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
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
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
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
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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