NBA Western Conference Playoff Predictions: Round 1
1 Spurs vs. 8 Mavericks (Prediction: Spurs 4-0)
The Spurs keep proving everybody wrong, and I don’t know how they made it to the top of the west, yet again. They are a team that I think will run into trouble in the later rounds, however, they should waltz past this Mavericks team.
The Spurs won the season series 4-0, and Dallas hasn’t been able to put a steady cast of characters around Dirk since their 2011 title. Guys like Monta Ellis are exciting to watch, but lack the precision and efficiency of a Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili. Dirk might go off for a game or two, but this series should be a clean sweep.
2 Thunder vs. 7 Grizzlies (Prediction: Thunder 4-1)
The Thunder are looking to prove that they can make a deep playoff run without James Harden. I’m not sure if anyone has the answer to how far they can go with a healthy Durant-Westbrook combo. But I do know that they will win this series.
The Grizzlies had trouble making the playoffs, and they’re slow pace won’t be able to hold back the Thunder. Westbrook is one of the league’s most dynamic fast break players, and he’ll continually push in transition. Don’t expect Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to be able to keep up.
3 Clippers vs. 6 Warriors (Prediction: Clippers 4-2)
There is going to be a lot of offense in this series. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson lead a high powered offense, but they’ll be without Andrew Bogut (fractured rib), which means the Clippers will be able to take advantage of the Warriors’ lack of length in the post. Blake Griffin should have a field day down low and in transition, but these teams have gotten chippy before, so expect some hard fouls.
The Clippers have the better coach and play better defense, so look for them to come out on top. I think this series has the potential to go 7, but Chris Paul probably won’t let it get that far.
4 Rockets vs. 5 Trail Blazers (Prediction: Rockets 4-2)
This series all hinges on Dwight Howard being healthy. He had his ankle drained a couple weeks ago, but he claims he’s good to go. If that’s the case, there’s no one on the Portland roster who can defend him in the half court or in transition. If Dwight isn’t healthy, then this is anyone’s series. Lillard and Aldridge make a dynamic combo, but they’re not nearly as good as a healthy Harden and Howard.
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