A young fan wearing Boston’s gear/by Matthew Moloney

When it comes to the playoffs, everyone has one goal in mind. They want to win a championship. Every team has made it this far, and while some teams are more experienced than others, anything can happen. With the second round officially underway, it is a great time to look at some of the remaining teams and which teams have the best chances of winning it all. Here are three favorites that could win it all.

1.) Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are the first seed of the Eastern Conference. They finished the regular season with a record of 64-18. Boston played the Miami Heat in the first round and beat them 4-1. The Heat were without Jimmy Butler, but as the team that beat the Celtics in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics had to feel good about this win.

The Celtics made the NBA Finals back in 2021-22 and lost to the Golden State Warriors in a 4-2 series. The Celtics have one of the top duos in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and this could be the year this duo can add a championship to their resume. As a team that has been to the big stage, came up short, and has since then made moves that could put them over the hump (like Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis), the Celtics have what it takes to win. If they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round and beat either the New York Knicks or the Indiana Pacers, they could be steps closer to their goal. The Celtics won Game 1 over the Cavs and will continue the series on Thursday.

2.) Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks played well in their first-round matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers. They beat the Clippers 4-2. The Mavericks are back in the playoffs, after missing them last year. They did so by finishing the regular season with a record of 50-32. The Mavericks are the fifth seed of the West, and with their win over the Clippers, they are gearing up for a second-round matchup with the No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder had a strong season (as they finished with a record of 57-25), but the Mavericks could take the series. The Thunder did beat the Mavericks 3-1 in their regular season matchups, but with the stakes being higher, the Mavericks should have no problems winning. With Luka Donic and Kyrie Irving leading the way, the Mavericks could finally be on the verge of winning a championship. The Mavericks lost Game 1 against the Thunder, but can still potentially win the series.

3.) Minnesota Timberwolves

This next spot goes to a team making a splash in the second round. The Minnesota Timberwolves are 2-0 in their series against the Denver Nuggets. They also knocked out the Phoenix Suns in the first round. They beat the Suns 4-0. The Timberwolves are looking like an experienced playoff team (that has advanced further than the first round). They made the playoffs in 2021-22, which was the first time they made the playoffs since 2017-18. They were knocked out by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round in 2021-22, and last year, they lost to the Nuggets in the first round. The Timberwolves were ready for this series, and now head to Minnesota with a lead over Denver. Their young star Anthony Edwards continues to play at a high level, and with the support of teammates like Karl Anthony-Towns, Naz Reid (the Sixth Man of the Year), and Rudy Gobert (the Defensive Player of the Year), the Timberwolves could go far. Or, they are at least on people’s radar. The Nuggets are a veteran team but are in a tough spot. If they can come back and somehow win the series, they have to be considered a threat. But that is easier said than done. So, while they would normally fit at this spot, the Timberwolves have taken over. 

The playoffs are exciting. This year is the perfect time for young talent to showcase their skills. With players like Steph Curry, LeBron James and Kevin Durant out, younger players like Edwards, Brown, Tatum, Jalen Brunson, and Tyrese Haliburton are in the spotlight. And one of these players and their teams could be headed to the big stage.