Friday, April 15, 2016

2015-2016 NBA Playoffs

The first round matchups probably won't provide any earth shattering series this year but 16 teams still have hope.  It does seem like a lot of haves and have nots in the first round.  The second round is where I expect things to really get cooking.  I'll look at each series starting with my teams.

Boston @ Atlanta - Boston looks good this year and are led by all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Jae Crowder.  Atlanta is the higher seed and have home court advantage though the teams have identical records.  I, along with others, see the Celtics as the favorite.  Atlanta was good this year but not great.  They weren't able to build on the success they had last year and get better. They've taken a step back.  While Paul Milsap, Jeff Teague, and Al Horford are good none can carry this team.  In the playoffs the rotation will be shortened which is good for Atlanta as they don't have much depth outside of PG Dennis Schroder.  Teams have caught on to staying out on Kyle Korver limiting his effectiveness and scoring (9 ppg) while taking away an important part of their offense.  It just seems Atlanta is ripe for the upset.  They don't beat the better teams and I put Boston in that group.  Boston 4-2.

Portland @ LA Clippers - Portland has Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum but not much after that.  Unless the Clippers can't guard either of these two guys LA should be able to win this series pretty handily.  The Trail Blazers are a great story this year but they really are a two man team. LA has three legit stars along with good supporting players.  I'd be surprised if Portland can steal more than one game from the Clippers.  The Clippers have all the pressure on them and  can't get caught looking ahead to the second round and a possible matchup with Golden State.  LA Clippers 4-1

Detroit @ Cleveland - Cleveland is healthy and should be able to roll through this series.  Don't get me wrong.  The Pistons have some good players in Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Marcus Morris.  They are balanced and will hopefully make the games close.  Still Cleveland's big three will be too much.  Cleveland 3-1

Indiana @ Toronto - Toronto is my hope for giving Cleveland a run in the playoffs.  Not sure they can actually do it but they have two young studs in Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan.  That will be enough against an Indiana team that has been inconsistent at best.  Toronto 4-1

Charlotte @ Miami - Charlotte is a nice team that has flown under the radar this year while winning 48 games.  They can spread the court and have Al Jefferson back to work the boards.  Still Miami is playing very well even with Chris Bosh out.  I'd like to think the Hornets can take this to seven games but that is probably a bit much to ask for this young team.  I'll go with the more veteran Miami Heat.  Miami 4-2

Houston @ Golden State - Why would I think this will be anything other than a sweep?  Houston has looked lack luster all year after firing Kevin McHale early in the season.  I thought that was a big mistake.  Dwight Howard has struggled to find his way consistently in the offense and James Harden is the only reason they are in the playoffs.  The Warriors are just great.  Unless they are suffering from a 73 win season hangover this series is already over.  Golden State 4-0

Memphis @ San Antonio - Assuming LaMarcus Aldridge is healthy there is no reason to believe the Spurs won't dominate.  That said, Memphis is a sneaky good defensive team and seem to play San Antonio tough.  If Aldridge is hurt this is an entirely different scenario.  But for now I'll take San Antonio in a series with fairly close games.  San Antonio 4-1

Dallas @ Oklahoma City - Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook should give anyone a tough series.  While Dallas has done a good job with their roster I think OKC is just too good.  Oklahoma City 4-0

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