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2024 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Matchups

By Hank Blaine

The NBA Playoffs tip off on Saturday, April 20. The Oklahoma City Thunder awaits the winner of Friday’s matchup between the Sacramento Kings and the New Orleans Pelicans. Other than Oklahoma City waiting to find out their opponent, the rest of the NBA Western Conference first-round matchups are set. Check out 2024 NBA Playoffs Western Conference matchups, analysis, and picks, including analysis and a pick for the Thunder versus either Kings or Pelicans.

2024 NBA Playoffs Western Conference First Round Matchups

1-Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 8-Sacramento Kings / New Orleans Pelicans

Oklahoma City doesn’t care if the play the Kings or the Pelicans. Neither Sacramento nor New Orleans is going to stop Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from taking over this series.

During the regular season, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 30.1 points, 5.5 boards, and 6.2 assists per game. SGA is one of three players, Nikola Jokic and Luca Doncic are the other two, in the running for this year’s NBA MVP.

No doubt, Shai will want to show why he’s attracting MVP votes. The Thunder roll to a 4-0 series sweep of the Kings or the Pels.

2024 NBA Playoffs Round 1 Series Pick: New Orleans Pelicans

2-Denver Nuggets vs. 7-Los Angeles Lakers

On paper, Nuggets versus Lakers should be a competitive series. We know it won’t be. The Lakers have nobody, this includes LeBron and AD, capable of stopping Nikola Jokic.

Nobody in the NBA does. So Jokic will get his points. Denver though is more than just Nikola. Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who used to be a Laker, and Michael Porter Jr. are all capable of scoring 30 on any given night. Lakers might win a game, but that’s it.

2024 NBA Playoffs Round 1 Series Pick: Denver Nuggets

3-Minnesota Timberwolves vs. 6-Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, and Kevin Durant will do what they can. The Suns, though, won’t be able to stop Rudy Gobert and Karl Anthony-Towns from taking over the series early and marching the T’Wolves to the second round.

Minnesota also boasts one of the NBA’s top backcourts in Mike Conley, one of the league’s few pure point guards, and star Anthony Edwards.

2024 NBA Playoffs Round 1 Series Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves

4-LA Clippers vs. 5-Dallas Mavericks

Dallas doesn’t have much after Luca Doncic. Still, the Mavericks are the pick to win the series because Kawhi Leonard lists as questionable.

James Harden and Paul George will do what they can. But without Kawhi, the Clippers aren’t nearly as good. Kyrie Irving, the Mav’s starting shooting guard, averages 26 points per game. Doncic and Irving can bring the ball up the court. Dallas gets it done.

2024 NBA Playoffs Round 1 Series Pick: Dallas Mavericks

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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

READ MORE: 2024 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Matchups