Here we are the NBA playoffs once again. The overall favorites like Golden State and Cleveland won’t have an easy road to a rematch. The Spurs, Oklahoma City or Houston are going to make it tough for Golden State and The Celtics have taken the #1 seed in the East from the Cavs.
Here’s how we see it in each series:
Celtics vs Chicago: Youth vs Experience
This could totally end up as an upset. The Celtics don’t have much experience as a team in the playoffs but vets like Al Horford should provide some stability. Chicago is a scary prospect as they have been kind of a Jekyll and Hyde team, sometimes looking formidable and then completely off. However when you have vets like Robin Lopez, Rondo, Wade and youth like Jimmy Butler you have a better shot then your record might indicate. The biggest flaw the Celtics have is depth, while I.Thomas propels the team, other players are going to have to step up and make big shots. Celtics in 7.
Toronto vs Milwaukee: Breakout Star Game
Who will have the bigger breakout star in this series, will win. Last year K.Lowry and company put on a show pushing the eventual champions to the brink in the playoffs. They don’t want to take a step back and let G.Antetokounmpo get his playoff legs under him to find himself a groove. That could be disastrous for the Raptors. However Milwaukee doesn’t have much depth or scoring options outside of the 6’11 SF in Antetokounmpo. Sure Jason Terry can still come off the bench and give some spark and experience but its going to be an uphill battle against the Raptors. Toronto in 6.
Washington vs Atlanta – Front-court vs Back-court
This might be one of the most evenly matched series in the playoffs. While Atlanta has the paint locked down with Howard and Millsap, the back-court of Beal and Wall will give Atlanta problems. Millsap has been Atlanta’s main source of offense and Howard, the former DPOY cleans up the boards. The problem for the Hawks will be finding someone with the will to match up against Wall. Can Hardaway Jr. step up to the challenge, most people think not, so maybe the Hawks will adjust and play better team defense to stop the Wizard’s offense. Wiz in 7.
Cleveland vs Indiana – The Road to Repeat
It was just a couple years ago that Lebron James single handedly drove the lane on Paul George with a few seconds remaining to drive the Pacers out of the playoffs and out of championship contention. Lebron went on to win a ring with the Cavs and George went on to an injury and rehab. The Pacers and George haven’t forget that series and have a new revamped team to compete with, however the Cavs are stacked. They have former All-Stars Deron Williams, Kyle Korver and Richard Jefferson coming off the bench, while former All-Stars Monte Ellis and Al Jefferson hope to bring the spark to the Pacers. P.George will have to have the series of his career to ruin Lebron and company and the Pacers do have the ear-blowing L. Stephenson back to bug LBJ, but it’s not likely an upset. Cavs in 6.
Houston vs OKC – Electricity
This is going to be one of the highest displays of offense witnessed in this generation. You have the high flying Rockets coached by Mike Di’Antoni and a man on a mission with OKC’s Westbrook. While the Rockets James Harden may have the better record and supporting cast, Westbrook’s season has been nothing short of phenomenal. The one advantage that OKC should be able to exploit is that historically Di’Antoni teams do not play defense well. On Paper the Rockets should win this series, but one thing Westbrook proved this year is to not doubt his heart and drive. On the offensive side the Rockets will be explosive, but can Westbrook and company stall the game out to one-on-one basketball vs the two potential MVPs, OKC could upset the Rockets. OKC in 7.
San Antonio vs Memphis – Slugfest
The Memphis Grizzlies have had a formidable line-up for a few years, they just haven’t put it all together in one season yet, but Z. Randolph and company think this could be their year. There’s only one problem, G.Popovich always has a team coached up and loaded with talent. K.Leonard has elevated his game and new-comers Pau Gasol and breakout Dewayne Dedmon have added just enough spark to prime the Spurs for another title run. The match-up between the Gasol brothers makes for an interesting story-line but that’s about it, The Griz have a puncher’s chance. Spurs in 5.
Utah vs LA Clippers – The Defining Moment
The Clippers have been the darling of the NBA since they acquired Chris Paul and Doc Rivers to coach him. This has to be the season for them to put it all together because the window is closing. Gordon Hayward and the Jazz hope to slam that window closed. Well the Clippers have high fliers like D.Jordan and B.Griffin, the Jazz have guys working under the radar like R.Gobert and Hayward. This is a classic match-up of dazzle vs work ethic a close match on paper but the Clippers need to make a statement in this series. Clippers in 7.
Golden State vs Portland – Battle for the Coast
No one has Portland winning this series, but then again no one had Portland making the playoffs last year when L.Aldridge bolted for San Antonio either. All D.Lillard did is elevate his game and make an explosive playoff run further than he did with his perennial All-Star Aldridge. Portland has great shooting from the outside and are coached well, but against possibly one of the greatest starting line-ups in recent history. Golden State just has too much fire power in their starting line-up and will shoot the Blazers out of the series quickly. GSW in 5.