Welcome to The Blog About Nothing. It’s the 14th of April, and that means only one thing: The NBA playoffs start tomorrow. For the next two months, the climb to the title will be underway. It’s a fun time, but it’s a long time. There should be a way to make the playoffs more efficient but I’m not the NBA Commissioner. I’m just a simple fan who loves basketball.
I love basketball. Probably my favorite sport but I have a confession to make: the season is way too long. 82 games feels like a lot and a playoffs that last just over two months can be excruciating. I know there is a ton of travel and it can take a lot of wear and tear on the body, but as a fan it feels like a season can go on forever. Even for fans of the game, such as myself.
Starting off in the East we have the Boston Celtics versus the Chicago Bulls. Props to the Celtics for finishing as the one seed, and to the Bulls for fighting through all of their turmoil just to make the playoffs. Both teams deserve a bow, but if I’m Boston I would be nervous with this matchup. In Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and Rajon Rondo the Bulls have talented and experienced players that would match up well with the still relatively untested Celtics.
The Bulls have length, athleticism, and a couple of shooters that could give Boston fits. I think the Celtics take the series, but I wouldn’t be shocked at all if we get an 8 seed beating out a 1 seed. Celtics in six games, but once again, be prepared for the unexpected.
Moving on we have the Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Indiana Pacers. The Cavaliers might be the reigning champs but they have not had a good season at all. They’ve had injuries and they have had meltdowns. The Pacers could take them. They won’t but the Cavs will have a tougher match up than they might want to kick off these playoffs. If anything at least we’ll get to see Lance Stephenson versus LeBron one more time. Thank goodness the Pacers brought Lance back because that match up is always fun. Cavaliers in six.
The Toronto Raptors versus the Milwaukee Bucks looks like a fun little playoff series. The Raptors have the experience but I’ve been high on the Bucks for a long time now. The Greek Freak is one of my favorite players to watch and Milwaukee is a tall team that is capable of playing fluid, position free basketball. Toronto should win the series and I don’t expect Milwaukee to take a game at the raucous Air Canada Centre, but I’ll look forward to watching every game of the series. Raptors in five.
Finally we have the Atlanta Hawks versus the Washington Wizards. The Wizards should run all over Atlanta but Atlanta is scrappy. They fought through an early season slump and they do have the players to make a run at not only the Wizards but a run through the playoffs. They do, but I have a feeling that this will be the playoffs of John Wall. Wall has been bubbling below the surface for a few seasons now but this feels like the playoffs where he finally breaks through and becomes one of the elite stars of the game. It’s his time to shine and I think the Wizards win a track meet of a series in five games.
The East sounds like fun but the real meat and potatoes of the NBA playoffs is in the West. The talented teams are in the West. The best teams are in the West, and whoever comes out of there will be your NBA Champion. Count on it.
The Golden State Warriors take on the Portland Trailblazers in the first round. The series will be a homecoming for Oakland native point guard Damian Lillard but it’s going to be a rough one. A healthy Kevin Durant will easily push the Warriors past the Blazers. I won’t even waste your time with a breakdown. Warriors will sweep and take the series in four games.
The San Antonio Spurs have an interesting matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs had their typical dominant regular season but in the Grizzlies they drew the one first round matchup that can give them fits. As a matter of fact the Grizz knocked the Spurs out of the first round not too long ago, and they are more than capable of doing it again. However, I don’t think they do and I’ll give you one reason why: Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard has had an MVP caliber season. Of course he won’t win it, due to Russell Westbrook and James Harden being around but Leonard is nearing unstoppable status. The Grizz will be tough, but no Tony Allen for them means no series win for them either. Spurs in 6.
The best first round matchup has to be between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Those two teams feature the two leading MVP candidates in James Harden and Russell Westbrook. In last week’s blog I explained why Westbrook should be the MVP, but he will be playing against a man in James Harden that could possibly take that award from him.
This series could legitimately go either way. Both teams have a superstar and not much else around them. The one that plays the most efficient basketball will win and both men will have a lot to prove against the other. I’m going to say Thunder in 7 games but I’m not confident at all in that prediction.
Finally we have the Los Angeles Clippers versus the Utah Jazz. I have a confession to make: I know very little about the Jazz. Doesn’t mean that I do not respect them. It’s just that I live in New York City and the Jazz wasn’t exactly on television a ton this season. They are under the radar to me.
I do know a lot about the Clippers. Once again they have had a ton of injuries and at times they have underperformed this season. However, they are healthy heading into the playoffs and I think their experience will carry the day over the Jazz. I’ll say Clippers in five games.
As much as the playoffs can be a bit tough to get into because there are so many days off between games, it is still a great time if you’re a fan of basketball. Even though some series feel like they go on forever, I still can’t wait to watch. I love the game and it really is fantastic.
Thanks for reading.
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