Western Conference Playoff Preview

Western Conference Playoff Preview

The second season is finally upon us. It is the time of year that all NBA fans have been salivating for all season.

Can anybody upset the Warriors, or will they cruise to another finals appearance? Who will win the duel between Brodie and the Beard? Buckle up for a fun battle out west. Here is the Western Conference Playoff preview.

1 Golden State Warriors vs. 8 Portland Trailblazers

Western Conference Playoff Preview

(Photo Credit: http://theargonautnews.com

The Warriors have been slowly waiting for the playoffs all season. Golden State finished with the best record in the NBA and will be trying to make their third consecutive finals appearance. Kevin Durant is back from his injury just around the same time Steph Curry has found his groove.

Portland has gone an impressive 11-4 over their last 15 games to push themselves into the playoffs as the eighth seed. The Trailblazers have a great backcourt, but the Warriors are just too loaded. There isn’t much Portland will be able to do to stop the Warriors’ high powered offense.

This will be a short series, and Golden State will be on to bigger and better things.

Prediction: Warriors in 4

2 San Antonio Spurs vs. 7 Memphis Grizzlies

Western Conference Playoff Preview

(Photo Credit: http://theargonautnews.com)

It is hard to imagine a Spurs versus Grizzlies playoff series without Tim Duncan. These two franchises have gone at it many times in the past playoffs to provide some thrilling action for the fans.

This series is likely to play out similarly to their two previous postseason meetings in which the Spurs have swept the Grizzlies. Memphis has the same core that hasn’t gotten over the hump and this year they are barely above .500.

San Antonio is still a well-oiled machine led by the best two-way player in the league, Kawhi Leonard. Gregg Popovich will have his team ready, and the Spurs will find themselves in the Western Conference Semi-Finals rather quickly.

Prediction: Spurs in 5 

3 Houston Rockets vs. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder

Western Conference Playoff Preview

(Photo Credit: https://www.si.com/nba

This is easily the most exciting matchup of the first round in the Western Conference.

The storylines are never ending in this series. Russell Westbrook versus James Harden. The two players going head to head for the MVP go head to head in the playoffs. Westbrook is trying to lead his team against all odds. Harden will be trying to eliminate his former team. The hype is real for this one.

The Rockers went 3-1 against the Thunder, but three of the four games were decided by three points or less. Houston has the deeper team, but Oklahoma City has the advantage inside. Basketball slows down in the playoffs, giving the Thunder an advantage.

This will be a long and entertaining series. Westbrook is going to be gunning for heads in this year’s playoffs. His remarkable season will continue into the second round.

Prediction: Thunder in 7

4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. 5 Utah Jazz

Western Conference Playoff Preview

(Photo Credit: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Clippers are under more pressure than any team in the first round of the playoffs. They have not lived up to the hype in recent years and health has been one of the biggest excuses.

This is no excuse this year. The Clippers are healthy and experienced while the Jazz are inexperienced. Los Angeles also has the home-court advantage in this series.

The Clippers dominated the Jazz in the regular season, winning three out of the four matchups by a combined 42 points. Utah doesn’t have the firepower to win this series on paper, but Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward could play well enough to upset the Clippers. Chris Paul, Black Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will not last long in L.A. if they lose this series.

The experience will be the difference in this one, and the Clippers will avoid being bounced in the first round, but just barely.

Prediction: Clippers in 7

You can check out the Eastern Conference Playoff Preview here.

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Fouled Out: Overtime Calls For Foul Rule Change

Jan. 5, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Jan. 5, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

We watch basketball for a variety of reasons. We tune in to see our favorite teams play, watch our favorite players or just sometimes because a friend is watching and it’s already on. It is fun to watch a great match-up of teams like the Warriors versus Thunder or the the Spurs versus the Cavaliers. The reason we love these match-ups and why we find them so intriguing is because of the star power involved.

Let’s take the Warriors versus the Thunder for instance; we get to watch Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green go head to head against Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Surge Ibaka.
If it’s the Spurs versus the Cavaliers we get to see Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge go up against Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. Both match-ups have tons of star power.

Now stop for a second and think about hyped up we get for these type of games? We set plans with our friends to watch the game, we tweet before, during and after to hype up and discuss and the games get put on T.V. during prime time so the world can witness these great match-ups. Without these star players there would be no appeal, we just wouldn’t have interest in these games.

I love watching basketball and especially love overtime games. It’s so entertaining to watch teams battle into games longer than they anticipated but it’s not as entertaining when a huge star fouls out. During a 48 minute, four quarter game a player fouls out after committing 6 fouls. I get to watch Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry attack each other and defend each other for 48 minutes and then 30 seconds into overtime one of them fouls out. Now we have to watch a great match-up disappear right in front of us. The star power is halfway depleted and now a backup comes in when the game matters most. The foul out rule is a great rule to make sure players don’t just commit fouls over and over. It’s a fair and understandable rule but there is a flaw.

What is the concept when the game goes into overtime? Additional time is added in which a team has to try and win a game because they were so evenly matched. Essentially a player may commit a foul but still foul out once 6 fouls are committed. I think this is a bit outdated and that if a game goes into overtime the foul limit should be raised to 7. If players have to play more minutes they should be allowed to commit more fouls, it only makes sense.

