The 2019 NBA Playoffs are rolling into round two and multiple high-profile matchups are on the horizon. With a rematch of the 2018 Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets one of the headliners, there’s a lot to look forward to.
As we approach the semifinal matchups and the final eight teams gear up to battle for a spot in the conference finals, we’re going to take a look at the updated bracket. Beyond that, we’ll also take a deeper dive into each round two series while offering a preview and prediction on who will advance.
2019 NBA Playoff Bracket: Eastern & Western Conference Semifinals
Note: Bracket will be updated shortly after each game is final.
2019 NBA Playoff Second Round Predictions
The round two matchups will feature all top seeds from the opening matchups. We’ll start with the Eastern Conference and breakdown one series which started early, as the Toronto Raptors defended their home court by rolling past the Philadelphia 76ers.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors Prediction
I bought into the 76ers as a team capable of upsetting the Raptors in this series, but Game 1 likely caused some doubt for those who picked Philly. Although the Sixers dropped the first game 108-95, the outcome wasn’t a complete and total shock. It also doesn’t change the fact that I think Joel Embiid and company can win the series.
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To be clear, it’s going to be a brutal task to slow down Kawhi Leonard and company. More importantly, winning one game on the road will be a tall task, but the Sixers have the talent if they’re firing on all cylinders. It’s the underdog pick, not a popular one, and they have a lot of work to do, but I’ll stick with Philly.
Prediction: Sixers in seven games
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks Prediction
NBA fans are treated to another rematch from the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and this one also went to seven games. The Boston Celtics were the No. 2 seed last season, but enter this series as the No. 4 seed with the Milwaukee Bucks holding the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Although I love the play of Kyrie Irving and think Brad Stevens is an incredible coach, the Bucks will be a tough out.
Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t just playing at an NBA level, he has a legitimate case to top James Harden for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award. It may not happen, but I’m not sold any team in the East can take down the Bucks this season, and I’m backing the Greek Freak.
Prediction: Bucks in seven
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets Prediction
The Denver Nuggets were able to survive a near first-round upset at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, and now they draw a red-hot Portland Trail Blazers team. While I love Nikola Jokic’s game and think the Nuggets have a serious chance to advance, I’m going to roll with the Blazers.
I think that Damian Lillard and company are capable of taking down a number of teams who remain in the playoffs, and are playing better basketball than Denver at this moment. It’ll be a great series regardless, but I’m going to take the Blazers to advance in six games.
Prediction: Blazers in six
Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors
If you don’t think the Rockets have revenge on their mind prior to meeting the Warriors after how last season ended, you may have missed that series. After going up 3-2, Houston lost Chris Paul to an injury and Golden State managed to complete the comeback and win the series, followed by the NBA title.
I spoke with Rockets guard Eric Gordon in March and asked if they want to see the Warriors again in the playoffs after how last year ended.
“Well yeah, for sure; you know, every year is a different year, but we definitely want to earn our chances to take on the best team … which, you know, it’s them. I definitely would love to meet them again in the playoffs, then just kind of see what happens from there.” Gordon told me.
I was buying into the Rockets regardless, but the injury to DeMarcus Cousins really hurts the Warriors in this series. Golden State is an incredible group, but not only is Mike D’Antoni’s squad talented enough to win the series, but they’ll also get the job done and advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Prediction: Rockets in six games