Ranking the 8 first-round matchups in the 2024 NBA playoffs

As the NBA playoffs draw near, basketball fans around the globe are gearing up for what promises to be an exhilarating display of talent, intensity, and drama.

With the regular season in the rearview mirror, the focus now shifts to the first round of the playoffs, where teams will battle it out in a quest for postseason glory.


The 2024 NBA playoffs are shaping up to be one of the most competitive in recent memory, with a slew of intriguing matchups set to captivate audiences.

Let’s take a closer look at the eight first-round matchups and rank them based on their potential for excitement, storylines, and star power.

1. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors

Headlined by two of the most storied franchises in NBA history, this matchup is dripping with star power and historical significance.

The defending champion Lakers, led by perennial MVP candidate LeBron James and superstar big man Anthony Davis, will square off against the dynamic duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s Golden State Warriors.

With both teams boasting multiple All-Stars and a history of postseason success, expect fireworks in this highly anticipated showdown.

2. Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat

In a clash of contrasting styles, the high-octane offense of the Brooklyn Nets will collide with the gritty defense of the Miami Heat.

Led by the superstar trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden, the Nets are poised to make a deep playoff run.

However, the Heat, led by defensive stalwart Bam Adebayo and scoring threat Tyler Herro, won’t go down without a fight.

This series has all the makings of a classic, with each game likely to be a hard-fought battle until the final buzzer.

3. Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers

A matchup between two Eastern Conference powerhouses, the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers, promises to be a clash of titans.

Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the Bucks into battle against Joel Embiid and the Sixers in what could be a battle of MVP candidates.

With both teams boasting strong supporting casts and championship aspirations, expect this series to go the distance as each squad vies for supremacy in the East.

4. Phoenix Suns vs. Dallas Mavericks

In a battle of young superstars, the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks will square off in what could be a coming-out party for the next generation of NBA talent.

Led by Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, the Suns will look to make a statement against Luka Dončić and the Mavericks.

With both teams known for their up-tempo style of play and three-point shooting prowess, this series has the potential to be a high-scoring affair with plenty of highlight-reel moments.

5. Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics

A matchup between two rising teams in the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics, promises to be a tightly contested battle.

Led by All-Star point guard Trae Young, the Hawks will look to make a splash in the playoffs against Jayson Tatum and the Celtics.

With both teams boasting young, talented rosters and a hunger for postseason success, expect this series to be closely contested from start to finish.

6. Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets

In a rematch of last year’s thrilling playoff series, the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets will once again go head-to-head in a battle for Western Conference supremacy.

Led by All-Star guards Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray, respectively, both teams play an exciting brand of basketball centered around three-point shooting and fast-paced offense.

With revenge on the minds of the Jazz and the Nuggets looking to prove last year’s playoff success was no fluke, this series has the potential to be one of the most entertaining of the first round.

7. Chicago Bulls vs. Toronto Raptors

A matchup between two teams fighting to return to playoff relevance, the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors will look to make a statement in the postseason.

Led by All-Star forward Zach LaVine, the Bulls will aim to end their playoff drought against a tough Raptors team led by Pascal Siakam.

While both teams may not have the star power of some of the other matchups, expect this series to be fiercely competitive as each squad looks to take the next step in their journey toward contention.

8. New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers

Rounding out the first-round matchups are the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers, two teams with something to prove as they battle for playoff positioning.

Led by All-Star forward Julius Randle, the Knicks will look to recapture the magic of their early-season success against a Pacers team led by Domantas Sabonis.

While both teams may be underdogs in the grand scheme of the playoffs, don’t count them out just yet, as they have the potential to surprise in what could be a hard-fought series.

As the NBA playoffs get underway, basketball fans are in for a treat with a slate of first-round matchups that promise to deliver excitement, drama, and unforgettable moments.

From clashes between perennial contenders to battles between up-and-coming teams, the stage is set for a postseason extravaganza that will keep fans on the edge of their seats until the final buzzer sounds. Let the games begin!

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