Now that we’ve got the Eastern Conference out of the way, it’s time to head out West. Like every year, the West was loaded, and it was all about positioning. Golden State will hold the top spot, which means everything runs through them. Denver will be the 2nd seed as they battled the Warriors throughout the season for the top seed. The Portland Trailblazers and Houston Rockets finished third and fourth. The Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers finish out the seeding. Will the Warriors advance to another NBA Finals? Can the upstart Denver Nuggets find a way to make a run to the NBA Finals? Will either Houston or Portland make that run? Can the Thunder get their act together and surprise everyone? Let’s see how the first round of the Western Conference turn out.
We kicked things off with the Golden State Warriors battling the Los Angeles Clippers. Of course, the Warriors are the #1 seed and the Clippers is the 8th seed. Golden State seem to be clicking on all cylinders as the playoffs got closer. With rumors about Kevin Durant leaving and DeMarcus Cousins likely signing elsewhere, could this be their last run? The big question heading into this series, will the Warriors sweep the Clippers? The Los Angeles Clippers made the playoffs despite trading D’Andre Jordan and Tobias Harris. Lou Williams and Martrez Harrell had amazing seasons and the future for the Clippers look bright. Do the Clippers have enough to make it a competitive series against the defending champs? Will the Clippers win at least one game against the Warriors? The Warriors are in playoff mode and I think they’ll sweep the Clippers, but the games will be competitive.
Golden State Wins 4-0
This is the 4 vs. 5 series as the Houston Rockets will battle the Utah Jazz. The Houston Rockets had a crazy season filled with many ups-and-downs. James Harden is one of the league’s MVP candidates as he carried the team when Chris Paul and Clint Capela were out. Houston started the season on the outside looking in and by the end, they were near the 2nd seed. Can the Rockets beat this tough Jazz team in a seven game series? Utah enter this series as one of those teams that you just can’t take lightly. Donovan Mitchell can take over a game anytime and Joe Ingles is one of the deadliest shooters in the league. The battle of big men between Clint Capela and Rudy Gobert should be amazing. In the end, Houston should win this one in about six games to advance.
Houston Wins Series 4-2
This is the 2 vs. 7 series as the Denver Nuggets take on the San Antonio Spurs. As mentioned before, the Nuggets battled the Warriors throughout the season for the top spot. The Nuggets are one of the better teams in the league and Nikola Jokic is a triple-double waiting to happen. While many people don’t ever mention the Nuggets, this team is all-around good. The starting five to the bench, Denver can hit you from everywhere. As far as San Antonio goes, the Spurs didn’t have their typical season. With Demar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way, they always have a shot. San Antonio possess so many veterans, they should be able to withstand the Nuggets offensive spurts. Having Coach Pop is also a great advantage, but will that be enough? I’m going with the Nuggets to take care of business in six games.
Denver Wins Series 4-2
This is the 3 vs. 6 series as the Portland Trailblazers to on the Oklahoma City Thunder. This is probably the most intriguing matchup in all the playoffs. Portland would probably be favored more if Jusuf Nurkic didn’t go down with his gruesome injury. C.J. McCollum is trying to get back into the rhythm after injuring his knee late in the season. Will Damian Lilard shake his postseason troubles and lead Portland to the second round? Oklahoma City have two of the best players in the league, so they need to perform in the playoffs. Russell Westbrook can take over a game and Paul George is an MVP candidate. George have been dealing with a shoulder injury for the last couple months. Oklahoma City should’ve been a higher seed, but they hit a wall towards the end of the season. I’m going with the Thunder to upset Portland to advance.
Oklahoma City Wins Series 4-2
Western Conference 2nd Round Matchups
-Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets
-Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
What do you think about my Western Conference first round playoff prediction? Who do you have advancing to the second round? What do you think about the 2nd round matchups? Leave some feedback below.