NBA Playoff Previews! Part One

Welcome to the 7poundbag Playoff Previews! Today we talk the series that kick off on Saturday, and tomorrow we will finish with the Sunday-starting Series.

 

Brooklyn Nets Toronto Raptors

Brooklyn Nets

 vs.

Toronto Raptors

EJ: The Case for the Brooklyn Nets: The Nets might be the 6th seed, but they have the experience in this matchup with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. Jason Kidd might be a rookie coach but the Raptors will be hard pressed to keep up with the core four. Add to the group surging rookie Mason Plumlee and the Nets have all the pieces to give the Raptors fits.

The Case for the Toronto Raptors: The Raptors had the best record in the Eastern Conference after trading away Rudy Gay on December 9, 2013. The Raptors attack the rim, get the opposing team in foul trouble, and they nail their free throws once they get to the line. They’re also an athletic bunch that can run circles against the aging Nets.

So who do I like? I think the Raptors can give the Nets fits but I love the playoff experience that the Nets have. Their experience should push them to a victory in 5 games over the inexperienced Raptors.

DJ: The case for the Brooklyn Nets: As EJ will tell you, I loved it when the Nets acquired PP and KG from the Celtics. Brooklyn got two proven postseason players who can perform under the bright lights of the playoffs. The Nets have a deeper rotation of quality players in Williams, JJ, KG, PP, Marcus Thornton, Andray Blatche, Mirza Teletovic, Mason Plumlee, Andrei Kirilneko and Shaun Livingston. The addition of Thornton gives them two players (along with Blatche) that can score in double figures off the bench.

The case for the Toronto Raptors: Since the Rudy Gay trade this team has steamrolled through the opposition and played better team basketball. The Raps have the advantage in the backcourt with a young duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, they are easily more dynamic than Williams and JJ.

I like the Nets in 5 games. The aforementioned playoff experience is what tips the scales in their favor. This is why Brooklyn acquired the two grizzled old veterans.

David: The Case for the Brooklyn Nets:Three of the four games were decided by seven total points. The season series was split 2-2. Tell me who on the Raptors you trust more than the Truth. How about KG? Heck, I’d almost take Deron Williams over anyone on the Raptors. I’m not scared of Terrance Ross in a close game. Jason Kidd may be a bust as a coach thus far, but I could coach the Nets and win a game or two.

The Case for the Toronto Raptors: Run baby Run. In a tightly packed series- moving up and down should help. The Raptors can put in a bunch of buckets in a short amount of time with multiple lineups. When the Nets go to the bench, they lost a lot of scoring power. They also have the advantage of Jason Kidd and Deron Williams having mental snafus.

So who do I like? I like the Raptors in 6. The Raptors are underrated and yes they are young, but young players can win a series or two. They trust their system and they trust each other. Thats more than the Nets can say. Raptors in 6.

Golden State Warriors LA Clippers

Golden State Warriors

vs.

Los Angeles Clippers

EJ : The Case for the Golden State Warriors: The Warriors have shooting in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, and a lockdown defender in Andre Iguodala. They also are very good at getting under the Clippers skin. These two teams hate each other and the Warriors know exactly what they have to do, to push the Clippers buttons.

The case for Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Paul is the straw that stirs the drinks. Yeah, Blake Griffin has improved on offense, and DeAngelo Jordan is a player to focus on inside, but it’s Paul that makes it all go. If he can attack the rim and get his points, as well as set up his teammates then this is going to be a quick series for the Clippers.

So who do I like? Clippers in 7 games. I want this series to go 7. Why? This series is going to have fireworks. They hate each other, they tend to fight each other, and their games usually end in nailbiters. This will be the best series of the 1st round.

DJ: The case for the Golden State Warrirors: GS has a loaded team (compared to last years surprising squad) and they have a lockdown defender in Iggy, something they really missed last season. The Warriors want to run and make this a helter-skelter game. The Clipps like to run also, but they can also play the halfcourt game well with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. If this is a really high scoring series, I think it favors the W’s.

The case for the Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Paul and Blake Griffin is a great 1-2 punch. It’s an inside-outside connection as opposed to Golden State’s perimeter based offense. I also like the addition of Redick to this LA team. He provides the outside shooting they need and he and Jamal Crawford give them a nice 1-2 punch at shooting guard. And DeAndre Jordan has had a great season as he has continued to develop, I like his matchup against Andrew Bogut.

I like the Clippers in 6 games. CP has the reinforcements he has needed to make it out of the first round with the Clippers.

David: The Case for the Golden State Warriors:They have a TON of talent. Bogut, Iggy, Klay, Barnes, Steph and Lee is a team with depth, defense, shooting and should be better than they are.

The Case for the Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Paul is the best point in the game, and while Iggy can slow him, he cannot stop him. I can see a split in the first two games, until the Clippers get into a rhythm and break down the young team. Plus I’ve seen Barnes melt when in mattered for years.

