It’s that time of year again and that’s the NBA Playoffs!! This has been one of the more exciting NBA seasons in recent memory, just think about the retirement of Kobe Bryant and the Golden State Warriors are now the record holders of the most wins in a season with 73, eclipsing the 95-96 Bulls. This season also saw Russell Westbrook put up triple-doubles at an alarming rate, the San Antonio Spurs great season, Steph Curry hitting over 400 3-pointers in a season and Kobe capping his career with a 60 point game. Let’s see how things will play out in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
We start the Eastern Conference playoffs with the top seed, Cleveland Cavaliers facing the Detroit Pistons, who’s the 8th seed. This series will begin on Sunday at 3pm on ABC in Cleveland as the Cavaliers are trying to reach the NBA Finals again this year. This year, Cleveland is hoping they can remain healthy throughout the playoffs unlike last year when they lost Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Can the Cavaliers cruise through the Eastern Conference like they did last year? The Detroit Pistons seems like they’re a team headed in the right direction with a good, young core of guys. The Pistons have a team that could have a shot to make this series interesting, but can they pull off the huge upset? I’m going with the Cavaliers to win this series and advance to the 2nd round of the playoffs.
Cleveland Cavaliers Win Series 4-1
We now head to one of the more interesting series as the 4th seed Atlanta Hawks face the Boston Celtics, who’s the 5th seed in the East. This series will begin in Atlanta on Saturday night on ESPN with the game starting at 7pm. The Atlanta Hawks finished the season on a 2-game losing streak, but their last win came against these Boston Celtics. Can the Hawks find a way to hold off the Celtics? The Boston Celtics has been one of the most improved and exciting teams this year. They were ranked as high as the 3rd seed during the season through great defense and the emergence of Isiah Thomas. I think this series could go seven games and I’m going with the Hawks to win the series!!
Atlanta Hawks Win Series 4-3
This is the game that will start the playoffs on Saturday afternoon at 12:30 on ESPN as the 7th seed; Indiana Pacers visit the Toronto Raptors, who comes in as the 2nd seed. Paul George enjoyed a great season after having a rough couple of years after his injury. The Pacers come into this series having won 4 out of their last 5 games with that one loss being against the Raptors. The Toronto Raptors have enjoyed their most successful regular season in team history finishing the season with 56 wins. They finished the season on a 4 game winning streak and have hopes of making a long run in the playoffs for the first time. I’m going with the Raptors to win this series!!
Toronto Raptors Win Series 4-2
This is the final first round series in the Eastern Conference as the 3rd seed Miami Heat face the Charlotte Hornets, who comes in as the 6th seed starting on Saturday at 5:30 on TNT. The Miami Heat comes into this series without Chris Bosh, who’s still dealing with medical issues that has kept him out most of the year. Can Wade and Whiteside lead the Heat past the Hornets into the second round? The Charlotte Hornets come into this series full of confidence they can knock off the Heat as they won 4 out of their last 5 games. This series should go seven games and I think the Heat will pull it out.
Miami Heat Win Series 4-3
We now head out West with the top seed, defending champion, Golden State Warriors facing the Houston Rockets, who’s the 8th seed. These two teams met last year in the Western Conference finals where the Warriors beat them 4-1. The Warriors are looking to repeat as NBA champs to cap off their record breaking season. Can the Warriors sweep the Rockets? On the other hand, the Houston Rockets season didn’t pan out the way they expected since they barely got into the playoffs. Can the Rockets even win a game in this series? I’m thinking the Warriors will sweep!!
Golden State Win Series 4-0
We now have the Los Angeles Clippers, who’s the 4th seed facing the 5th seed in the Portland Trailblazers as they play on Sunday night on TNT at 10:30. The Clippers have had a difficult season as they battled injuries can controversy throughout the year. Despite so many injuries, Chris Paul probably had one of his best seasons in the absence of Blake Griffin. Now on the other hand, the Portland Trailblazers surprisingly had an outstanding season despite losing LaMarcus Aldridge through free agency. Damien Lilliard had an unbelievable season and along with C.J. McCollum could be the best backcourt in the league. In the end, I think the Clippers will win this series and advance to the second round.
Los Angeles Clippers Win Series 4-1
We now have the 2 vs. 7 series as the San Antonio Spurs face the Memphis Grizzlies with Game 1 starting on Sunday night at 8 o’clock on TNT. The Spurs have had an outstanding season only losing one game at home during the regular season. The Spurs are one of the favorites to come out of the Western Conference and it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion they’ll meet the Warriors in the Western Conference finals, right? The Memphis Grizzlies have battled more injuries than a team in the playoffs as they’re without All-Stars, Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Without those two guys, I don’t think the Grizzlies have a chance to advance or even win a game.
San Antonio Spurs Win Series 4-0
The final game of the first round of the NBA playoffs features the 3rd seed Oklahoma City Thunder facing the 6th seed Dallas Mavericks starting Saturday night at 9:30 on ESPN. Oklahoma City could be one of the best teams in the league, but it also seems like they can’t keep a lead in the 4th quarter. Can Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook carry them into the second round? The Dallas Mavericks barely got into the playoffs and they will need to play their best basketball to pull off the huge upset of the Thunder. Can the Mavs continue to hold Durant under 25 points and pull off the upset? I’m going with the Thunder to win and advance to the second round!!
Oklahoma City Thunder Win Series 4-2
2nd Round Match-Ups:
- Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 4. Atlanta Hawks
2. Toronto Raptors vs. 3. Miami Heat
- Golden State Warriors vs. 4. Los Angeles Clippers
2. San Antonio Spurs vs. 3. Oklahoma City Thunder
What do you think about my picks to advance to the next round? Do you think there will be any upsets in the first round of the playoffs? Head to the comments and give me some feedback.