The NBA Matchups We’re Looking Forward to in the Playoffs

What you need to know:

As the NBA season reaches its closing stages, only the best teams from the regular campaign remain involved. This situation guarantees a thrilling climax to the contest, with the strongest sides battling it out for the title.

The 2023/24 season has already provided some exciting battles, and there are some pointers for success moving into the final phase. Will the best-performing teams continue to dominate, or can an underdog come through to provide an upset?

Dominant Teams

The teams with the best returns in the regular season should provide the biggest threats in the playoff rounds. In the Eastern Conference, Boston Celtics were supreme from the very start, and their record of 64 wins is by far the best of all competing teams.

In the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets topped the rankings with identical 57-25 records. Potential clashes between these teams will be among the most highly anticipated NBA matchups of the playoff rounds.

What’s In Store?

If Denver and Oklahoma City maintain their regular season form, the two sides will be on course to meet in the Western Conference Finals. There was nothing to split these teams ahead of the playoffs, and a game between the two would surely be the most exciting of all NBA matchups in 2023/24.

The head-to-head stats involving the Nuggets and the Thunder are interesting. The franchises have played each other four times already this season, and Oklahoma have a clear advantage with three wins and one defeat.

Denver’s solitary win was, however, a big one by 128-95, so the indicators are that any clash between the two teams will be tight.

Celtics’ Road to the Final

Boston Celtics cruised to the Atlantic Division title with that 64-18 record and they begin the playoffs as the number one seed from the Eastern Conference. The team with the second best record in the East were the New York Knicks, whose 50-32 return saw them finish as Atlantic runners up behind Boston.

If they repeat that form in the postseason, the Knicks and the Celtics are set to meet in the Eastern Conference Final. Boston were so dominant during the regular campaign, but in a knockout phase, there is more scope for upsets.

Basketball fans will also be aware that New York eased past the Celtics the last time these teams met. A haul of 39 points from Jalen Brunson helped the Knicks claim a 118-109 win back on April 12.

Biggest Threat to the Favorites

The top four teams in the East and West are tipped to reach the Conference finals, but if there is to be an upset, the Los Angeles Clippers may be best placed to deliver. The franchise are fourth favorites for the NBA Championship, and are destined to meet Oklahoma City in the Conference semis.

The Clippers won the Western Conference Pacific Division, before making a strong start against the Dallas Mavericks in the playoff first round. The head-to-head stats aren’t too encouraging for LA fans as the Clippers have lost four of their last five games against the Thunder.

Oklahoma City were one of the dominant teams in the West, but the Clippers could be the biggest obstacle to a place in the finals series.

A Chance for Revenge

One of the most interesting matchups was revealed as soon as the draw for the playoffs was completed. Boston Celtics were set to play the Miami Heat in the first round, and the series would be a repeat of the 2023 Eastern Conference Final.

Last year’s encounter was one of the most thrilling in NBA history. Underdogs Miami went into a 3-0 lead before Boston recovered to make it 3-3. With all to play for in the final game, Miami came through with a 103-89 scoreline to complete a historic victory.

Neutrals are hoping that the playoff game between the Celtics and the Heat can match that series for its drama.

The Final Showdown

If the seeding comes to fruition, the Boston Celtics will play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2024 NBA finals series. Upsets can happen in the interim, but neutral fans will generally want to see the best teams make it through to the final.

Based on their form and results throughout the regular season, a final showdown between Boston and Oklahoma could be among the best in National Basketball Association history.

Each top flight basketball season has its share of great games, but 2023/24 promises more great NBA matchups than in recent years. Boston are the favorites and deserve to be the team fighting for the chance to land a record-breaking 18th win in the NBA.

Boston fell at the Conference Finals stage last time out, but are out for revenge in 2024. Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets are standing in their way, and there are some mighty matchups on the cards.