Belated 2015 NBA Playoff Crash Course

After a regular season filled with Golden State’s splash brothers, Atlanta’s unknown personalities, and Cleveland’s locker room hoopla, we finally have reached the playoffs. For the next two months, your TV’s will feature LeBron James, Steph Curry, and hopefully, a minimal amount of Doris Burke. Let’s jump into the matchups and make the predictions that will surely fall apart in no time.

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Atlanta Hawks vs No. 8 Brooklyn Nets

Coming off a dominant regular season, the Hawks are still in search of the respect a one-seeded team would normally receive. Reinventing themselves as a selfless, all-for-one and one-for-all type squad, Atlanta cruised to its first 60 win season in the franchise’s history. The Nets, on the other hand, snuck into the playoffs following a Pacers loss on the final day of the regular season. The Hawks eat slow-paced teams alive, and Brooklyn fits the bill perfectly. Pick: Hawks in five

No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs No. 7 Boston Celtics

Celtics’ Head Coach Brad Stevens has gotten as much out of his current roster as anyone on planet earth could have. How he isn’t involved in every analyst’s coach of the year argument is beyond me. That being said, LeBron and the Cavs are too deep and simply too much to handle for Stevens and his team. They exhibited their absurd three point shooting today in game one, and I don’t see any slowing down from this point on. Pick: Cavs in four

No. 3 Chicago Bulls vs No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks

Finally becoming healthy as the regular season came to a close, the Bulls are in a good spot to be a legitimate threat in a weak Eastern Conference. The Bucks persistent and pestering defense will cause turnovers as it always does, however the Bulls, especially with a healthy Derrick Rose, should have minimal problems here in the first round. Pick: Bulls in five

No. 4 Toronto Raptors vs No. 5 Washington Wizards

Toronto comes into the playoffs just barely missing out on the third seed. They run into a Wizards team that had a strong first half of the season, and then stumbled miserably after the all-star break. However the Raptors are right there with them. The two teams were a combined 46-15 through December 29 before things went south for both clubs. The size is there for the Wiz while the athletic frontcourt remains Toronto’s main advantage. In my opinion, this will be the best first round series in the East, despite basically being an audition to lose in round two. Pick: Wizards in seven

Western Conference

No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs No. 8 New Orleans Pelicans

As we saw in game one, Anthony Davis is almost too much to handle by himself, even for one of the NBA’s best teams. Davis is quite the force, but so are the Warriors. The splash brothers (Steph Curry and Klay Thompson) highlighted the best regular season in Golden State’s history. Even with little playoff experience, the Warriors are a popular pick to take the crown. Anthony Davis will be their main issue here in round one, but that’s about it. Pick: Warriors in five

No. 2 Houston Rockets vs No. 7 Dallas Mavericks 

This series is filled with bad blood on all levels. Regardless of hatred, there’s only so much a team can do to stop James Harden. The bearded assassin has turned a rather average roster into one of the best teams in the NBA. The Mavs will be no pushover, but they do not have an answer for the one-man-show in Harden. Expect lots of post-whistle scrums, Mark Cuban, and points from a bearded man. All of my eggs are in Harden’s basket, and Houston’s are too. Pick: Rockets in five

No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs No. 6 San Antonio Spurs

The Clippers are the attractive pick in this series with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan leading the way. However counting the Spurs out of any playoff series is not wise. Head Coach Gregg Popovich is one of the world’s best basketball minds and will give the flashy Clipps a first round test that they did not want to deal with. Both teams finished the regular season on a roll. Many people like the young bloods from LA compared to the elderly Spurs as this series goes forward. But that second “g” in Coach Pop’s first name gets me every time. I can’t pick against Tim Duncan and the boys.                    Pick: Spurs in six

No. 4 Portland Trail Blazers vs No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies

The Blazers have had the unfortunate responsibility of dealing with an array of second half injuries. This combined with the Grizzlies’ duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph underneath will create some serious problems for Portland. Damien Lillard is an absolute stud and will not go down without a fight alongside fellow star LaMarcus Aldridge. However the top-to-bottom Grizz will overwhelm the Blazers without much issue in this one. Pick: Memphis in five

The playoffs are unpredictable to say the least and this year is shaping up to be no different. I’ll jump right into a finals prediction; I’m going with the Spurs over the Cavs in six games. This may be the last year the Spurs have with their core of Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker. I trust Popovich to spark a solid run against the tough Western Conference. We’ll have to wait an excessive two months to find out if this comes true, but it’s two of the most entertaining months of the year. Fear the beard, embrace the splash brothers, and enjoy watching the incredible specimen that is LeBron James, because before you know it, you’ll be watching Adam Silver hand over the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

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One thought on “Belated 2015 NBA Playoff Crash Course

  1. Celtics won’t die that quickly. They’ll steal one or two games.
    Spurs might finally sail off into the night…go Clippers.

    Like

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