NBA playoffs 2023: Experts' picks for the conference finals

AD confident after series win: 'We want to shock the world' (1:34)

LeBron James and Anthony Davis reflect on the Lakers' Game 6 win over the Warriors and what they're expecting in the Western Conference finals. (1:34)

As one of the most surprising postseasons in recent NBA history continues, can two play-in tournament teams shock the basketball world again in the conference finals?

The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, No. 7 and No. 8 seeds, respectively, got here with impressive six-game series wins in the second round. The Lakers took down the defending champion Golden State Warriors behind elite play from LeBron James and Anthony Davis, while the Heat rode the playoff heroics of Jimmy Butler against the New York Knicks.

But things are about to get much tougher.

L.A. faces two-time Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic and the top-seeded Denver Nuggets -- Game 1 is Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) -- while Miami meets a familiar foe in the second-seeded Boston Celtics in a rematch of last season's thrilling seven-game Eastern Conference finals.

Who will reach the NBA Finals? Our experts make their predictions.

MORE: Conf. finals schedule and news | Offseason guides


Denver Nuggets (1) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (7)

Kendra Andrews: Nuggets in 6

Jerry Bembry: Nuggets in 7

Omar Raja: Nuggets in 7

Nick DePaula: Nuggets in 6

Nick Friedell: Nuggets in 7

Israel Gutierrez: Lakers in 7

Tim Legler: Nuggets in 7

Andrew Lopez: Nuggets in 6

Tim MacMahon: Nuggets in 7

Bobby Marks: Nuggets in 7

Dave McMenamin: Lakers in 6

Kevin Pelton: Nuggets in 7

Omar Raja: Lakers in 7

Ramona Shelburne: Lakers in 6

André Snellings: Lakers in 7

Marc Spears: Lakers in 7

Ohm Youngmisuk: Nuggets in 7

Final tally: Nuggets 11, Lakers 6.

Boston Celtics (2) vs. Miami Heat (8)

Kendra Andrews: Celtics in 6

Jerry Bembry: Celtics in 6

Nick DePaula: Celtics in 6

Nick Friedell: Celtics in 6

Kirk Goldsberry: Celtics in 7

Israel Gutierrez: Celtics in 7

Tim Legler: Celtics in 7

Andrew Lopez: Celtics in 6

Tim MacMahon: Celtics in 6

Bobby Marks: Heat in 6

Dave McMenamin: Celtics in 7

Kevin Pelton: Celtics in 7

Omar Raja: Heat in 7

Jorge Sedano: Heat in 7

Ramona Shelburne: Celtics in 7

André Snellings: Celtics in 6

Marc Spears: Celtics in 6

Ohm Youngmisuk: Celtics in 7

Final tally: Celtics 15, Heat 3