NBA Playoff Predictions – 1st Round

Movie Quote of the Day:

“You probably heard we ain’t in the prisoner-takin’ business; we in the killin’ Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-boomin'”
– Lt. Aldo Raine, Inglourious Basterds (2009)

The NBA Playoffs are upon us for the next two months. Below is the playoff seeding for this year. Along with my own predictions for the first round. Take it with a grain of salt, I only watch the NBA during this time of year.

Eastern Conference:
(1) Atlanta Hawks (60-22)
(2) Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29)
(3) Chicago Bulls (50-32)
(4) Toronto Raptors (49-33)
(5) Washington Wizards (46-36)
(6) Milwaukee Bucks (41-41)
(7) Boston Celtics (40-42)
(8) Brooklyn Nets (38-44)

Western Conference:
(1) Golden State Warriors (67-15)
(2) Houston Rockets (56-26)
(3) Los Angeles Clippers (56-26)
(4) Portland Trail Blazers (51-31)
(5) Memphis Grizzlies (55-27)
(6) San Antonio Spurs (55-27)
(7) Dallas Mavericks (50-32)
(8) New Orleans Pelicans (45-37)

Eastern Conference 1st Round:

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(1) Hawks vs. (8) Nets

Atlanta has been the most consistent team in the East all season. Atlanta is top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Brooklyn will really have to rely on Brook Lopez in order to win this series. Lopez is much bigger than Atlanta’s big men, but I don’t think it’s not going to be enough in the end.

Hawks in 5

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(4) Raptors vs. (5) Wizards

I was really torn on this series. These 4/5 matchups could go either way and they almost always go down to the wire. This will be the only series in the East that will go longer than five games. Toronto has the youth and their offensive efficiency is top five in the NBA. However, Washington has the better point guard, John Wall, and they play better defense than Toronto. Toronto ranks in the bottom ten in the NBA in defense, Washington should be able to score.

Wizards in 7

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(3) Bulls vs. (6) Bucks

Milwaukee is in the same boat as Boston. They’ve had a great bounce back season. Increasing their win total from 15 games last year to 41 this year. All without Jabari Parker (the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft). Jason Kidd is another name that should be up for NBA Coach of the Year. However, Tom Thibodeau is also a great coach and he has a much better squad in Chicago. Chicago has the combination of size, skill, depth, and expericence.

Bulls in 5

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(2) Cavaliers vs. (7) Celtics

My Celtics have surprised everyone this year, it’s been a great bounce back season. However, I think this is where the road ends. Cleveland has far and away the better players. Boston won’t be able to match up. Although, if there’s a coach that can find weaknesses it’s Brad Stevens, but I don’t see how Boston gets it done. I think I went heart over mind just by giving Boston one win in this series.

Cavaliers in 5

Western Conference 1st Round:

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(1) Warriors vs. (8) Pelicans

Anthony Davis is probably the next face of the NBA when there’s no more LeBron James. However, New Orleans is pretty much a one man show with Davis. I don’t think New Orleans has enough to beat Golden State. Golden State has been the best team in the league all year. New Orleans is in the bottom nine of the league in defense, and the Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson combination is just too lethal. I’m sure Golden State will find a way to slow down Davis.

Warriors in 5

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(4) Trail Blazers vs. (5) Grizzlies

Both of these teams are banged up heading into the postseason. This series is also going to be a dogfight. Portland has got the worst of the injury bug this season, losing Wesley Matthews for the season. Also, players like Nicolas Batum, Aaron Afflalo, and CJ McCollum are all listed as questionable for Portland. I expect Memphis to take advantage of Portland’s injury issues. I also expect Damian Lillard to show up for Portland, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to move on.

Grizzlies in 6

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(3) Clippers vs. (6) Spurs

All the pieces have been coming together for the Spurs recently. Back in December, nobody thought this Spurs team would make the playoffs, but since then, they’ve been probably the hottest team in the NBA. Prior to the loss to New Orleans on Wednesday, the Spurs had won 11 in a row, and 21 of their last 24 games. They’re looking to defend their title. This is going to be a great series, but I’ve learned to never go against Gregg Poppovich and the Spurs in the postseason.

Spurs in 7

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(2) Rockets vs. (7) Mavericks

This has the makings of a classic series. Both teams only separated by 241 miles, it’s a heated rivalry. Houston’s James Harden has been an MVP candidate all season. Dwight Howard is getting healthier. Houston has seasoned veterans with Jason Terry and Josh Smith. I think Dallas will have a great game plan, play with some fire, and have huge performances from Dirk Nowitzki, Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis, and Chandler Parsons. However, I like Houston because they have the home-court advantage.

Rockets in 7

All stats from NBA.com

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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