2017 NBA First Round Predictions: Western Conference

Welcome to the playoffs, after a zillion games and some even played by superstars between rest periods, we have gotten to the only point of the season that matters.

This year, just for fun, we are going to bet on the games, kind of a confidence portion to the picks, each member has 200 bucks. Earl did post his predictions as well on his always excellent Blog About Nothing, so you should know his thoughts, as I know you read that Friday, right?

#1 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 8 Portland Trail Blazers

David: Can I guess the over/under in Nut-shots on Damon? This series is a sweep, even as they slide Durant into the rotation. $25

Chad: Warriors in 5 $15

Joe: Golden State in 4  $25

Steve: Golden State over Portland in 4 games $25

Earl: The Golden State Warriors take on the Portland Trailblazers in the first round. The series will be a homecoming for Portland raised 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. $25


#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #7 Memphis Grizzlies   

David: Do these teams play every year? I mean really. The Spurs have been a classic under the media radar team, seemingly missing the personality that Duncan provided. LaMarcus Aldridge is no Duncan, but Duncan never had a sidekick like Kawai either. Actually, I think Aldridge is the sidekick here. Memphis is a decent team, and they know the Spurs, so that should allow them to take a game or two. Spurs in 5, 15 Bucks.

Chad: Spurs in 6 $15

Joe: Spurs in 5 $25

Steve: San Antonio over Memphis in 5 games  $25

Earl: 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. $10


#5 Houston Rockets vs. #6 Oklahoma City Thunder     

David: Our two MVP candidates going head to head. Problem is, due to the NBA being stupid, we have no idea on who is the MVP, as the NBA is going to wait until after the playoffs for a regular season award. The question becomes is who has the better coaching and supporting cast? I’m looking at the Thunder here, as they have the better defense, but it’s going to be a dogfight. 5 bucks on the 6th game going to the Thunder.

Chad: Rockets in 7 $10

Joe: Oklahoma City in 7  $5

Steve: Houston over Oklahoma City in 7 games $15

Earl: 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. $7


#4 LA Clippers vs. #5 Utah Jazz   

David: This one could be interesting. The Jazz have REALLY snuck up on the world. I bet most people reading this can’t name their starting 5. The Clippers, on the other hand, have all the names, but none of the potential. Chris Paul is still the best PG in the NBA, but the gap has closed a bit with age, Blake Griffith is impressive, but not as much, and DeAndre Jordan is . . . well, maybe the Mavericks are not hating him going back to LA. That being said, I’ll take the young team as I’m ready for the Clippers to get blown up. Jazz in 5 for $5

Chad: Jazz in 7 $5

Joe: LA in 7  $5

Steve:  Utah over LA Clippers in 7 games $5

Earl: 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. $13

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