I know that the 2017 NBA Playoffs are already underway. It was a rookie mistake. With everything that went on at church yesterday, I thought the first few games would start tomorrow. Don’t worry. I’m sticking to my picks and predictions even with the results of today’s games. Let’s open things up with the Western Conference side of things.
1. Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trailblazers: Warriors in 5
Kevin Durant is still getting back into the groove of things. The Blazers’ dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will probably come through for them in one of their home games. But this series is definitely a lock for the Dubs which rank first in offensive rating and second in defensive rating.
2. Los Angeles Clippers vs Utah Jazz: Clippers in 6
I don’t have much to say about this series. The trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan is probably too much even for the Jazz’ defense which is anchored by Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Rudy Gobert.
3. Houston Rockets vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Rockets in 7
This is the best first round match-up by far simply because of the storyline between the two opposing superstars – James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The former teammates are neck-and-neck in the Most Valuable Player race and both would not want to lose to the other. As such, I believe this pairing will go the distance. Too bad the winner of the MVP award will not be announced during the series like before. It would have added to the drama.
4. San Antonio Spurs vs Memphis Grizzlies: Spurs in 5
The ugliest games are certainly going to come from this series. Defense wins championships and these squads are two of the best defensive teams in the league. It might be fun, though, to see the Gasol brothers duke it out in the paint.
Now, let’s switch over to the Eastern Conference.
1. Boston Celtics vs Chicago Bulls: Bulls in 7
Can Isaiah Thomas lead the C’s against Butler, Wade, Rondo, and the rest of the Bulls? While I would like them to beat Chicago, I don’t see Boston getting past them this round. The sheer difference in experience and star power is difficult to overcome even for the top-ranked Celtics.
2. Washington Wizards vs Atlanta Hawks: Hawks in 7
Ah, #4 vs. #5 will always be tricky. The boys from DC already landed the first blow in the first game but I think Atlanta will prevail in the end. John Wall and Bradley Beal will do everything in their power to make sure Washington prevails. However, the Hawks will ultimately soar above the competition.
3. Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks: Raptors in 6
Toronto still hasn’t won a Game 1. I don’t know what happened in their first game against the young Bucks but they’ll eventually get their act together and end Milwaukee’s season which sets up another showdown with LeBron and the Cavs.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers vs Indiana Pacers: Cavs in 5
Paul George takes his game up a notch in the Playoffs. However, Cleveland is just too deep for the Pacers to put up any sort of challenge. The defending champions would probably lose one to Indiana but their advance into the second round is inevitable.
Well, there you have my picks and predictions for the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs. Please bear in mind that I am not an expert NBA analyst. I am just a casual fan like most of you. But thank you for reading this feature! If you have anything to say about this article, please don’t hesitate to leave your comments below.
I’ll be back for my picks and predictions for the Conference Semifinals!