The 2021-22 NBA season has wrapped up. In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics finished at the top of the Atlantic Division, the Milwaukee Bucks won the Central Division and the Miami Heat placed first in the Southeast. Besides those clubs, the Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls secured playoff spots. As for the play-in tournament, that is made up of the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets.
As for the Western Conference, the division winners were the Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns (who had the best record in the NBA). The additional playoff teams in the West are the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks. The Western Conference play-in tournament clubs are the Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans and the San Antonio Spurs.
The play-in tournament takes place between April 12-15 and the official first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs starts on Saturday, April 16.
2022 NBA Championship Odds
|To Win 2022 NBA Championship|
|Golden State Warriors||+825||+825||+1100||+892|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+3300||+3300||+3300||+3850|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+50000||+50000||+30000||+40000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+75000||+75000||+50000||+65000|
The Phoenix Suns began the year in a race with the Golden State Warriors as the top team in the NBA and finished the season with no one near them in the standings. Phoenix had a record of 64-18 to finish the year. The next best team in the league was the Memphis Grizzlies at 56-26. The Suns’ 64 wins set a franchise record.
Phoenix’s previous high in wins was 62, a number the club hit on two previous occasions. The first year they finished 62-20 was during the 1992-93 season, Phoenix went to the NBA Finals. The Suns also had a 62-20 record in 2004-05. They lost in the Western Conference Finals that year.
Phoenix represented the Western Conference in the NBA Finals in 2021 — where they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks — look to them to represent the West again in 2022.
Milwaukee looks to repeat
The Milwaukee Bucks finished the 2021 season with a record of 46-26. The team won the NBA title last season. This year, the club had a better regular season record at 51-31. Like last year, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had an MVP quality season, led the team. Antetokounmpo, who is the reigning NBA Finals MVP, finished the regular season with 29.9 points per game, which is a career best for the former regular season MVP.
Milwaukee might not have played as well as some expected during the 2022 season, but by no means was the season a disappointment for the defending champs. The Bucks are in a great position to win the Eastern Conference portion of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
Brooklyn is in the hunt
The Brooklyn Nets were one of the preseason favorites to win the 2022 NBA Championship. The Nets season didn’t go as poorly as that of another preseason favorite, the Los Angeles Lakers, but with Brooklyn in the play-in round of the playoffs, the season was not a success.
Brooklyn has a shot to win the 2022 NBA title, but it is a (very) long shot. The reason the team has any hope is that they have Kevin Garnett and Kyrie Irving on the club. With that being said, the Nets have not been consistent this year.
The one positive to the end of the season for the Nets is that they finished on a four game winning streak. However, a 2-4 run preceded that stretch of victories.
Golden State stays alive
Here is a number that is worrisome for the Golden State Warriors — 11. That’s the number of minutes Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson played together during the 2022 NBA regular season. That’s not great for a team heading into the playoffs. Also not great is that the Warriors went 12-16 after February 9. The Warriors are really going to need to turn things around if they hope to make it to the 2022 NBA Finals.
There’s no reason to believe the 2022 NBA Finals won’t be a rematch of the 2021 NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks. However, I believe the outcome of that series will be different. If both teams can stay healthy for the playoff runs, look for the Phoenix Suns to win the 2022 NBA Championship.
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