Joao: The Cavaliers are banged up, with Kevin Love out and Kyrie Irving hobbling, but they were able to beat what was, in my opinion, the second best team in the East (Bulls). They did it without LeBron underperforming in a couple of games in that series, and some other players were able to step up, chiefly Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert.
On the other hand the Hawks have not been playing the same kind of basketball they were able to muster during the first two thirds of the season and they are not going to have a significant interior advantage, which is the Cavaliers’ kryptonite. Cavaliers beat Hawks 4-2
Steve: Atlanta squeaked out a victory over an injured Washington team. Still don’t trust them. They will not get by the Cavs. Cleveland over Atlanta in 6.
David: This one is a bit harder to guess than most. This comes down to Horford. If he can play, then the Hawks have a chance, if he’s not able to perform, then the Hawks are toast. I have to go Cavs in 6.
Earl: I STILL don’t believe in Atlanta. I know they are the number one seed in the East, but I am not impressed. If Kyrie Irving is healthy, I’d be tempted to say Cavs in 4 but I’ll give the Hawks a game. Cleveland in 5.
Joao: In a showdown of MVP and runner-up this is going to be a great series. Even though everyone was already preparing for the Warriors to face the Clippers, the Rockets were able to almost miraculously come back from 1-3. The Rockets were able to come back through important contributions from Josh Smith and Corey Brewer, adding to the 1-2 punch of James Harden and Dwight Howard. Howard will need to dominate Bogut inside for the Rockets to win this series.
But the Warriors showed against the Grizzlies that size does not necessarily beat them. Golden State will have some cold nights but they will outshoot the Rockets and reach the NBA Finals. Houston will miss Patrick Beverly’s defense in this series. Warriors beat Rockets 4-3
Steve: Should be an awesome series as both teams are coming in hot. Golden State is too tough to beat at home especially that Houston struggles on the road. Golden State over Houston in 6.
David: I still have no faith in the Rockets. I have a lot more faith in the Warriors than I did a month ago. The Rockets have not won with defense, and they have not won with Dwight Howard. How are you going to take down the Warriors shooting three’s? This is like trying to outrun Usain Bolt. Warriors in FOUR.
Earl: Really looking forward to this series. Steph Curry vs. James Harden is the matchup I think we are all looking forward to. However, as much as NBA promotes stars, this is still a team game. With that said the better team is the Golden State Warriors. Curry may get all the focus but I think we are going to see Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have some big games against the Rockets. Warriors win this in 5 games.