2016 NBA Playoff Preview

With the Warriors win 73 games and Kobe dropping 60 in his last game ever on Wednesday night, also brings the next season for the NBA. Specifically, the post season, the Warriors and Cavaliers secured the one seeds in the West and East conference respectively. They are also the presumed favorites to represent their conference in the finals this year. How will the playoffs pan out? Let me show you my predictions and discuss why I think they are right.

So there it is, my bracket, I got this from CBS Sports and photoshopped my predictions in. I will go round by round and talking about the non-boring, or expected, results as well as giving my predictions of series length.

NBA Bracket

OPENING ROUND:

Boring games first: Warriors over Rockets in 4. Spurs over Grizzlies in 4. Cavaliers over Pistons in 4. Lastly, Raptors her Pacers in 5.

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER v. DALLAS MAVERICKS:

In the west we have the Thunder beating the Mavs, the Thunder have been a great team for may years because of their combo of scorers. Kevin Durant is one of the best overall in the game and Russell Westbrook is top 5 in his position scoring wise. That lethal combo of scoring is too much for the Mavericks to handle as the Thunder get by the Mavs in 6 games, Mavs winning the two home games.

LOS ANGELES CLIPPER v. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS:

I also predict a huge upset in the West with the Trail Blazers beating the Clippers, this game pits a young up-and-coming team against a veteran team. The matchup to watch is Chris Paul against Damian Lilliard, and with Lilliard’s ability to score 30 a game, he will lead this young scrappy team, as they were not even expected to be in the playoffs this year. Lilliard will lead this team to the second round and surprise the Clippers, as well as, start the “Are the Clippers clutch?” and “Is it time to break up Lob City?” headlines.

MIAMI HEAT v. CHARLOTTE HORNETS:

This will be a great opening round series as I have the Hornets beating the Heat in a tightly contested series. Each game will be close and go back in forth, but the youth of the Hornets will be too much for the old slow Heat to handle. Between Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lin, Frank Kaminsky, and Nicolaus Batum this team can hang with most teams. The Heat are just too slow and old with Dwayne Wade and Luol Deng, plus Gorgon Dragic can not keep up with Kemba. Hornets is 6.

ATLANTA HAWKS v. BOSTON CELTICS:

Boston has a great backcourt, but so do the Hawks. Boston also is really young and has one of the best point guards in the league in Isiah Thomas. Atlanta has Jeff Teague and a few other pieces, they usually are not talked about but have typically good years, such as Kyle Korver. But Boston has too many wing defenders, possibly the best in the game in Avery Bradley. Boston in 6.

ROUND 2:

WARRIORS v. TRAIL BLAZERS:

Every time that these teams meet it is a showdown between Steph Curry and Damian Lilliard, man would I love to see another episode of that. Damian has shown the ability to drop 50 points in a game and outshine Curry, as he did on February 19. The series has been obviously one sided and dominated by Curry, and I believe that trend will continue. This Blazer team really knows how to hang with the Warriors and has the players to stay in a 3-point shooting contest. That being said Warriors in 6.

SPURS v. THUNDER:

A possible somewhat passing of the torch in the southern part of the conference. As the Spurs who have dominated for over 18 years, and the Thunder, the fresh faced kids trying to get to the Finals and convince Durant to keep the core together face-off. Two very different teams and styles of play as the Spurs like to run through their plays and be efficient while the Thunder just want to score as fast as possible. Whoever controls the tempo and style of lay will win the series. Alas no torch passing yet as the Spurs win in 7.

CAVALIERS v. CELTICS:

A matchup from the first round of last year as the Cavs swept the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs last year. All though these teams did nothing drastic over the past year both have gotten better, the Celtics should have been a top three seed but got tired over the last third of the year. LeBron loves to play the Celtics and especially loves to beat them. The core three of the Cavs are playing well and will handle this Celtics team with ease, but some games Boston will out-maneuver and out run and gun these Cavs and win. However, they wont win the series and will lose to the Cavs in 5 games.

RAPTORS v. HORNETS:

Honestly, before the season if you saw this matchup you would have guessed it was a opening round 2-7 matchup or 1-8, not a second round matchup. The Hornets were that underrated coming into the season, but trust me they are good, especially at home where they were 30-11 opposed to 18-23 on the road. The Raptors were 32-9 at home and 24-17 on the road by comparison, but this feels like the home team will win each game in the series. That being said Raptors in 7.

CONFERENCE FINALS:

WARRIORS v. SPURS:

The game we all were waiting for, the battle of two of the best teams in the world, and at home they had a total of 3 losses, between both of them. The Spurs were average on the road sporting a similar 24-17 record as the Raptors in road games. That being said I think that is exactly what is going to happen, each home team wins the game. Warriors in 7.

CAVS v. RAPTORS:

Why do we care? To find out the team that is going to lose to the Warriors in 6 games in the Finals? No we care because anything can happen. That being said this series will be a lot closer than most people expect but the overall experience and veteran leadership, and LeBron-ness of the Cavs is just too much for the Raptors, who have never been to the second round of the playoffs since 2001, to handle. Cavaliers in 5.

FINALS:

WARRIORS v. CAVALIERS:

Finally the rematch we were all expecting, the three point shooting Warriors and the grind and shoot Cavs. I would watch every second of this series, who wouldn’t? Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, LeBron, Kyrie, Love, Iggy and more would make this series way better than last year. As long as both teams stay healthy this series will be great, it could be the actual passing of the torch from LeBron to Curry as the best player in the world as LeBron is getting older and Curry is the “young gun face of the league”.

WARRIORS IN 7 GAMES

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