NBA experts’ picks for the East finals, West finals and NBA Finals

It’s opening night of the 2021-22 NBA season, but our experts are already looking ahead to the postseason.

Will Tuesday’s game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets be an Eastern Conference finals preview?

Last year, the playoff series between the two juggernauts came down to Kevin Durant’s foot, and the Nets lost Game 7 to the eventual champion Bucks. Are these two teams destined for a rematch? And will a healthy Durant-James Harden duo be enough to topple the defending champions?

Are the retooled Los Angeles Lakers a lock to reach the Western Conference finals? Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook joined LeBron James out West, but will that be enough to contend in a tough conference? Will Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz finally turn a corner and reach the NBA Finals? Will Klay Thompson’s return lift the Golden State Warriors back to the top of the West?

And which team is primed to take it all? Will James win his fifth title? Can the Nets win a championship without a third star in Kyrie Irving? Will reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo defend his title? Our experts predict the matchups in the conference finals and NBA Finals.

MORE: Power Rankings, projections and intel for all 30 NBA teams

Eastern Conference finals

Tim Bontemps: Bucks over Nets

Jamal Collier: Nets over Bucks

Nick DePaula: Nets over Bucks

Nick Friedell: Nets over Bucks

Israel Gutierrez: Bucks over Heat

Tim Legler: Bucks over Nets

Andrew Lopez: Nets over Bucks

Tim MacMahon: Nets over Bucks

Bobby Marks: Heat over Nets

Dave McMenamin: Nets over Bucks

Kevin Pelton: Bucks over Nets

Jorge Sedano: Nets over Heat

Ramona Shelburne: Nets over Bucks

André Snellings: Bucks over Nets

Marc J. Spears: Nets over Bucks

Ohm Youngmisuk: Nets over Bucks


Results (East champion): Nets 10, Bucks 5, Heat 1.

Western Conference finals

Tim Bontemps: Jazz over Suns

Jamal Collier: Suns over Lakers

Nick DePaula: Warriors over Suns

Nick Friedell: Jazz over Lakers

Israel Gutierrez: Lakers over Jazz

Tim Legler: Lakers over Suns

Andrew Lopez: Lakers over Jazz

Tim MacMahon: Nuggets over Lakers

Bobby Marks: Jazz over Lakers

Dave McMenamin: Lakers over Suns

Kevin Pelton: Lakers over Suns

Jorge Sedano: Lakers over Nuggets

Ramona Shelburne: Lakers over Jazz

André Snellings: Lakers over Nuggets

Marc J. Spears: Lakers over Warriors

Ohm Youngmisuk: Lakers over Warriors


Results (West champion): Lakers 10, Jazz 3, Nuggets 1, Suns 1, Warriors 1.

NBA Finals

Tim Bontemps: Bucks over Jazz

Jamal Collier: Nets over Suns

Nick DePaula: Nets over Warriors

Nick Friedell: Nets over Jazz

Israel Gutierrez: Bucks over Lakers

Tim Legler: Lakers over Bucks

Andrew Lopez: Nets over Lakers

Tim MacMahon: Nets over Nuggets

Bobby Marks: Heat over Jazz

Dave McMenamin: Nets over Lakers

Kevin Pelton: Bucks over Lakers

Jorge Sedano: Lakers over Nets

Ramona Shelburne: Lakers over Nets

André Snellings: Bucks over Lakers

Marc J. Spears: Nets over Lakers

Ohm Youngmisuk: Nets over Lakers


Results (NBA champion): Nets 8, Bucks 4, Lakers 3, Heat 1.

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