April 14, 2017

NBA 2017 first-round preview

by In: Basketball

Since we did a little playoff preview for the NHL, it just wouldn’t be fair to not look at the first round of the coming NBA playoffs.

Granted, our knowledge about hoops is only marginally better than about ice hockey, it shouldn’t really matter when you look at some of these matchups – most of which are real mismatches. But that’s just the first round of the NBA playoffs for you.

And, in case you were curious, our pre-season predictions, we did a lot better than in the NHL (9/16 playoff teams), hitting on 5/8 in the East (missing with Detroit, New York and Charlotte) and astounding 7/8 in the West, missing with just Minnesota over Memphis.


Boston over Chicago in six.

The Bulls got in thanks largely to the Nets resting players for no good reason in the finale, but they are a hot team. The Celtics seem like a smoke-and-mirrors No. 1 and should be tested, but will win it.

Cleveland over Indiana in four.

The Cavs might lose one game, but that’s it. It’s the playoffs now and LeBron and Co. will finally get serious.

Toronto over Milwaukee in five.

I have my issues with this Raptors team, but the fact is that they are good, versatile and have tons of playoff experience now. The Bucks are young and athletic and could steal a game or two, but not the whole series.

Washington over Atlanta in five.

Are the Hawks really good enough to be the No. 5 seed? Nobody on that team really scares you and the Wizards have one of the most dangerous backcourts in the league. Getting some bench scoring at the deadline also helped.


Golden State over Portland in five.

The only thing that is stopping me from picking a sweep is the fact that Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum could easily combine for 60 points and the Warriors could be cold during one game in the Pacific Northwest.

San Antonio over Memphis in four.

If you like teams that grind it out, this is a first-round series for you. Spurs-Grizzlies should be a methodical matchup, but Memphis doesn’t have what it takes to compete with the perennial contenders.

Houston over Oklahoma City in seven.

James Harden vs. Russell Westbrook: The top two MVP candidates (Sorry, Kawhi and LeBron) go head-to-head in the first round and it should be thrilling basketball to watch. This one should go down to the wire with the actual MVP winning out in the end. Also, how many combined triple-doubles will we see this series from Harden and Russ? Ten?

Utah over L.A. Clippers in six.

The only upset I’m taking, and it’s not much of one. The Clips have been here before and could take this series, but the Jazz are a solid, up-and-coming team that could cause problems for L.A.’s vets. This should be the end of the line for this group of Clips that has never lived up to their potential.

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