THE PLAYOFFS ARE HERE BABY!!!!! As a basketball nerd, this is my favorite time of the year. I love the NFL playoffs but this is my holy grail. The NBA playoffs are a time for the league to show off its young talent. In 2007 we realize that a man who called himself King could actually become what we thought. In 2013 a skinny light skin man put on a show that let the world know that he was coming for that top spot. Who will be that guy this year? Here are previews of all the first round matchups and predictions.
This has the ability to be a great short series with many twists and turns because we do not know what to expect. The Warriors come in as a juggernaut that we thought they will be. They were the top offense and 2nd defense in the league this year. For everyone who thinks they do not play defense than you are wrong. The Blazers on the other hand struggled most of the year on the defensive end. Many thought this team underperformed throughout this year, but they came on late. After the All Star break they had the 11th rated defense in the league.
Now I have Golden State winning in 4, but that’s if Jusuf Nurkic is not able to play for Portland. Nurkic is a phenomenal center who was able to flourish in Portland. The center position is coming back guys and people like Nurkic are the reason why. If he plays I want everyone to watch him play. He is a brute with skill and swag. The guy thinks he’s the best and plays like it. I do not think Golden State has an answer for him, but they do not need one. If he plays then I believe the series goes 5.Warriors in 5
This is probably going to be the closest series or the worse. I do not believe that their is a middle for this one. The Spurs have been able to misdirect every single casual fan out there because they see the wins (61) and think they are great. The Spurs have ONE GREAT PLAYER and the rest are meh!! I know they have Lamarcus Aldridge, but he is not the same player as he was in Portland. Memphis needs some respect and they need it now. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are horribly underrated and they always show why in the playoffs.
This series is hard to predict because Tony Allen is supposed to be out and he is still an amazing defender. With him out I think the Grizzlies still have a chance. They play the Spurs incredibly close all year and this will be no difference. Mike Conley vs Kawhi is a matchup I can’t wait to see. Kawhi has turned into the best two way player in the league and this is his coming out show. Conley is a great closer in the playoffs. He can use both hands proficiently when he uses his floater, which makes him tough to guard. I have this series going 7 with the Spurs winning. Spurs in 7
(3) Houston Rockets vs (6) Oklahoma City Thunder
This is the series that everyone wants to see. The two top MVP candidates in the league will square off head to head and we can’t wait. I love this matchup because their are so many angles here. Houston is having an amazing season and many are trying to discredit it. James Harden has been the best offensive player in the league in my opinion this year. Russell Westbrook has been the most dominant force this year and now we can see who has the better team. Record wise this is easy but OKC has a guy who averaged a triple double so we have to realize this is not a regular team. Interesting to see how Westbrook plays because he cannot win this series by playing how he did in the regular season. He must trust his supporting cast to handle the a part of the load.
Now Westbrook is the player that I will watch this series because I want to see what will happen. I honestly think Westbrook will set many records this series. The one that I believe is the most possible is Michael Jordan’s scoring record. During Jordan’s second year, he scored 63 in the Boston Garden. The Bulls lost that game and series but Jordan’s legend was built from that moment. I believe Westbrook will go for 65 in one of these games. He will go full Westbrook and take over everything to make sure his team wins. The Rockets are the best team to do tha against because they do not care about defense. With that said I have the Rockets in 6 because you need a team to win not just a player. Houston in 6
(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs (5) Utah Jazz
Listen I want Utah to be great and win this series, but they pulled the worse matchup out of every team. The Clippers have to prove themselves this postseason. They suffered from injuries for the majority of the year and now they are healthy. The irony in that is they are facing a team that was injured the entire year as well in Utah. Utah is lead by its defense and my goodness is it a stout defense. Utah had the third rated defense in the league and they were led by their breakout star in Rudy Gobert.
Both teams have players you should closely watch. The Clippers need a breakout performance from Blake Griffin. Blake is not the guy we were used to a few years back. He does not try to dunk on everyone anymore, he’s changed his game to be more healthy. Blake is in the last year of his contract and it looks like he might leave, but while he is here watch him. The player on Utah you must watch is Rudy Gobert. This Frenchman has become the best defensive center in the league and he has his hands full this series. He must show why he is the future of this franchise. I believe that casual fans will be drawn to Gordon Hayward, but basketball lovers will value the work Gobert puts in for his team. With that being said I have the Clippers in 6. They have more to gain this year because this might be the end of an era. Clippers in 6
Before I start, the Eastern Conference is not interesting till the next round. With that being said this series has many mix reviews from people. People are not sold on the top seeded Celtics and with good reason. Their best player is drastically shorter than me and is the worse defender in the entire league. They have no great players and they win based off effort, but in the playoffs that goes out the window. Everyone is playing with the best effort, so what makes them better than another team. The Bulls suck though and that’s the worse part. They are living and dying on Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade being great. Now only one of those guys can be heroic and the other is living on a dream of what used to be.
This series is contingent on whether Avery Bradley of the Celtics breaks out. If you haven’t seen this man play defense then you are in for a treat. Bradley is ferocious and makes life hell for anyone that he guards. He disrupts players like Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving like no other and he gets little to no credit by the national media. With that being said I have the Celtics in 6 because the Bulls really are a bad team. Celtics in 6
This series should not be close but the Cavs have made us doubt them for many reasons. Yes, the Cavs have a great offense but that’s it. Their defense is horrible and they have to fix it if they want to get out of the 2nd round. Lebron is going to win this series and I do not think I should write about it.
The player to watch is Paul George because he is playing amazing. George is trying to remind everyone that he used to be in the MVP conversation a few years ago. George wants to win a championship and he has a decision to make soon, but before that he must prove he’s worth a team being built around him. He stole that mantle from Danny Granger 5 years ago and made the Pacers adjust their strategy for the future. This is now George’s team and expect him and Lebron to have a duel. I see this series going no more than 6 because George will win at least one game. Cavs in 6
The Raptors are REALLY GOOD but they have to prove it in these playoffs against a young scappy team. The Bucks are a very long and hungry team led by an emerging superstar in the Greek Freak(I refuse to spell his name). The Raptors have a chance to make this series quick so they can rest up for the next round. Lowry and DeRozan must show they are good enough to get over the hurdle which is Lebron. Making quick work of teams you are better than is the first step in that.
The player to watch in this series is the Greek Freak because he is phenomenal. He was asked to take over the de facto point guard duties this year and was great. He led his team in points, assist, rebounds, steals, and blocks and was the fifth guy to do that in the history of the league. The guy is fun to watch and he plays with so much passion, but his team is not ready yet to ascend to the elite levels yet. The Raptors should win this series in 5 because they are deeper and tougher. Raptors in 5
This series is probably the least interesting because one team is better than the other. The Wizards are a good team that have the ability to be amazing this postseason. A few years ago they enticed everyone with their ability to play defense and be led by their young guards. John Wall and Bradley Beal should breakout and become household names. Wall is one of the best Point guards in the league but he gets overlooked because he does not put up gaudy numbers, but he is amazing to watch. He is one. If the fasted guys in the league with the ball in his hand and he can operate a fast break. The Wizards should win this series in 5 because they are better and the Hawks do not have a person who can guard those two. Wizards in 5