NBA Playoffs: Bucks – Clippers Finals?

NICHOLAS SCHINDLER

The NBA playoffs are under way in a year like none other. The playoffs are taking place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Bay Lake, Florida. This is the so-called “bubble,” where the remainder of the NBA season is being played out on a single location in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. So far, the NBA’s COVID-19 measures have been successful, as no players or coaches have tested positive yet.

After playing an eight-game slate to determine the playoff seeding, each of the 16 teams have been decided and are all vying for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. The defending champions Toronto Raptors, led by UNI alum head coach Nick Nurse have taken a 3-0 lead in their series with the Brooklyn Nets and appear ready to compete for another title. The Los Angeles Lakers out of the Western Conference and Milwaukee Bucks from the Eastern Conference are the two number one seeds in their respective conferences. Both of these teams dropped their first game of the series but both have now bounced back and have won two straight games.

These playoffs are so out of the ordinary in so many ways, but one major aspect is that there are no crowds giving the “home court” advantage to the home team. The lack of fans makes it more difficult for underdog teams to potentially steal a home game in the series, and also makes it more difficult for the players to feed off of the fan’s excitement after a big play.

Coming out of the Western Conference, I expect Lebron James and Anthony Davis to propel the Lakers to the Conference Championship against Kawhi Leonard and their cross-town rivals Los Angeles Clippers. This is the matchup that many pundits and fans all year had been expecting, and it looks like a real possibility now. Coming out of the Eastern Conference, I think the matchup will be the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics. In the end, I think we will see the Milwaukee Bucks take on the Los Angeles Clippers for an epic bubble finals showdown. Expect the Bucks, lead by MVP Giannis Anttetokounmpo to defeat the Clippers and bring the NBA title to Wisconsin for the first time.