NCarmean18: Playoff Predictions (LONG READ)
It's that time of year again, the NBA playoffs are here. This has been a truly exciting and exhilerating season for the NBA, and I truly believe that we have a near-perfect lineup for the 2014 NBA playoffs. So without further ado, let's get to my predictions for the postseason.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals:
(8) Atlanta Hawks @ (1) Indiana Pacers - This should not be too tough of an opponent for Indiana. The Hawks are the only team in the postseason that hoisted a losing record in the regular season, and yet still earning a playoff spot. That speaks volume to the number of talented teams in the Western Conference, and the lack thereof in the Eastern Conference.
This would be a little more interesting of a series if the Hawks had Al Horford to suit up for them. However, he is out for the season, and the Hawks will have to ride first time All-Star Paul Millsap in his first postseason appearance with his new ballclub. I see this as a rather easy series win for Indiana, although I can see Atlanta playing them tough a few times.
Final Prediction: Indiana Pacers (4-1)
(5) Washington Wizards @ (4) Chicago Bulls - This should be a really fun series for everyone. You have the young, upcoming Wizards team with John Wall and Brad Beal leading the way, and then you have a grity, grinding Chicago team that is hungry to knock off some of the East's top teams. This series will be filled with explosive athleticism, big shots, and great defense. It should be very entertaining.
As far as I am concerned, the Bulls have impressed me incredibly this season. They have been warriors, and the coach-player tandem of Coach Thibs and Joakim Noah are a deadly defensive force. This team plays with a lot of passion and heart, but they also play with fierce and hatred for their opponents. The Wizards athleticism will be tough for Chicago to defend, especially John Wall. The Wizards have not been to the playoffs since 2008, and so this will be a new experience for their younger players, and that is one reason why I think Chicago has the edge here.
Final Prediction: Chicago Bulls (4-2)
(6) Brooklyn Nets @ (3) Toronto Raptors - Talk about grity, wow. This series won't be talked about very much, but I think that this series has the potential to be one of the best grit and grind matchups in the entire postseason. We have the young guys that are playing with a ton of heart and confidence in Toronto, and we have the old vets out in Brooklyn who came together to try to win a championship. This is going to be a really fun series to watch.
Whenever people talk about players dethroning LeBron and the Miami Heat as NBA champions, people talk about the Kevin Durants and Paul Georges of the world, and we often times forget about the older guys out in Brooklyn who were originally the Heat's biggest threat in Boston, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. This could very well be the tandems final postseason run together, and I know that these two would love nothing more than to dethrone the Miami Heat as the NBA's best squad. The Raptors weren't even supposed to be here. Entering the season, the Raptors were supposed to be among the worst teams in the league, fighting for a chance to draft Canada-native Andrew Wiggins. Now, they are the #3 seed in the East, and they have a real shot to do some damage. Will they? Not im my opinion. I think the power that Brooklyn has behind the vast amount of talent will overpower this young and upcoming Toronto Raptors squad.
Final Prediction: Brooklyn Nets (4-2)
(7) Charlotte Bobcats @ (2) Miami Heat - The Bobcats? The Charlotte Bobcats? Yes, the Charlotte Bobcats made the playoffs this season, and finished with a winning record of 43-39. Their reward? A first round matchup against the defending NBA Champions, the Miami Heat. Even though that is a less than desirable matchup in the first round for any team, I think the Bobcats have a really solid chance to win some games because of their post presense with Al Jefferson.
Al Jefferson was an absolute beast this season in Charlotte, and he gave a lot of teams a ton of trouble. With a team like Miami that has trouble defending the paint, this should be a really fun learning experience for this young Bobcats squad. In the end, Miami will be too much to handle, but I do like the Bobcats to win a couple of games in Charlotte.
Final Prediction: Miami Heat (4-2)
Eastern Conference Semifinals:
(4) Chicago Bulls @ (1) Indiana Pacers - Wow. What a second round matchup. Two division rivals that play stellar defense. Both grind, both play big, and both play with a ton of heart and passion. This should be a second round series for the ages. I am really looking forward to this second round matchup.
