Sure names like LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kawhi Leonard and Dwight Howard seem like the norm in the NBA’s Post-Season, but when you add what Russell Westbrook and James Harden have done to the mix, and throw in the Greek Freak and Demon Lizard to the mix, the stories of the playoffs get a little more interesting.
In the east, the No. 1 Seeded Boston Celtics, yes you read that correctly, will be taking on the 8th seeded Chicago Bulls. Though Chicago does have a wealth of talent between Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade, there is little to no depth on that squad, and matching up against a scoring machine like Isiah Thomas is no small task. The diminutive dynamic scorer lead all NBA Players in 4th quarter points this season and has a flair for the dramatic. Boston’s addition of Al Horford down on the block and depth will ultimately be the reason why the C’s will sweep the Bulls in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Kevin Love, Kyrie Irvin, JR Smith, Kyle Corver, Iman Shumpert and LeBron James, sound like a star studded team, and the defending NBA Champions, but they don’t look that way on the court most of the time. However even with the lack luster season they were expected to have, the passive dismissal of the NBA Regular Season, and the injuries, the Cars still find themselves as the Eastern Conferences’s 2nd Seed. The Cavs will be taking on the Indiana Pacers, a squad that has been mostly over shadowed in the NBA this season, but a good team. Paul George leads the way against the Cavs in this match up, and has been a thorn in the side of LeBron James for years. His size, speed and shooting ability all cause matchup problems for any team, much less one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA this season. However, there is no substitute for experience and the Cavaliers are LOADED in that department. LeBron James has been able to turn it on in the past, and this round will be no different. Indy will fight hard, but the Cavs depth and superior talent will overwhelm the Pacers, Cavs win in 6.
Toronto not only has Drake, but they also have the only team in Pro Sports to be named after a dinosaur… and just like the last time they were in the playoffs, they went extinct kind of early too. The Raptors could be this generations version of the Mid 90’s Charlotte Hornets. Big Names, great to watch, but the victim of a transcendent player and team. The Raptors will face off against one of the young upstart teams, the hungry Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have had a solidly inconsistent season, but have turned it on as of late. They’re one of the most athletic teams, lead by the Greek Freak and a core of role players who can shoot the ball lights out. This is a potential upset, and the 3 seed will fall to the 6th seed in this round. Milwaukee’s talent and ability to place Giannis at any position will cause problems for the health challenged Raptors. Bucks in 7.
The Washington Wizards (still weird to say that when you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s) vs the Atlanta Hawks. This is the 4 v 5 match up where there is really no such thing as an upset. Atlantas dropped Al Horford, and seemingly was out of the playoff picture early in the 2017 portion of the picture when they dropped 7 straight and 9 of 11. However they were able to bounce back and close out the season strong. Unfortunately for them they got matched up against two players who are straight BALLIN’! John Wall should be in the NBA MVP talks, but there was a triple double machine that took the picture away from him. Wall is averaging a double double, one of the best defensive players at the PG position and is complimented by Shooting Guard Bradley Beal who is averaging a career high 23 points per game. The Dynamic Duo has given ATL fits all season, winning 3 of the 4 matchups between the two squads. This should be no different, Washington in 5
The NBA’s Western Conference is really a two team race, but there are some AMAZING matchups in the first round to keep an eye on.
Golden State vs Portland. Though the Blazers are a surprise at the 8th seed, there will be no surprises in the outcome of this series, Warriors depth, line up of death and three point shooting will send Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum home early. Maybe next year Portland. GSW in 4
San Antonio Spurs vs Memphis Grizzlies, because you think of Grizzlies when you think of Memphis Tennessee, right? All jokes aside, this would have been a dream matchup in the past, Z-Bo and Marc Gasol on the Blocks vs Timmy and the Spurs D, Kawhi taking on Vincanity and Parker vs Conley, but this year is different. The Grizzlies seem old, and its even weirder thinking that when they’re playing the Spurs! San Antonio had yet another stellar season, and The Claw has emerged as their No 1 option, the depth, and size of the Spurs will ultimately give them the edge in this series, and it will not be a fun one to watch. Two defensive minded teams, with aging stars and a few athletes is probably not the billing the NBA wants. Spurs in 5
The most intriguing match up has to be the 3-6 again. Russell Westbrook messed around all year and averaged a triple double, the first one in 55 years! He also broke the Big O’s single season triple double mark with 42, and is leading the NBA in scoring. With all this he should be a lock for the MVP, right? But his counterpart, and former teammate, James Harden has had himself an historic NBA Season as well. Leading the NBA in assists with 12 a game and became the first player in NBA History to have 2,000 points, 900 dimes and 600 boards. The MVP race is as debatable as the series will be, but as we’ve seen in the past, Mike D’Antoni teams flat out don’t have it in the playoffs. Thunder win this in 7.
LA Clippers vs Utah Jazz. Yeah, this happened. CP3 and the Clippers will face off against Gordon Hayward and the Jazz in what will be a phenomenal matchup. The Clippers on paper have the advantage, but when you peel back the paper and look deeper, Utah is the better team. Lead by Hayward, the Jazz also have the Stifle Tower in Rudy Gobert, the French Roll, Boris Diaw, Derick Favors and George Hill. The addition of Joe Johnson to the Jazz gives Utah the sharp shooting they need. The Clippers are the team with the bigger names, but the Jazz are the better team. Both finished with 51-31 records, so the gap between the two isn’t huge. The Jazz win this thriller in 7.
The most wonderful time of the year is here! Who do you think will do what? Comment below!