Ok ladies and gentlemen its that time of the year again. The most exciting 3 months of the year, in my opinion, are about to gear up and I couldn’t be more amped. Going into this post season many questions come into play; Will The Heat repeat? How will the Thunder rebound after the departure of James Harden? Will Carmelo Anthony make it out of the first round? How far can the Nuggets go without a bonafied superstar? Nevertheless the 1st round is here and this Houston Basketball Guru has made several predictions during the 1st round some may shock you and some won’t but when the smoke settles (no pun intended) only the strong will survive.
Let’s start with the West…..
The Oklahoma City Thunder vs The Hometown Houston Rockets
This perhaps may be the most intriguing story line of the playoffs. James Harden returns to OKC to face the team who let him go before the opening tip off. Harden has flourished in Houston and has become a bonafided superstar. So facing his old team will certainly make for good TV. But numbers never lie and in the 2 wins OKC had against the Rockets, OKC won by a combined 60 points. Now because the playoffs are a different beast and the regular season stats go out the window, I believe the inexperience of the Rockets and the overwhelming force of the Thunder will prove too much for the Rockets to overcome.
San Antonio Spurs vs Los Angeles Lakers
5 years ago this would have been a classic matchup but now it appears like a game that comes on ESPN Classic when they need to fill air space. This time though, with Kobe Bryant out for the season, Steve Nash not being healthy, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker being injured as of late this 1st round match up could be hard to watch. Positive note: Pau Gasol is channeling his “inner mamba” and leading the team in each statistical category. But, at the end of the day coaching wins series and there is no way and I mean NO WAY in hell Mike D’antoni can out coach Greg Popovich.
Winner: Spurs in 6
Los Angeles Clippers vs Memphis Grizzlies
This series is a complete oxymoron and contrast of styles. One team is the epitome of box office and a certified highlight reel. The other is a blue collar, grind it out, physical team. In this series I’ll have to go with the Clippers because I just don’t see Memphis scoring enough points to beat the Clips, especially after the departure of Rudy Gay.
Golden State Warriors vs Denver Nuggets
No doubt, this has the potential to be the most entertaining series in the playoffs. You have Steph Curry who gets buckets and the high flying Nuggets who not only can score the ball but, they play defense as well; an aspect that the Warriors haven’t perfected yet.
Winner: Nuggets in 6
The Miami Heat vs The Milwaukee Bucks
This series will serve as a warm up for the Heat. I see no chance of this series going past 4 or 5 games. Even if the big 3 aren’t at full strength the B squad is more than formidable to handle then 38 and 43 bucks.
Winner: Miami Heat
New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics
This will be a tough match up for both teams. Like I’ve stated before, coaching makes match ups and you can’t really go against the cerebral Doc Rivers. This will be a physical series which plays right into the hand of then Celtics. The Knicks, on the other hand, shoot likes out from 3 but, the Celtics defend well against the 3. Like every basketball expert knows, if you live by the 3 you can also die by the 3 and I believe that the Knicks capability to knock down 3’s will be the deciding factor. Nonetheless I see this series going about 6 games.
Brooklyn Nets vs Chicago Bulls
This would be a great series and has potential to be quite entertaining but, with D.Rose obviously still out, Nate Robinson has to do his best to fill those shoes and help lead this team deep into the playoffs. Two factors startle me though; 1st, the Bulls have been known to lay an egg or two this season but, their defense and rebounding has kept them afloat. And the combinations of misfits the Nets have to offer is nothing the Bulls should worry too much about. I still think Deron Williams and Joe Johnson are overrated and getting superstar money without having superstar or leadership intangibles. They have the potential to beat the Bulls but it won’t surprise me if they can’t get the job done.
Winner: Nets in 7
Indiana Pacers vs Atlanta Hawks
There is no reason to elaborate or go in to get detail here. The Hawks will do what they always do this time of year. Make the playoffs and generate revenue for the great city of Atlanta but, ultimately be eliminated in the 1st round. The Pacer’s play defense, rebound, and will beat up the Hawks in the paint.
Winner: Pacers in 5
Welp, thats a wrap folks!! If you feel I’m wrong feel free to debate me on twitter @KardhiacThePoet. Ill gladly listen to opposing views. Thanks for your time, see ya in the 2nd round.