For the past three years, it's been the Warriors and Cavs in the NBA Finals, with the Warriors winning two of the three NBA Finals appearances. This season, there are many teams that are ready to dethrone the Warriors and Cavs of being the best team in the conference. In the western conference, the Rockets took the number one seed with the Warriors coming second. The Thunder also made some moves to improve their roster from last year’s short-lived playoff run in order to hopefully make a longer playoff run this year. In the eastern conference, the Raptors took the number one seed for the first time in franchise history and the Cavs ended up finishing fourth.

With the 2018 Nba Playoffs getting underway today, here are some predictions for this year’s NBA playoffs.

Bucks beat the Celtics to get to the second round

In the off-season, the Celtics revamped their roster which resulted in almost everyone on the roster playing their first year on the Celtics. They brought in Gordon Hayward on a four-year, $128 million contract in order to help combat LeBron and the Cavs in the postseason. Problem is, he's gone as he injured himself in the first game of the season which resulted in a season-ending injury. The Celtics also traded for Kyrie Irving to improve their roster and to make a deep playoff run. He's gone too as he underwent season-ending knee surgery a couple weeks ago.

This leaves the Celtics with Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum to lead the Celtics as far as they can go in the playoffs.

Horford, an 11 year NBA veteran, finished the season averaging 12.9 points, 4.7 assists, and 7.4 rebounds. In 92 career playoff games, Horford is averaging 13.4 points, 3.5 assists, and eight rebounds. With Horford being the best player available for the Celtics, he's going to need to score much more than 13 points a game which could very well happen as he will be most relied on during the postseason for Boston.

Brown and Celtics rookie Tatum are also going to be heavily relied on during the postseason. Tatum who was selected third overall in last year’s draft averaged 13.9 points, 1.6 assists and five rebounds in his NBA debut year. Brown, who was also a third overall pick but in the 2016 draft, averaged 14.5 points, 1.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds in his second year in the NBA. Brown who appeared in the postseason with the Celtics last year, averaged 5 points, 0.8 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 17 games which he came off the bench in all of them. He also only averaged 12.6 minutes per game in the postseason last year but he should receive much more playing time than that in the 2018 NBA playoffs.

The second seed Celtics are squaring off against the seventh seed Bucks who finished the season with a 44-38 record. The Bucks have one of the best players in the game in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who's known as the "Greek Freak". Giannis was an MVP favorite at the beginning of the year and could possibly end up winning the award. This season, he averaged 26.9 points, 3.8 assists, and 10 rebounds. That's not all the Bucks have though as they also got Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe who they acquired from the Suns during the season. Middleton averaged 20.1 points, three assists, and 4.1 rebounds while Bledsoe with both the Suns and Bucks combined averaged 17.7 points, five assists, and 3.8 rebounds in the 2017-18 season.

During the season, both teams split the matchups when they faced each other with both teams winning two games apiece. The last time they met was April 3 which the Bucks won 106-102. With the Bucks not having to face Irving in the postseason, the seventh seed Bucks are going to be the ones that are making it past the first round.

Cavs sweep Pacers

LeBron James has won 21 consecutive first-round postseason games. The last time he lost a postseason game in the first round was back in 2012 when he was a member of the Heat which they lost game four of the first round in the 2012 playoffs against the Knicks. In LeBron's career in the first round of the playoffs, he has a record of 46 wins and only five losses. Expect LeBron's first-round postseason record to be 50 wins and five losses after the first round of the 2018 NBA playoffs as the Cavs will sweep the Pacers.

As the Pacers traded George to the Thunder in the off-season, they don't have a superstar that can play with LeBron to even have a shot at winning. The Pacers do have Victor Oladipo (who was one of the players the Pacers got in return for George) who averaged 23.1 points, 4.3 assists, and 5.2 rebounds and was also an all-star for the first time in his career this season but he is still far off from LeBron who averaged close to a triple-double season with 27.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds this season.

Pelicans upset the Trailblazers

The third seed Trailblazers are up against the sixth seed Pelicans and it will be the Pelicans that are going to the next round. Even without DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans can still square up evenly with the Trailblazers. The Pelicans have a perennial MVP candidate in Anthony Davis who averaged 28.1 points, 2.3 assists, and 11.1 rebounds. They also have Jrue Holiday who is a very underrated player in the NBA. This season, he averaged 19 points, six assists, and 4.5 rebounds. The Pelicans also have Mirotic, Moore, and Rondo who will be contributors to the Pelicans during the postseason.