As far as my prediction goes, it is tough. I honestly think that we could see some final scores in the 70s, simply because both teams struggle to score the ball, and both play stellar defense. This will be a matter of who can hit the big shots, and what team is truly ready for the NBA Finals. It's a tough series to predict, but there has to be a winner, and I think that it will be Indiana, simply because they have a chip on their shoulder from last season.
Final Prediction: Indiana Pacers (4-3)
(6) Brooklyn Nets @ (2) Miami Heat - This should be an incredibly fun series to watch. The Truth and KG are back, most likely for a final time to challenge LeBron James and the Miami Heat. This will be a very solid series, especially because of all of the star power in on the floor. There is an incredible amount of stars and past stars that will be fighting it out for their shot to get back to the NBA Finals, and I think that it will be a tough series.
Both of these teams hate each other, as most teams in the NBA do hate the Miami Heat. Brooklyn is at the top though, specifically because of Pierce and Garnett. This is it. This is their final chance at redemption. I think that they have an amazing shot at pulling off of the upset, but I just cannot see them getting it done. I think Miami makes the conference finals.
Final Prediction: Miami Heat - (4-3)
Eastern Conference Finals:
(2) Miami Heat @ (1) Indiana Pacers - This is the series that everyone has been waiting for in the Eastern Conference. The rematch of the incredible 7-game series last season that ended in Miami earning a trip back to the NBA Finals. These two teams hate each other. There is no disputing that. They have since last year whenever Paul George solidified himself as a superstar in the NBA.
This will be a very defensive oriented game. Paul George has to shut down LeBron James, and the Miami Heat have to shut down the Pacers interior presense of David West and Roy Hibbert. I think that this season's series will be just as, if not more entertaining than last year's series. Everybody is anticipating the outcome of this series, and personally, I think that Roy Hibbert and David West will be a little too much for the Heat to handle, and the King will be knocked off of his NBA Finals run.
Final Prediction: Indiana Pacers (4-3)
Western Conference Quarterfinals:
(8) Dallas Mavericks @ (1) San Antonio Spurs - The Western Conference playoffs are amazing every single season, and this year doesn't disappoint. This matchup pins together two divisional rivals that are both trying to make their way back to the NBA promiseland. Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki are two of the biggest superstars in the NBA, and are future Hall of Famers.
These teams match up pretty well, and I think that it could be closer than most people would probably predict in a first round series between a #1 and a #8, but you may be surprised at how much fight this Dallas squad has. Dirk Nowitzki has been sensational again this season, and Monta Ellis has really proven to be a solid second option on offense. As for San Antonio, you already know what you will get. Tim Duncan will be a beast on both ends, Tony Parker will play Superman, and Manu Ginobili will come off of the bench and light it up.
Final Prediction: San Antonio Spurs (4-2)
(5) Portland Trailblazers @ (4) Houston Rockets - I may be the only one here, but I really am not looking forward to this series for some reason. I'm not sure. I'm not really big on the Portland Trail Blazers for some reason, so I just don't have much interest in this first round series. It most likely will be very entertaining and filled with big shots, but it just doesn't appeal to me, personally.
I think this will be a good matchup because both teams can score the ball in bunches with guys like Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge for Portland and James Harden and Dwight Howard for the Rockets. I don't expect much defense to be played in this series, and I think it will more or less just be a track meet between Damian Lillard and James Harden.
Final Prediction: Houston Rockets (4-2)
(6) Golden State Warriors @ (3) Los Angeles Clippers - This will be a FUN series to watch. Everybody knows that. You honestly could not go wrong with this as the Western Conference Finals, but we get it in the first round, which will be amazing. Like the prior series, this one will likely not have very much defense being played. It will be a fun matchup that will most likely hoist some very high scoring outputs by goes like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee, Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, and Blake Griffin.
