Predicting the 2015 NBA Playoffs: Second Round

First Round Results: 6-2

I really don’t know how to go on with these playoffs after the series the Clippers and the Spurs just had. Instant classic. Of course, that’s what happens when the NBA gets uptight about its seeding and makes sure Division Champions have home court advantage. And like everyone else, Game 7 was way better than Mayweather/Pacquiao.

A part of me is sad for the Spurs, but a part of me is happy for the Clippers as well. Beating the Spurs gets a little bit of the chip off of Chris Paul’s shoulder but the crazy thing is, he still has to win three more rounds to win a NBA Title! I see a Clippers letdown at some point because of how big this Spurs series was.

I told E that the winner of the Cavs/Bulls series would still have to deal with a peaking (re-peaking? They were pretty excellent in stretches of the regular season) Wizards team and he compared the Wiz to the Bad Boy Pistons. A comparison I quickly agreed to, as all the pieces are there outside of ruthless aggression for no reason and grade A coaching. And John Wall’s wrist must have been really bad to miss Game 2 right? I know I came up in the golden era where you don’t miss playoff games but I don’t see even John Stockton telling Jerry Sloan, “Coach, I can’t go. My dribble is weird.” As long as he plays the rest of the series, I don’t see the Hawks getting to the Conference Finals. I just feel like Atlanta peaked too early in the season and the Wizards are too tough.

The right man won MVP but Steph’s big night in front of the home crowd got ruined by a returning Mike Conley and the Grizz, as they took away Golden State’s vaunted home court advantage. When they’re healthy (which they are) the Grizzlies have been one of the most consistent teams in the NBA. I still feel like Golden State will win this series, but having to get a split in Memphis seems like a tough task. I think the Grizzlies take Game 3, the Warriors outlast them in Game 4, and the Warriors close out a tough series in 6 or 7.

The Bulls took Game 1 against Cleveland and I should be pumped, but being a superstitious fan, I’m not holding my breath. Derrick hasn’t played well off of 1 day’s rest and I look for that streak to continue with the Cavs tying things up tonight, led by an explosion by LeBron. And after going 1-2 in Chicago against Milwaukee, home court advantage doesn’t hold much advantage here. The Bulls will be lucky to take Game 3. After that, JR Smith is back, LeBron will still be trying to make up for Game 1, oh, and Kyrie doesn’t really have any worries about who’s guarding him with Jimmy on LeBron most of the time. And even though the Bulls are my team, I just don’t see them being the ones to put the Cavs out of the playoffs.

Which leaves Houston and the Clippers, which leaves me with nothing to say other than Blake Griffin is playing the best basketball of his life. I don’t think the Clips can ride him to a Game 2 victory without Chris Paul still, as the Rockets are bound to take a few contests in this series. The sooner CP3 gets back on the court though, the sooner the Clippers can await Golden State to escape the Memphis series. Which leaves me with an even crazier thought:

Is the league ready for the Warriors or Clippers to face off against the Wizards in the Finals? Could the 40 years in the making rematch happen between the Warriors and Wizards, the rematch that no one was asking for? Or does the Clippers finally make the NBA Finals as Paul Pierce gets to go for another championship against that other Los Angeles team?

I may just be sipping the Washington Kool-Aid too much, but I really see them beating Cleveland. Call it the Curse, call it the lack of Love, call it luck, but the Wizards winning in 6 or 7 isn’t unfathomable to me. Of course there’s Bron though; the Wizards have no one who can guard him. But then again, most teams don’t have anyone who can guard him; they just deal with the LeBron that shows up that night. Only LeBron can defeat LeBron.

Or the Spurs. Or the Mavericks. Or the Celtics. Or… no, I think that’s it.

Eastern Conference

#1 Atlanta Hawks v. #5 Washington Wizards – Wizards in 6.
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers v. #3 Chicago Bulls – Cavs in 6.

Western Conference

#1 Golden State Warriors v. #5 Memphis Grizzlies – Warriors in 7.
#2 Houston Rockets v. #3 Los Angeles Clippers – Clippers in 6.

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