2020 NBA Playoff Simulation

As the NBA’s restart approaches, we ran a 2020 NBA Playoff simulation to see how the virtual Celtics perform inside the bubble. Boston has no easy path, they’ll have to go through a combination of the Bucks, Sixers, Heat, and Raptors to get to the NBA Finals, and even then the Celtics will surely meet one of the LA teams.

Simulation rules: Whichever team is favored gets home court and for Boston, that was only in the first round.

First Round

In the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoff simulation, the third-seeded Celtics were matched up with the Victor Oladipo-less Indiana Pacers. Jaylen Brown came ready to play finishing the series averaging 22 points and eight rebounds per game.

Boston got punched in the mouth in game one but reacted well against a starless Pacers squad with three straight blowout wins.

  • Game 1: Indiana 109 – Boston 97
  • Game 2: Boston 121 – Indiana 101
  • Game 3: Boston 111 – Indiana 93
  • Game 4: Boston 130 – Indiana 113
  • Game 5: Indiana 101 – Boston 99
  • Game 6: Boston 113 – Indiana 100

Series: (4-2) Boston advances

Semi-Finals

Facing the defending-champion Toronto Raptors in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoff simulation, Boston meets its first real challenge. Kemba Walker gave the Celtics the edge in this series scoring over 30 points per game. With Boston up three games to one, Toronto responded…

  • Game 1: Boston 98 – Toronto 89
  • Game 2: Toronto 106 – Boston 103
  • Game 3: Boston 113 – Toronto 105
  • Game 4: Boston 106 – Toronto 95
  • Game 5: Toronto 100 – Boston 91
  • Game 6: Toronto 103 – Boston 99
  • Game 7: Boston 115 – Toronto 111

Series: (4-3) Boston advances

Eastern Conference Finals

UPSET ALERT: Eliminating the Bucks in just FIVE games, the Sixers came into this series with the momentum. With Brown practically non-existent since round one, Boston leaned on Jayson Tatum to get by Philly and boy did he deliver.

Backs against the wall, down two games to one, Tatum scored 42, 38, and 37 in the closeout game, leading Boston to the NBA Finals for the first time in 10 years.

  • Game 1: Boston 110 – Philadelphia 101
  • Game 2: Philadelphia 131 – Boston 122
  • Game 3: Philadelphia 118 – Boston 109
  • Game 4: Boston 115 – Philadelphia 109
  • Game 5: Boston 117 – Philadelphia 92
  • Game 6: Boston 112 – Philadelphia 101

Series: (4-2) Boston advances

Western Conference

Finishing off the Thunder in five games, the Lakers were slightly favored over the Clippers, who knocked off the Rockets in six games behind a dominant performance from Kawhi Leonard. But in the Western Conference Finals, it was LeBron James and Anthony Davis who dominated Game 7, sending the Lakers to the NBA Finals to face the Boston Celtics.

NBA Finals

To conclude the 2020 NBA Playoffs simulation, the historic rivalry of the Celtics and Lakers has been revived. In their previous 12 NBA Finals appearances, Boston has the upper hand winning nine of them. During Tatum’s playoff campaign as a rookie, the Celtics came close to, but have not gotten past LeBron James since 2010. Off to a slow start, down 2-0, Kemba Walker and the Celtics won a pivotal Game 3.

  • Game 1: LA Lakers 128 – Boston 106
  • Game 2: LA Lakers 125 – Boston 101
  • Game 3: Boston 96 – LA Lakers 91
  • Game 4: LA Lakers 119 – Boston 104
  • Game 5: Boston 113 – LA Lakers 108
  • Game 6: Boston 110 – LA Lakers 107
  • Game 7: Boston 123 – LA Lakers 111

NBA Champion: Boston Wins (4-3)

Finals MVP: Jayson Tatum

Trailing three games to one in the NBA Finals and Anthony Davis putting up 41 points per game, and with still no sign of Brown, the Celtics were in a hole. The rise of Jayson Tatum was clear though after scoring 35+ in back-to-back games. In the seventh game of the 2020 NBA Playoff simulation, LeBron’s 40/9/8 line was not enough for the Lakers as Tatum and Brown combined for 60 points to complete the 3-1 comeback. Shooting 48% from the field and 42% from three in the series on 29 ppg, Tatum led the Celtics to their 18th championship and awarded Finals MVP.

Given the talent, youth, and dedicated culture, Boston has a real shot at securing Banner 18. The NBA has a solid plan for a return, but it will take every single player’s cooperation to achieve. Congratulations to the NBA Champion Boston Celtics, as this concludes our 2020 NBA Playoff Simulation.

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Adam Kemp

TheCelticsJournal - Senior Writer

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