The Trailblazers have an underrated but cocky player in Damian Lillard who averaged 26.9 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.5 rebounds. They also have McCollum who averaged 21.4 points, 3.4 assists, and four rebounds. They also have Nurkic and Aminu who will also contribute to the Trailblazers in the postseason.

While both teams are pretty even (especially since the Pelicans don't have Cousins), the Pelicans have a bit more which will help them get past the Trailblazers and into the second round. The Trailblazers are lucky that Cousins won't be playing as if he was, there would be no chance they would win the series.

A very very very bold prediction

Everyone wants to be the best. Everyone wants to have that first place trophy or that medal you get for coming first place in whatever you do. This season, the Raptors finished first place in the eastern conference for the first time in franchise history with a record of 59-23 and the Rockets finished first in the western conference with a record of 65-17. The Raptors face the Wizards in the first round while the Rockets get the Timberwolves. While first place in the regular season is great, that doesn't necessarily mean postseason success. What I mean by that is, both the Rockets and Raptors will be eliminated in the first round.

The Raptors split the regular season matchups with the Wizards with both teams winning two games each. The Raptors have DeRozan who averaged 23 points a game but after him, the Raptors don't have a player who averaged close to 20 points a game as Lowry only averaged 16.2, Ibaka only averaged 12.6 and Valanciunas only averaged 12.7. The Wizards leading scorer is Bradley Beal who averaged 22.6 points a game but they also have players who can put up a good amount of points as Wall averaged 19.4 points and he also missed time with an injury, Porter Jr averaged 14.7 points a game and they also got guys like Markieff Morris, Ty Lawson, Oubre Jr and others.

The Rockets have superstar players in Harden and Paul. Harden averaged 30.4 points, 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds which have put him in the MVP conversation. Paul averaged 18.6 points, 7.9 assists, and 5.4 rebounds in the regular season. They also got Gordon who averaged 18 points and Capela who averaged 13.9 points and 10.8 rebounds. While the Rockets have some very good players, their first-round opponent, the Minnesota Timberwolves also have some very good players as well. They've got Towns who they took with the first overall selection back in 2015 and averaged 21.3 points, 2.4 assists, and 12.3 rebounds this season. They've also got Jimmy Butler who averaged 22.2 points, 4.9 assists, and 5.3 rebounds. That's not all they've got though as they also have Wiggins who averaged 17.7 points, Teague who averaged 14.2 points along with Gibson and Rose who will contribute to the Timberwolves postseason run.

While both the Raptors and Rockets are good teams, it will be the Wizards and Timberwolves that will be moving on as they have more than what their opponents have. The last time an eighth seed team beat a first seed team was in 2012 when the eighth seed 76ers beat the first seed Bulls. The 2018 NBA playoffs won't only see one but will see two first seed teams going home early.

NBA finals

In the last three years, the Warriors have won two NBA championships and the Cavs won the other. None of them are winning this year as the 2018 NBA finals will see the Thunder and 76ers facing each other to be crowned champions. The 76ers will take down LeBron and the Cavs in seven games and the Thunder's trio of Westbrook, George and Anthony will have no problem finding their chemistry as they will take down the Warriors in seven games as well.

With the 76ers finishing near the bottom of the standings the past few years, going to the NBA finals will be a nice reward for their rebuild that they have completed and it will be a nice end to "The Process". The Thunder brought in George and Anthony in the off-season to get the Thunder deep into the playoffs which will pay off by making the 2018 NBA finals.

The Thunder won both regular-season matchups with the 76ers with scores of 119-117 which they won in triple overtime and 122-12. At the beginning of the season, former NBA player Paul Pierce predicted that the Thunder would win it all this year. While the finals between the Thunder and 76ers will be a hard-fought battle, the Thunder will be the ones that come out as victorious and will prove Paul Pierce right which they will do in game seven. An NBA finals [VIDEO] [VIDEO] win would be a nice addition to Russell Westbrook's career accolades and would also be a nice finish to his 2017-18 season where he averaged a triple-double for the second straight season [VIDEO] [VIDEO].