NBA Playoff Preview: Western Conference
(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (8) New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans were able to claim the final playoff spot in the Western Conference on Wednesday night over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Pelicans owned the tie breaker over Oklahoma City because of a game-winning buzzer-beater that Anthony Davis drained to beat the Thunder back in February. The Warriors did not have a problem making the playoffs, as they own the best record in the NBA.
I think that Anthony Davis will cause some havoc in the paint against the Warriors, but the Splash Brothers are going to overwhelm New Orleans. I have the Warriors sweeping the series.
(2) Houston Rockets vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks
The Houston Rockets have been led by MVP candidate James Harden. For the majority of the season, Harden has been going solo because Dwight Howard was out for over 30 games consecutively due to an injury. Harden has been surrounded by injury riddled teammates, but he hasn’t let that stop him. The Mavericks have not been as hot as the Rockets, and have had some chemistry issues with new point guard Rajon Rondo. Dallas brought Rondo in to try to lead the Mavericks along side of Dirk Nowitzki.
This series will be a hard-fought, physical series, but I have the Houston Rockets winning this series in 5 games. I just think that Harden will be way to much for the Mavericks’ backcourt to handle.
(3) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (6) San Antonio Spurs
This is probably the most intriguing series in either conference. The Spurs are the defending champions, but the Clippers are oozing with talent. The Clippers are playing as good as they have all season right now. The Clippers big men, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, are going to have to absolutely dominate against Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs may be old, but you can never count them out because of what they have done in the past.
This series will be determined by who plays better defense, and I am going to have to go with San Antonio in 7. I think that this will be a back and forth series, but I see San Antonio coming away with the series.
(4) Portland Trailblazers vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies have dropped from the No.2 seed in the Western Conference to No. 5 because of the play of the Houston Rockets. Memphis was seeking their first division title in franchise history, but they fell just short. Portland has entered the playoffs not on any streak. They are just playing average, but they are winning games.
This series is going to come down to the post play. I am going to have to go with Memphis in 6 games because of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. These two players are going to lead the way for Memphis as they try to return to the Western Conference Finals.