So who do I like? This comes down to the paint. If the Warriors own the glass, they will burn the Clippers out of the building. The Clippers must fight to a draw on the boards, and win easy buckets on the break. The more often we see Blake on the open court that can excite the crowd and give his team a lift, the better. I don’t trust Mark Jackson, yet. Plus Bogut and Lee being out gives me Clippers in 5 exciting games.

Atlanta Hawks Indiana Pacers

Atlanta Hawks

vs.

Indiana Pacers


EJ : The Case for the Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks have an interesting player in Paul Milsapp. He can score both inside and outside. They also have a pretty solid point guard in Jeff Teague but they are going to need all World efforts from their starting 5 to beat the Pacers in this series.

The Case for the Indiana Pacers: The Pacers limped badly down the stretch, but they should sweep the Atlanta Hawks. Paul George, Lance Stephenson, and Roy Hibbert are the 3 best players in this series.

So who do I like? Pacers in a sweep. I’m not high on Indiana. I’m just low on the Hawks. They made the playoffs, but I don’t see them taking a game off of Indiana.

DJ: The case for the Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks played well when they were healthy this season, they play an interesting brand of team basketball but Al Horford missed most of the season and won’t be ready, if he plays. Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague had good seasons and would need big series for them to win.

The case for the Indiana Pacers: The Pacers should win this series easily, but they struggled down the stretch after Paul George’s well documented off the court troubles. George is a phenomenal talent and the Pacers have more talent on their roster from top to bottom.

I like the Pacers to win in 5 games. I think the Hawks can win a game and Indiana limping to the finish line has me thinking they can be vulnerable. I think Millsap has a huge game and helps Atlanta steal a game.

David: The Case for the Atlanta Hawks I like Jeff Teague, always been high on him. I felt before the season that Horford and Millsap would be an excellent pair- hasn’t exactly worked out so far, even with Horford being hurt.

The Case for the Indiana Pacers: Just too much talent. I don’t like the way Hibbert has played this year, and Bynum has been poison so far, but again, I have a hard time seeing the Hawks doing that well against the Pacers for a seven game series. I do love Teague, but Paul George is exceptional in spurts, his ceiling is higher than Teagues.

So who do I like? The Pacers have problems, monster problems, but I think they have too many weapons for the Hawks depleted roster. Give the Hawks another year- an upgrade for Carroll, a healthy Horford, and they could be a lot closer to a one seed than repeating the eighth. This year? No chance. Pacers in 5. 

Memphis Grizzlies OKC Thunder

Memphis Grizzlies

VS

Oklahoma City Thunder

EJ :The Case for the Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies beat the Thunder in the playoffs last season and they come into the playoffs healthier than they have all season. Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol will be a tough duo for the Thunder to guard.

The Case for the Oklahoma City Thunder: The Grizzlies did beat the Thunder last year in the 2nd round but the Thunder did not have Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is healthy and coming into the playoffs playing a high brand of basketball. Also, let me not forget that the Thunder have soon to be named Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant on their side. The Slim Reaper is the best player in the game and the Grizzlies have no answer for him.

So who do I like? Thunder in 5 games. Russell Westbrook makes all the difference.

DJ: The case for the Memphis Grizzlies: Like EJ stated, the Grizzlies beat the Thunder last year. However, the Thunder were without All-World point guard Russell Westbrook. Memphis has a great frontcourt with and Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, this is where they have a decided advantage over OKC. They need to control the tempo and keep it a half-court game, not a run and gun tempo. That’s how they can take advantage of their strength and size. Mike Conley has quietly turned himself into a poor-man’s Tony Parker, he’s an excellent floor general.

The case for the Oklahoma City Thunder:

In Kevin Durant and Westbrook, the Thunder have two of the best players in the game. They are both top 10 caliber players in the NBA and both are capable of going off for 40 points on any given night.

I like the Grizzlies in 7 games. The Thunder have played better without RW for stretches this season since he commands the ball so much. I think this will be an issue and Memphis plays a better brand of team basketball. Memphis with the upset.

David: The Case for the Memphis Grizzlies: Westbrook could get hurt. Gasol can be a monster for Perkins.

The Case for the Oklahoma City Thunder: Some dude named Durant might be pretty good. Ibaka can pound on you. Westbrook seems to be happy as a solid number 2.

So who do I like? How can the Grizzlies win? Westbrook has a meltdown, Durant gets hurt, the Grizzlies have the advantage in 2 areas, the Center Position and Head Coach. Thats it. Thunder in Four.

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About Earl (EJ) Brewster 284 Articles
Born, raised, and still reside in Brooklyn, New York. I'm in my mid 30's, and I love sports, music, politics, and blogging about real life. You can find me on Twitter at @EJ_Brooklyn_Own

1 Comment

  1. I like the Raptors, Clippers (although I would’ve taken the Warriors if Bogut was healthy), Pacers and Thunder although I can easily see Memphis pulling off the upset.

    Good read.

    Oh and David, I think Lee is still gonna play for GS but props to you for knowing Bogut is out.

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