It’s almost that time again NBA fans, the playoffs are just a day away. The first round should bring plenty of entertainment, with some very evenly matched series to look forward too. Namely the Jazz-Clippers series, and the Thunder-Rockets series. I won’t waste any time hyping it up, let’s get right to my predictions for the Western Conference.
First round Predictions:
#1 Golden State vs #8 Trail Blazers
Golden State in 5
This match-up is a pretty easy choice. Golden State’s offense will simply overpower Portland’s. The Trail Blazers have the 25th ranked defense in the NBA, which can’t mean anything good facing the Warriors who have the best offense in the league. Damian Lillard will help them sneak in one win, possibly in game 3, but that will be all.
#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs #5 Utah Jazz
Jazz in 7
This will be the most evenly matched series in the first round. The Clippers won the regular season series 3-1, but I believe the Jazz’s first ranked defense will shut down the Clippers offense. Also, the Clippers weak bench, will be a big problem late in games, as the Jazz defense will surly wear out the starters. If the Jazz’s weak offense can manage to score 100+ points in 4 out of the 7 games, they will win the series.
#3 Houston Rockets vs #6 Oklahoma City Thunder
Thunder in 7
I know what you’re thinking, there’s absolutely noway the Thunder can beat the Rockets. Well, I think there is. The Thunder are the 3rd ranked team in transition scoring, and the Rockets are ranked 22nd in transition defense. Houston runs Mike D’antoni’s run-and-gun flawlessly, ranking 4th in transition scoring, but Oklahoma City is very good at defending on the transition.
This will be a fast paced game, which could get very ugly at times, but I believe that Russell Westbrook will have a monster series, powering the Thunder to a game 7 victory.
#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #7 Memphis Grizzlies
Spurs in 5
The Grizzlies aren’t an easy win for anyone. They play a hard-nosed, gritty style of basketball that can be tough to beat. Both teams rank in the top 5 in defense, which will make for some very low scoring games. Some experts have picked the series to go to 7 games, but I don’t think it will make it past 5. The Grizzlies will keep the games close, but the Spurs will close it out in 5 games.