The NBA is still hopeful of resuming its season and conducting the playoffs, which is good news for fans who were looking forward to some very competitive series. There are some elite teams and exciting storylines that looked to be developing as we got closer to playoff time, and it would be a shame if those never came to pass.
We can still look ahead, however, and think about exciting playoff matchups that would be great if they materialized. Here are five that we really want to see.
5. Sixers vs. Celtics
It’s been a disappointing season for the Sixers, who were expected to challenge for an Eastern Conference title. The same could have been true of the Celtics. This has turned into a potential first-round matchup, and a very intriguing one. These are division rivals, with Philadelphia having won three of the four meetings this year. The Sixers would have to overcome an awful road record, but they’re hard to beat at home. This would be a fun one.
4. Rockets vs. Thunder
This one is simple: Russell Westbrook vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs. That alone is interesting, but there’s even more here than meets the eye. The Rockets started to find success with a new, smaller lineup, while the Thunder would be out to prove that they can succeed without Westbrook. Add in Chris Paul’s return to Houston, and you have a series full of interesting storylines. The records are close enough that it’s something that could happen in the first round, too.
3. Bucks vs. Lakers
It may be simple, but this would be a potential NBA Finals matchup between the two best teams in the league record-wise. We’d be treated to a storyline of LeBron James trying to fend off Giannis Antetokounmpo’s rising star, while the Bucks have to find a way to contain Anthony Davis. Milwaukee has yet to really break through despite their great season — the Toronto Raptors saw them off in last year’s playoffs — and this would be an incredible opportunity to prove that they’re every bit as good as their record indicates.
2. Raptors vs. Bucks
A potential rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals would be one of the most exciting series of the entire playoffs. These two teams have only lost a combined 30 games this season, with Milwaukee winning both of the regular season matchups to date. The Bucks lost a tough six-game series last year, but have clearly used that to fuel their title charge this year. The Raptors, even without Kawhi Leonard, have their sights set on returning to the finals. It would spark a fantastic battle that would make for a fantastic conference final.
1. Lakers vs. Clippers
This is the Western Conference Final we all want to see. It would escalate the rivalry between the two Los Angeles teams to new levels. It would put James against Leonard in a matchup that has some intrigue of its own. It would put two of the biggest NBA superteams against each other with the Finals on the line. It would be heated and dramatic, much like the regular season games have been. It would give Leonard a chance to repeat, or James a chance to win a title with his third different team. It has the potential to be a seven-game classic between perhaps the two most talented teams in the NBA. It would honestly be a huge shame if we didn’t get to see this.