The first round of the NBA Playoffs were pretty predictable for almost every series. The second round has helped remove some of the clutter, but it looks like all but one matchup will be a breeze.
Golden State will get by New Orleans in four or five games. It doesn’t matter if Curry returns, the Warriors will shut down Jrue Holiday, Nikola Mirotic and Rajon Rondo with Andre Iguodala, David West and Draymond Green, JaVale Mcgee and Shaun Livingston. the Warriors have way more weapons that the Pelicans have, they’ll make this fast.
Same thing can be said about the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz. Clint Capela and James Harden can get past Rudy Gobert easily, and he’s one of if not their best player. This shouldn’t go further than five.
In the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers were drained of a lot of their energy since Coach Lue had only 10 players active. However, the Toronto Raptors have always shrunk away from LeBron James and whatever team he’s on, and although the Raptors look like the superior team, James knows their number, and I bet it won’t take the Cavs seven games. Probably five or six.
The best series is the last one mentioned. The wounded Boston Celtics come home to face the Philadelphia 76ers in TD Garden. The 76ers smashed the Miami Heat, so it would be surprising if Boston doesn’t put up more of a fight. These two teams are the future of the NBA, and this will probably be the first of many epic playoff series for years to come, but unfortunately for Boston, they don’t have the depth to stop Philly’s deep roster.
The NBA Playoffs are underway and given that I did predictions for the NBA Western Conference, my picks for the Eastern Conference should be a little bit easier.
The Raptors wrapped up their season becoming the number 1 seed in the East. They’ll play the spiraling Wizards, who thought they would clinch the South. Since Scott Brooks isn’t a good coach or no where close to being Steve Kerr, the Wizards will bow out early, but it will probably be a six game set since the Raptors are a sensitive team.
The Battle of Green will start in TD Gardens as the Boston Celtics will take on the Milwaukee Bucks. With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward out for the season, the Celtics need players to step up, but only a certain amount of points can be scored for Milwaukee and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo will probably finish as a finalist of the NBA’s MVP award, something he deserves. I can’t see Boston containing the Bucks all series, but it will be a scrap. Bucks in 5
The old men Miami Heat will face off against the young and ripe Philadelphia 76ers. The last time the Sixers made the playoffs Derrick Rose was NBA MVP, Doug Collins was their coach and Jrue Holliday and Andre Iguodala were the top players. After being pathetic for most of this decade, the Sixers led by Joel Embiid are one of if not the hottest team in the NBA right now. The only thing that could slow them down would be a swing in momentum to the veteran Heat team they play, something Dwyane Wade is very familiar with in Coach Spoelstra. Still, Sixers have more talent and more energy, and may make this a five or six game series.
Last but not least, a divisional matchup between the Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs aren’t as powerful as they would like, especially with a 10 man roster going in, but this is a team with LeBron James and a roster that fits his flow. The Pacers with Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Lance Stephenson and Trevor Booker will be a scrappy matchup, especially since this is the only divisional matchup in the first-round in the East. While I don’t see the Pacers winning this series, they should take this to six games and give the King and his team fits, and wear them out throughout the course of the postseason.
The NBA season fantastically ended this past Wednesday, with most notably the Minnesota Timberwolves beating the Denver Nuggets in overtime 112-106 to get the last seed in the Western Conference. They’re penciled in to face the Houston Rockets in the first round. Speaking of which, that should lead me to start playoff predictions with this matchup.
The Rockets have the best record in the NBA this season and have the hottest offense in the entire NBA. It’s very hard to contain this team to under 100 points, but fortunately the T-Wolves have the best defensive minded coach in the league in Tom Thibodeau. The matchups involving James Harden, Chris Paul, Eric Gordon and Gerald Green, as well as a scorching bench against Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague will make this an exciting series. If the Wolves can lock down most of the roster and stay clear of foul trouble, I got them winning in seven.
Everyone knows the San Antonio Spurs have been struggling this season and Kawhi Leonard is probably going to leave after this season. The Golden State Warriors have been slumping a bit but their core has been resting, and they’re ready for the playoffs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Warriors sweep the Spurs, but Coach Popp has shown to pull rabbits out of his coaching hat before.
The Portland Trailblazers won a decisive game at home against the Utah Jazz and will have the 3rd Seed. With that in mind, the New Orleans Pelicans aren’t a joke. Still, without Demarcus Cousins, the Pelicans have been up and down while the Blazers have been a legitimate title contender this season. The Blazers will probably make this a five game series.
Last but definitely not least in this conference the Utah Jazz have a thrilling matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder were made for the playoffs, as can be seen by their offseason acquisitions. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony will have a time against the Jazz, but I expect Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum and Jae Crowder to give them fits. Thunder in 7.