NBA Playoffs First Round Preview

lebron

Let me just preface this article by first saying, I’m back! Second, this has got to be the most excited I’ve been for the NBA playoffs in a long while. The parody in the NBA this year has been great and so many of the lower seeds have great shots to take the series in this first round. We all think that it will be either the Rockets or the Warriors out of the west but with the injuries on the Warriors and the questionable playoff play of Chris Paul and James Harden, it is a pick em as to who actually makes it out. As for this first round in the West there are some great matchups. The same applies to the East as the Celtics deal with an injury-ravaged roster and the Raptors are, well, the Raptors. I will break down each matchup individually and give my series outcome.

WEST:

(1)    Houston Rockets vs (8) Minnesota Timberwolves

  • This is an interesting series to me as Minnesota has a great collection of young talent but have not been able to put it all together, will they do it now in the playoffs? Probably not, maybe for a good game or two but Wiggins has basically disappeared and Towns needs to be more consistent. Jimmy Butler is their best option and he just had knee surgery and he is going to have to play 40 minutes a game. Meanwhile, the Rockets steamrolled the West all year en route to a 60+ win season. With James Harden and Chris Paul the Rockets just have way too much firepower in this series. I love the Wolves but I wish they could put it all together. Rockets win series 4-1

(2)    Golden State Warriors vs (7) San Antonio Spurs

  • The Warriors without Steph Curry are a noticeably different team. They actually look mortal. The system is designed around him, and the floor gets smaller when he isn’t out there launching 30-foot bombs. Luckily they still have KD, Klay, and Draymond, and when it comes down to it, without Kawhi, the Spurs can’t compete with the scoring output that the Warriors will put up every game. Aldridge has been a beast this season, but it won’t be nearly enough. Warriors win 4-1

(3)    Portland Trailblazers vs (6) New Orleans Pelicans

  • In this series you could almost boil it down to a 3 player series. Dame and McCollum vs The Brow. This one could truly be a toss-up. Dame and CJ are insane, but one day Anthony Davis is going to win DPOY and MVP. And since Boogie Cousins has gone down, Davis has been on a tear. Nurkic will have something to say in this series in trying to corral AD and let Dame and CJ run around a bit. Usually 2>1, but I’m calling the upset here. Pelicans win 4-3

(4)    Oklahoma City Thunder vs (5) Utah Jazz

  • What a series this is going to be, a collection of pure talent with Russ, PG, and Melo versus an actual team being led by rookie phenom Donovan Mitchell, with Rudy Gobert protecting the rim. I really want to pick the Jazz because I think they are the better team, but I think Mitchell’s inexperience will show in this series and Russ wills his team to win the series. Thunder win 4-2

EAST:

(1)    Toronto Raptors vs (8) Washington Wizards

  • This has got to be the last team the Raptors wanted to see in the first round of the playoffs. They probably would’ve rather played any of the lower seeds. The Wizards never seem to live up to their potential but they do play up to their competition. The Raptors also don’t have the best of luck when it comes to the playoffs as well. This is another star studded battle between Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan vs Bradley Beal and John Wall. This series definitely goes 7 games. Raptors win 4-3

(2)    Boston Celtics vs (7) Milwaukee Bucks

  • This wouldn’t even be a series if Kyrie and Gordon Hayward were healthy, but they’re not. The Celtics are vulnerable right now, and while they do have some young talent, they are all sooooo young. Without a go-to guy down the stretch I think the Giannis dominates this series, probably almost averages a triple double and will take down the young Celtics. Bucks win 4-3

(3)    Philadelphia 76ers vs (6) Miami Heat

  • The 76ers are the league’s hottest team, and probably the best young team going forward into the future. Embiid may miss one or two games, but that is not nearly enough to stop the Sixers from continuing this roll. The Heat are good, and Philadelphia is young so I could see them giving up a game or two but Philly is just too good for this Heat team. Sixers win 4-2

(4)    Cleveland Cavaliers vs (5) Indiana Pacers

  • Here we go, LeBron vs the Pacers. LeBron has never reached the Finals from this low of a seed, the Pacers are a good team and Victor Oladipo has been reborn in Indiana. I can’t wait to have another Lance Stephenson and LeBron moment; maybe he unties LeBron’s shoes this time. The Cavs are definitely down this year, but LeBron is doing things I have never seen on a basketball court. In my mind LeBron has been the MVP this year and is just gearing up for the playoffs. Like I said the Cavs are down this year and the Pacers are good, I could see many of these games being close, but ultimately LeBron is just too much. Cavs win 4-2

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