Conference Finals, beating the 3rd-seed Milwaukee Bucks in six games, then the 2nd-seed New York Knicks in 7. Much of their success this season is attributed to point guard Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton’s 2023-24 campaign is one to remember, as he leads the NBA with assists and averages 20.1 points per game. The Pacers acquired veteran Pascal Siakam in a mid-season trade with the Toronto Raptors to provide a reliable second option. Siakam was a great pickup, as he provides playoff experience to a Pacers team that’s on the younger side. This season he’s averaged 21.7 points per game and 7.3 rebounds, giving Haliburton a reliable option. 

The Celtics have been dominant throughout the regular season and playoffs, and I see no signs of that stopping. Even if the Pacers manage to quiet Tatum and Brown, the rest of the Celtics team is so reliable that they shouldn’t have a problem winning a spot in the finals. 

Prediction: Celtics in 5

In the Western Conference Finals, the Dallas Mavericks are facing the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Mavericks have gone on a remarkable postseason run as the 5th seed. They won both their playoffs series in 6 games, against the 4th-seeded Los Angeles Clippers, then the seemingly unbeatable 1st-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavericks have relied on superstar guards Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving throughout the season, with Dončić averaging 33.9 points per game and 9.8 assists per game, and Irving averaging 25.6 points per game and 5.2 assists per game. Dončić and Irving earned criticism early in the season, as the two were both primary ball handlers and had trouble balancing their play styles. However, later in the season, they found chemistry and a system that brought the Mavericks to the Western Conference Finals. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been led by young superstar Anthony Edwards. Edwards has averaged 30.2 points per game throughout the playoffs, leading the Timberwolves to victory past two contenders: the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets. The Wolves have two of the best big men in the league in four-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns and four-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. These two are also key players for the Timberwolves, as they allow Edwards to stretch the court and fulfill his offensive potential, while they do the grittier work on defense. The Timberwolves are a strong team but will surely be challenged by Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic’s undeniable chemistry. 

Prediction: Mavericks in 6

NBA Finals

My predictions set up an NBA Finals matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks. Both teams haven’t won an NBA championship in over a decade, but this could be their year. They both have some of the best backcourts in the NBA, which is why the series comes down to Irving and Doncic vs. Tatum and Brown. The Celtics have a much stronger supporting cast around them and consistent impact substitutions. However, I believe that Dončić and Irving will find a way to get past the Celtics. The duo is scoring and assisting at such a high rate that I don’t think the Celtics will be able to handle them in the end. I can confidently predict, however, that this will be a competitive series, and fans are in for a treat.

Prediction: Mavericks in 7

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