Lets start out in the Western Conference:
No. 1 Spurs vs. No. 8 Grizzlies
While I do think that the duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph will pose a problem for the Spurs who’s starting big men consist of the decent Tiago Splitter and the aging Tim Duncan, I think that the Spurs will win this series 4-2. This all depends on Tony Parker’s injury however. Although Coach Popovich says that there is no new injury and nothing to worry about, in April, Tony has only played in 5 games. He has averaged 22.6 minutes in April and 12.4 points and 3.2 assists. If Tony is hampered by his injury, I think the Grizzlies will upset the Spurs 4-3.
No. 2 Thunder vs. No. 7 Mavericks
I just don’t see the Mavericks stopping the Thunder. Kevin Durant has been spectacular this year and I think he alone can carry the Thunder through the playoffs. Add in Russell Westbrook who has finally begun playing like the All-Star he is, and the Mavericks don’t stand a chance. Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis will be formidable duo for KD and Westbrook, but it won’t matter. I predict the Thunder winning this 4-1.
No. 3 Clippers vs. N0. 6 Warriors
The Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will prove to be an interesting challenge for the L.A. Clippers. The Clippers are 2-2 on the season against the Warriors and relied on the play of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to win those games. I predict that the Clippers will win a close one at 4-3.
No. 4 Rockets vs. No. 5 Trailblazers
While Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge have carried the Trailblazers to their first playoff appearance since the 2010-2011 season, the trio of James Harden, Dwight Howard, and Omer Asik are too much to handle for the Blazers. Yes, I included Omer Asik. Asik is a key part of the Rockets and I think that if the Rockets give him the minutes he deserves, the Rockets will win this series. It would be prudent for the Rockets to start both Howard and Asik as this would overwhelm the starting big men of the Blazers, Aldridge and Robin Lopez. I have the Rockets winning this one 4-2.
On to the Eastern Conference:
No. 1 Pacers vs. No. 8 Hawks
You may think that I am picking the Hawks just because I’m a die-hard fan, but I really do think the Hawks can win this series. This all depends on the play of Roy Hibbert who has literally sucked this April. On top of that, I feel that he is consistently over-rated. Off topic, but Kwame Brown who was named a bust had a stat line of 10.9 – 7.4 – 1.5 – 48.9% FG in the 2003-2004 season. Roy Hibbert who was named an All-Star had a stat line of 10.8 – 6.6 – 2.3 – 44.2% FG in 2013-2014. Paul Millsap, Pero Antic, and Elton Brand will wear down David West and Roy Hibbert and will open up the front court for the Hawks. Jeff Teague’s slashing style and Kyle Korver’s shooting will also help the Hawks to victory. Mike Scott will be a good source of points and rebounds and will spread the floor as a big man who can shoot the three. The under-rated DeMarre Carroll will provide above-average stats and the improving Lou Williams will help the Hawks. I have my Hawks winning this series 4-3.
No. 2 Heat vs. No. 7 Bobcats
The improved play of the Bobcats will be a small challenge for the Heat, but nothing can stop LeBron James and his sidekicks Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Easy call, the Heat will win this 4-1.
No. 3 Raptors vs. No. 6 Wizards
The Raptors surprised me this season after becoming better after they traded away Rudy Gay. John Wall has led the Wizards to their first playoff appearance since the 2007-2008 season. These teams are truly evenly matched but John Wall and Marcin Gortat will lead this team to the second round. The Wizards will win this 4-3.
No. 4 Bulls vs. No. 5 Nets
Once again, the Bulls were expected to roll over and die when their leader Derrick Rose was hurt. Instead, they won enough games to become the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. Joakim Noah has morphed into a point guard/center hybrid who can pass, rebound, and score whenever he wants to. The aging and fading Paul Piece and Kevin Garnett will be non factors this series and the streaky Deron Williams will solidify the Nets postseason fate. The Bulls have this 4-2.
No. 1 Spurs vs. No. 8 Grizzlies, Spurs win 4-2 contingent on Tony Parker playing. Otherwise, Grizzlies win 4-3.
No. 2 Thunder vs. No. 7 Mavericks, Thunder win 4-1
No. 3 Clippers vs. N0. 6 Warriors, Clippers win 4-3
No. 4 Rockets vs. No. 5 Trailblazers, Rockets win 4-2
No. 1 Pacers vs. No. 8 Hawks, Hawks win 4-3
No. 2 Heat vs. No. 7 Bobcats, Heat win 4-1
No. 3 Raptors vs. No. 6 Wizards, Wizards win 4-3
No. 4 Bulls vs. No. 5 Nets, Bulls win 4-2
Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, NBA News, NBA Playoffs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors