NBA playoffs 2021 – Experts’ predictions for Round 1


The 16-team field for the 2021 NBA playoffs is set. The Boston Celtics captured the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win over the Washington Wizards, who took advantage of their second chance and secured the No. 8 seed with a blowout win over the Indiana Pacers.

The Los Angeles Lakers picked up their No. 7 seed with a thrilling victory over the Golden State Warriors. And the Memphis Grizzlies landed the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with an overtime win over the Warriors.

With the defending champs officially in the field of 16, how do they stack up against the Phoenix Suns? Can the Celtics build off their play-in momentum and challenge the high-powered Brooklyn Nets?

How many sweeps will there be in the first round? What about historic upsets? Our experts make their predictions for the final play-in game and every first-round matchup.

MORE: What to know for the 2021 playoffs | Full playoff schedule

Eastern Conference: Round 1

Jerry Bembry: Sixers in 5

Nick DePaula: Sixers in 6

Nick Friedell: Sixers in 5

Kirk Goldsberry: Sixers in 5

Tim Legler: Sixers in 6

Zach Lowe: Sixers in 5

Tim MacMahon: Sixers in 5

Bobby Marks: Sixers in 4

Dave McMenamin: Sixers in 6

Monica McNutt: Sixers in 6

Kevin Pelton: Sixers in 5

Omar Raja: Sixers in 5

Jorge Sedano: Sixers in 6

Ramona Shelburne: Sixers in 5

André Snellings: Sixers in 5

Marc J. Spears: Sixers in 5

Royce Young: Sixers in 6

Ohm Youngmisuk: Sixers in 6


Final tally: Sixers (18).

Jerry Bembry: Nets in 5

Nick DePaula: Nets in 5

Nick Friedell: Nets in 5

Kirk Goldsberry: Nets in 6

Tim Legler: Nets in 5

Zach Lowe: Nets in 5

Tim MacMahon: Nets in 5

Bobby Marks: Nets in 4

Dave McMenamin: Nets in 5

Monica McNutt: Nets in 5

Kevin Pelton: Nets in 5

Omar Raja: Nets in 5

Jorge Sedano: Nets in 5

Ramona Shelburne: Nets in 4

André Snellings: Nets in 5

Marc J. Spears: Nets in 6

Royce Young: Nets in 5

Ohm Youngmisuk: Nets in 6


Final tally: Nets (18).

Jerry Bembry: Heat in 6

Nick DePaula: Heat in 6

Nick Friedell: Bucks in 6

Kirk Goldsberry: Bucks in 7

Tim Legler: Heat in 7

Zach Lowe: Bucks in 7

Tim MacMahon: Bucks in 7

Bobby Marks: Bucks in 6

Dave McMenamin: Bucks in 7

Monica McNutt: Bucks in 7

Kevin Pelton: Bucks in 7

Omar Raja: Heat in 7

Jorge Sedano: Heat in 7

Ramona Shelburne: Bucks in 7

André Snellings: Bucks in 6

Marc J. Spears: Bucks in 7

Royce Young: Bucks in 6

Ohm Youngmisuk: Bucks in 7


Final tally: Bucks (13), Heat (5).

Jerry Bembry: Knicks in 6

Nick DePaula: Knicks in 6

Nick Friedell: Knicks in 6

Kirk Goldsberry: Knicks in 6

Tim Legler: Knicks in 6

Zach Lowe: Hawks in 6

Tim MacMahon: Knicks in 6

Bobby Marks: Knicks in 7

Dave McMenamin: Knicks in 6

Monica McNutt: Knicks in 6

Kevin Pelton: Knicks in 7

Omar Raja: Knicks in 7

Jorge Sedano: Knicks in 7

Ramona Shelburne: Knicks in 5

André Snellings: Hawks in 6

Marc J. Spears: Knicks in 6

Royce Young: Hawks in 7

Ohm Youngmisuk: Knicks in 7


Final tally: Knicks (15), Hawks (3).

Western Conference: Round 1

Jerry Bembry: Jazz in 5

Nick DePaula: Jazz in 6

Nick Friedell: Jazz in 5

Kirk Goldsberry: Jazz in 5

Tim Legler: Jazz in 6

Zach Lowe: Jazz in 5

Tim MacMahon: Jazz in 5

Bobby Marks: Jazz in 5

Dave McMenamin: Jazz in 5

Monica McNutt: Jazz in 6

Kevin Pelton: Jazz in 5

Omar Raja: Jazz in 6

Jorge Sedano: Jazz in 5

Ramona Shelburne: Jazz in 7

André Snellings: Jazz in 5

Marc J. Spears: Jazz in 5

Royce Young: Jazz in 5

Ohm Youngmisuk: Jazz in 6


Final tally: Jazz (18).

Jerry Bembry: Lakers in 6

Nick DePaula: Lakers in 6

Nick Friedell: Lakers in 6

Kirk Goldsberry: Lakers in 7

Tim Legler: Lakers in 6

Zach Lowe: Lakers in 6

Tim MacMahon: Lakers in 6

Bobby Marks: Suns in 6

Dave McMenamin: Lakers in 6

Monica McNutt: Lakers in 7

Kevin Pelton: Lakers in 7

Omar Raja: Lakers in 7

Jorge Sedano: Lakers in 6

Ramona Shelburne: Lakers in 6

André Snellings: Lakers in 7

Marc J. Spears: Lakers in 6

Royce Young: Lakers in 7

Ohm Youngmisuk: Lakers in 6


Final tally: Lakers (17), Suns (1).

Jerry Bembry: Nuggets in 7

Nick DePaula: Blazers in 7

Nick Friedell: Nuggets in 7

Kirk Goldsberry: Nuggets in 7

Tim Legler: Blazers in 7

Zach Lowe: Blazers in 7

Tim MacMahon: Nuggets in 6

Bobby Marks: Nuggets in 7

Dave McMenamin: Nuggets in 6

Monica McNutt: Blazers in 7

Kevin Pelton: Blazers in 6

Omar Raja: Nuggets in 6

Jorge Sedano: Blazers in 7

Ramona Shelburne: Nuggets in 7

André Snellings: Blazers in 7

Marc J. Spears: Blazers in 7

Royce Young: Blazers in 7

Ohm Youngmisuk: Nuggets in 7


Final tally: Blazers (9), Nuggets (9).

Jerry Bembry: Clippers in 6

Nick DePaula: Clippers in 6

Nick Friedell: Clippers in 6

Kirk Goldsberry: Clippers in 7

Tim Legler: Clippers in 6

Zach Lowe: Clippers in 6

Tim MacMahon: Clippers in 7

Bobby Marks: Clippers in 6

Dave McMenamin: Clippers in 5

Monica McNutt: Clippers in 6

Kevin Pelton: Clippers in 6

Omar Raja: Clippers in 7

Jorge Sedano: Clippers in 6

Ramona Shelburne: Clippers in 5

André Snellings: Clippers in 5

Marc J. Spears: Clippers in 6

Royce Young: Mavericks in 7

Ohm Youngmisuk: Clippers in 6


Final tally: Clippers (17), Mavericks (1).



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