By Terrence Hinds, Staff Writer
Published in print Apr. 22, 2015
The NBA playoffs began last weekend and for the next month and a half, we get to watch the best basketball players on the planet compete nightly to decide the league championship.
This season has been especially different from previous seasons. Due to Lebron James’s departure from South Beach, gone are the perennial powerhouse Miami Heat. Without the Heat, this has opened up opportunities for a number of different teams to make a run at the NBA Finals, especially in the Eastern Conference.
The two best teams, record-wise, in each conference have made to the top of their respective conference seemingly overnight.
The Golden State Warriors won a league best 67 games this year, including an impressive 39-2 record at home.
They’ve been a dominant team all season long and more than likely have the league’s MVP and Defensive Player of the Year on their team in Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
The Atlanta Hawks are the top seed in the East, after being the eighth seed last season. The Hawks have made it to this point due to incredible coaching and excellent team basketball.
Al Horford and Paul Millsap both deserve to make All-NBA teams this year as the two best players on Atlanta.
By taking a look at the weaker conference, we can see that the East this year is much less daunting than their Western counterparts by a wide margin.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a scary team and are the two seed in this year’s playoffs.
After making mid-season trade acquisitions of JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timofey Mozgov, they’ve been an absolute juggernaut.
LeBron James is still the best basketball player in the world, and Kyrie Irving is an incredible offensive force.
They’ll have the two best players on the floor in every conference series they play in.
With that being said, I believe they will face some trouble in the second round of the playoffs when they have to go against a Chicago Bulls team who should win their opening round match-up against the Bucks.
The Bulls have dealt with injury issues all season, but are getting healthy at the perfect time oddly enough.
Derrick Rose looked like the old Derrick Rose in spurts over the weekend against the Bucks and they have always been a tough defensive team.
Jimmy Butler has transformed into one of the best two-way players in the league and I think he can do a good job giving Lebron some trouble on the defensive end of the floor.
This team has all the tools to beat the Cavaliers in a long six or seven game series.
The Hawks have kind of sleepwalked into the playoffs after locking up the number one seed so early in the season.
The loss of Thabo Sefolosha for the playoffs will definitely impact their chances at a title, but I still think they’ll have enough to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Western Conference is simply a treacherous landscape of great teams.
Every team is dangerous in some way and could make it to the NBA Finals.
The defending champion San Antonio Spurs are the six seed due to a loss to the Pelicans the last game of the season.
For this reason, I believe that fall will cost them a chance to repeat as champions, especially since they will play the talented Los Angeles Clippers in round one.
The only thing that scares me about choosing the Clippers in this matchup is their bench, which is simply terrible.
I’m banking on the fact that their starting lineup is so good that they’ll be able to make up for it.
I am taking the Clippers in seven to beat the Spurs in round one.
The Golden State Warriors should see some trouble in round two of the playoffs when they may have to go up against the Memphis Grizzlies, who should be the decimated Portland Trailblazers.
The Grizzlies will try too slow the game down and beat up the Warriors down low. In the end I believe that the Warriors will still pull through in six games.
I have the Clippers facing the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Which would be a simply incredible series.
I believe the Warriors will bring the NBA Finals trophy to Oakland as they will beat the Bulls in six games.
Categories: Sports, terrence hinds
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