I have seen many games over the years in which a game goes into overtime and a player fouls out in that overtime period. The fans and the game is being cheated if a great player fouls out in overtime because they have to play addition minutes but don’t get the additional benefit of extra fouls. The game needs to evolve because, if for four quarters, two star studded teams put on a show and go into overtime, that extra period is going to be more dull and the outcome is partially deceiving. I want to be entertained for all four quarters and into overtime if a game requires overtime to determine the outcome. The game will be more exciting if an extra foul limit is added when games go into overtime, so please Commissioner Silver, team owners and the competition committee read this and make a change for the evolution of basketball!

3 Biggest Threats to the Warriors

 

January 5, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots the basketball against Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala (9) during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors are the heavy favorites to win the NBA championship. They are the class of the NBA and are poised to win another NBA Finals. They are even on track to beat the Bulls record of 72 wins in a season. Most people think the only team that can really stop the Warriors are themselves but here are the three teams with the best chance to dethrone the champs.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers- The Cavs are the favorite in the east mostly because LeBron has been to five straight finals. Last year’s NBA Finals were missing Kevin Love and then they lost Kyrie Irving after game one so we don’t know how that might have gone with a healthy Cleveland team. If they get to the Finals they have a shot to knock off the Warriors. It would be highly unlikely but having three players who have been all stars should allow them to compete in a long series with the Warriors. The Warriors have few threats but Cleveland is one of them as long as LeBron is there.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder- The games the Thunder and Warriors have had against each other this season have been edge of the seat exciting. The Thunder have two of the top 10 players in the NBA and some depth that could help them in a seven game series against the Warriors. This is a playoff series anyone would want to see because of how fun it is to watch these teams go to battle. Durant has been vocal lately and he really wants to win a championship. It would take a legendary series performance from Durant but he is surely capable. If he really wants to get that elusive championship he is going to have to take his game to a new level and go through the Warriors.

1.San Antonio Spurs- The Spurs are the obvious choice of the team with the best chance to dethrone the defending champions. Gregg Popovich is one of the top three coaches of all time and is great at preparing his team for the NBA’s second season. He is willing to sit anyone to make sure his team is healthy and ready. It is crazy that a team can be 53-9 on the year and receive absolutely no publicity. They can still earn the number one seed over the Warriors. They are also on an eight game win streak and have not shown any signs of slowing down. If the Spurs and Warriors could play for the championship the world would rejoice, but maybe we will have to settle seeing them play in the Western Conference Finals.

The Spurs are the biggest threat for a variety of reasons. For one they are just as good as shown by their record and it takes a Herculean effort to beat them. Secondly, they have more experience in the playoffs than any other team in the NBA and experience is just as valuable, if not more, than talent. Lastly, with that experience, they have chemistry that other teams simply don’t have. The core of the Spurs (Duncan, Ginobili and Parker) have five championships and with Kawhi Leonard continuously growing and expanding his game, along with the addition of LaMarcus Aldridge, I don’t see how they can lose a seven game series. This team is just as dangerous as Golden State and I hope they meet in the Western Conference Finals. Epic wouldn’t be enough to describe that matchup. Hopefully the Basketball Gods bless us with this dream series.

Top 5 NBA Games to Watch (Week of 2/1 – 2/7)

#5- Detroit Pistons @ Boston Celtics (Wed. 2/3): Detroit is currently the 8th seed and Boston is the 5th seed, as these two young teams who are trying to emerge as contenders in the East get ready to clash. Reggie Jackson versus Isaiah Thomas should be a great matchup to watch. Andre Drummond is a stud and is turning into a star. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out and this could eventually be a preview of a potential playoff series.

My prediction: Detroit 92 @ Boston 98

#4- Miami Heat @ Dallas Mavericks (Wed. 2/3): This should be a great out of conference game. Miami and Dallas are both currently the 6th seed in their respective conferences. Both teams aren’t considered title threats but any team who makes the playoffs is dangerous. These teams have lots of Finals history against each other in the last 10 years so this could cause fireworks.

My prediction: Miami 101 @ Dallas 94

#3- Boston Celtics @ Cleveland Cavaliers (Fri. 2/5): These teams met in the playoffs last year and there is bad blood. Cleveland swept Boston but Kelly Olynyk injured Kevin Love for the rest of the playoffs and J.R. Smith punched Jae Crowder. This may be an old fashioned eastern conference match up that could get physical. Entertaining and exciting may not even begin to describe this game. Tune in basketball fans; this will be a good one.

My prediction: Boston 99 @ Cleveland 104

#2- San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks (Fri. 2/5): Tim Duncan. Dirk Nowitzki. Another matchup between division rivals and future hall of famers. These teams have had great battles over the years and the games are always exciting. I see no reason this one should be any different. There isn’t much to say except get the popcorn then kick back and relax and enjoy the show.

My prediction: San Antonio 91 @ Dallas 83

#1- Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors (Sat. 2/6): The star power in this one might take us to space: Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. This is the marquee game to watch this week and this will be the first time these two teams play this season. This is one of those games that when you look back, it could go down as game of the year. I know NBA fans are licking their chops to catch this one. The NBA is smart to showcase this game Saturday night because games don’t get better than this. I would say get that couch comfy, but this game is going to be so electric you might not even sit down. I hope you can feel my excitement for this game because come this Saturday NBA fans are in for a real treat!

My prediction: Oklahoma City 104 @ Golden State 105