These teams match up really well, and we will jusr have to see who is tougher. To me, it goes down to coaching, which is why I have to give the edge to the Los Angeles Clippers. Doc Rivers knows how to coach, and especially in the postseason. Mark Jackson is still a little inexperienced in terms of making a deep run, so I am giving this series to the Clippers.
Final Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers (4-3)
(7) Memphis Grizzlies @ (2) Oklahoma City Thunder - This was a nightmare draw for the Thunder in the first round. The Grizzlies matchup with Oklahoma City very well, especially considering how much the Thunder like to play small ball with Ibaka at the 5. That gives an edge to the Grizzlies, because they have Zach Randolph and Mark Gasol who will both score in the paint a lot. However, the Thunder have Kevin Durant, and even though TayShaun Prince is a very good perimeter defender, nobody can shut down Durant 100% of the time. LeBron James found that out this season.
I think that this too, will be a very solid first round playoff series for the West. The Thunder are going to try to get out on the break and play quickly while the Grizzlies will use a lot of strength and grit to try to wind down this quick-paced Thunder team. It should be a fun series, and I am probably one of a handful of people picking this upset, but I like the Grizzlies in this series.
Final Prediction: Memphis Grizzlies (4-2)
Western Conference Semifinals:
(4) Houston Rockets @ (1) San Antonio Spurs - This should be interesting. The Rockets are looking to run and score the ball quickly, while the Spurs look to be efficient with their possessions. I like the coaching matchup of Coach Pop and Kevin McHale, as I feel that McHale is a very underrated coach in the NBA.
I think that San Antonio's knowledge of defense will haunt the Rockets, and Houston won't really be able to defend San Antonio, especially if Danny Green decides to go off again this year.
Final Prediction: San Antonio Spurs (4-1)
(7) Memphis Grizzlies @ (3) Los Angeles Clippers - This is a series that everyone loves to see. The Grizzlies always have the upper hand and defeat the Clippers, but I feel as though this season may be different. Doc Rivers can make the adjustments that are necessary to contain Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. As long as the Clips and Chris Paul can slow down Mike Conley, I think that they can take the series.
Final Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers (4-3)
Western Conference Finals:
(3) Los Angeles Clippers @ (1) San Antonio Spurs - Two of the best coaches in the game today go head-to-head. This series will be a lot of fun, as it is the Clippers chance to finally get out of the playoff mediocrity. They are well on their way since they made it this far, but they can really change peoples' opinions if they can come out as the Western Conference champions.
Will they do it? I don't think so. The experience and skillset of the San Antonio Spurs roster to me is too elite for the Clippers to handle, and they will come up just shy of the NBA Finals.
Final Prediction: San Antonio Spurs (4-2)
(1) Indiana Pacers @ (1) San Antonio Spurs - This should be an incredible Finals matchup. If San Antonio comes out victorious, I can see Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili retiring on top of the basketball world. If Indiana wins, they could form a dynasty in Indiana that would be extremely difficult to overcome with the core of Paul George, Lance Stephenson, and Roy Hibbert.
These two teams match up pretty well. They both play really good defense, and both teams have a lot of ability to take over a series with one made bucket. It just depends on what you think it takes to win a championship. Obviously defense wins championships, which would make you think that the Pacers have the edge, however the Spurs play good enough defense and the Spurs can score the ball a lot easier than the Pacers can.
Final Prediction: The San Antonio Spurs win the NBA Championship in 6 games over the Indiana Pacers. Tony Parker wins the Most Valuable Player award, and Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili retire together on top of the NBA world.
Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this. Feel free to leave any comments, questions, concerns, or even predictions below! Thanks.
I have a very hard time seeing OKC losing in the first round with Everyone healthy,although i agree the grizzlies are a bad matchup for them.Good effort though on this long post
actually the raptors werent predicted to be one of the worst team in the league lol, everyone here pretty much agreed they were fighting for the 8th seed in the east, and they ended up getting the 3rd seed because the East is just horrible.. Honestly I can see them beating the Nets, they didnt really have a hard time against them this season so.