NBA Conference Finals Predictions for Celtics Pacers, Timberwolves Mavericks

Pacers Mavericks

The NBA Conference Finals kick off on Tuesday night with Game 1 between the No. 6 seeded Indiana Pacers and No. 1 seeded Boston Celtics.

Then, on Wednesday night, Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals kicks off between the No. 5 seeded Dallas Mavericks and No. 3 seeded Minnesota Timberwolves.

Just like everyone thought, right?

The 2024 NBA postseason has brought tons of surprises, and a champion will be crowned in about a month — one that hasn't won the title in at least a decade.

The Mavericks are the most recent winner remaining with their 2011 championship, and that's followed by the Celtics in 2008. The Pacers have never won an NBA title, while the Timberwolves have never even appeared in an NBA Finals.

Will that change this season? Let's find out:

Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers Eastern Conference Finals Prediction

The Celtics enter Tuesday night's Game 1 as heavy favorites in the series, and rightfully so. Boston was the NBA's best team all season long, and have continued that run in the postseason with back-to-back gentleman's sweeps of the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Celtics are without their star big man in Kristaps Porzingis, who's dealing with a soleus strain and will miss at least the beginning of the series. The Pacers are also red hot after shooting an NBA-record 67.1 percent from the field in their Game 7 win over the Knicks. The Celtics haven't played since May 15.

Expect the Pacers to come out hot in Game 1, and potentially get the first punch in the first half of Game 1. The Celtics' star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown should be able to punch back, though, while Derrick White, Al Horford, and Jrue Holiday make life difficult for Indiana on both ends of the court.

The Celtics will take the first two games at home, while the Pacers will take Game 3 and 4 at home. Then, the Celtics will take Game 5 back at home, and close out the series in Indiana in Game 6 to reach the NBA Finals for the second time in three years.

This series will be better than the odds say, though.

Prediction: Celtics in 6.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Dallas Mavericks Western Conference Finals Prediction

On the flip side, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving make up the NBA's best backcourt, and trade deadline acquisitions Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington have proven crucial to Dallas' deep postseason run.

This should be one of the most exciting series of the postseason, with three of the league's best scorers going shot for shot. Both teams are deep with role players, too, and the "other guys" could prove to be the X-factors in this series.

Edwards, who locked up Jamal Murray in the second half of Sunday's Game 7, said after the game that he'll be guarding Irving. Standout defender Jaden McDaniels will likely match up with Doncic.

Expect Minnesota to strike first with a Game 1 win before Dallas steals Game 2 on the road. Then, the teams will split the next four games, setting up a win-or-go-home Game 7 with a spot in the NBA Finals on the line.

Irving will again be the hero, this time for Dallas, who will make their first NBA Finals appearance since 2011. It also sets up a revenge series between Irving and his former team in the Celtics.