Golden State Warriors (1) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (8)
The Warriors finished the season with a 57-25 record which was good, but slightly underwhelming considering the roster. Despite this, they maintained the best record in the Western Conference this year. The Clippers season record was 48-34, the Clippers won the first game between the season series of the two teams. Warriors won the second, third, and fourth game of the season series. So with this being said, the Clippers should be able to take a couple from the Warriors in the series.
Prediction: Warriors take the series 4-2
San Antonio Spurs (7) vs. Denver Nuggets (2)
This series is a seven seed vs a two seed in the first round of NBA playoffs. Denver has proved themselves as a two seed in the west with a 54-28 record which is the 4th best in the NBA. The Spurs have rounded out the season with a 48-34 record landing them in seventh place. The Spurs have been a historically great playoff team and are hard to beat with veteran coach Greg Popovich leading the way. Nikola Jokic (20.1 ppg, 10.8 rpg) and Jamal Murray (18.2 ppg, 4.8 apg) have been key for the Nuggets this season. On the other side, the Spurs are led by DeMar DeRozan (21.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 6.2 apg) in his first season with the squad.
Prediction: Denver takes the series 4-3.
Blazers (3) vs. Thunder (6)
The Blazers went 53-29 in the Western Conference season while the Thunder went 49-33 in the Western Conference. Both teams where in the Western Conference but the Blazers placed third while the Thunder placed sixth. In the regular season Portland lost all four times against Oklahoma so chances of the Blazers winning in the playoff series are not very high. The key players from Portland would be Damian Lillard and Enes Kanter. Oklahoma City’s key players are Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
Prediction: Thunder wins four out of the seven game series.
Houston Rockets (4) vs. Utah Jazz (5)
This season Houston went 53-29, and Utah went 50-32. Houston won the first game 122-90 of the series. I believe that houston is going to win in game 6. Houston top stars are, potential MVP James Harden, and point guard Chris Paul, and center Clint Capela. The top 3 players for Utah are, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Joe Ingles. These two athletic teams are poised to have a back and forth, high scoring series, but it could come down to how well Utah can defend Rockets star player James Harden.
Prediction: Rockets win the series 4-2.
Milwaukee Bucks (1) Vs. Detroit Pistons (8)
The Bucks are 60-22 in the regular season, and 1-0 in the playoffs so far. Some player to watch on the Bucks are Giannis Antetokounmpo, leading in points (27.7), rebounds (12.5) and assists (5.9) for his team. Eric Bledsoe leads the team in steals (1.5), and big man Brook Lopez leads the team in blocks (2.2). The Detroit Pistons are 41-41 in the regular season, and 0-1 in the Play-offs thus far. Luke Kennard leads the team in points in game one (21). Andre Drummond is the team’s big man, and needs to step up in the rest of the series if the Pistons are to compete with the Bucks.
Prediction: Bucks win the series 4-1.
Raptors(2) vs. Magic(7)
The Raptors hold a solid record of 58-24 while their opponent the Orlando Magic are doing a less impressive 42-40. This is the first time in six years that the Magic have been in the playoffs and the first time Kawhi Leonard has played in the playoffs with the Raptors. The Magic have up and coming star from the famous song, Mo Bamba. This admittedly gave the team a lot of hype for this year. Earlier in this year when these teams have matched up they’ve went back and forth. A player to watch out for from the Raptors is Kawhi Leonard who averages 26 points per game and for the magic Nikola Vucevic averages almost 21 points per game.
Prediction: Raptors win 4-2 with some good, close games.
Nets (6) vs. Philadelphia (3)
The Nets overtake the the Sixers in an upset over the third seed. The Nets first visit to playoffs in four years and they came out strong in the first game. The Sixers are supposed to be a Eastern Conference Finals team, but haven’t separated themselves from the Nets quite yet. They finally have showed that they can play with the sixth seed with an 145-123 win in game two. Watch for DeAngelo Russell for the Nets to score at will. The health of Joel Embiid’s knee could be a determining factor in the series.
Prediction: Nets win the series in seven games.
Boston Celtics (4) vs. Indiana Pacers (5)
The Boston Celtics finished the season with a somewhat disappointing record of 49-33. For a team who went to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, and returned their entire core plus Gordon Hayward, expectations were high. The Pacers finished just a game behind the Celtics at 48-34 and were without star player Victor Oladipo for much of the season. The Celtics took the regular season series 3-1. A player to watch for Indiana is Bojan Bogdanovic, who averaged 18 points per game this season and shot 42% from behind the arc. Boston, however, counters with perennial all-star Kyrie Irving (23.8 ppg, 6.8 apg, 5.0 rpg).
Prediction: Boston takes the series in a five game gentleman’s sweep, 4-1.
Written by Eddyville's own Sports Media Class.