The NBA playoffs have arrived! 30 teams have been vying for the opportunity (Yes the 10-72 Philadelphia 76ers are included in that, barely). Just 16 teams make the post-season series. Last season it was always going to be
between three teams for the NBA Title. The eventual winners, The Golden State Warriors, the perennial contenders, San Antonio Spurs and the LeBron James led Cleveland Cavaliers. Fast Forward a year and nothing much has changed. They are still the main three contenders for the NBA Title. Only one of the Warriors or the Spurs will play in the Finals, representing the West, and Cleveland should have enough to repeat as Eastern Conference Champions.
What has changed, however, is the fact that the Warriors will be heavy favourites to repeat. Not only did they live up to their lofty hype. They smashed it. They finished 73-9, the best record in NBA history, beating the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan in his prime. It would take a shocking upset for them NOT to win the Finals.
The Spurs and The Cavs are probably the only hope of dethroning the champions. It would still take an injury to Stephen Curry, The MVP, or a lights out performance from everyone and catching the Warriors on 4 off nights. If the Warriors were to lose (Which I don’t believe they will) it would take 7 games to do it. I don’t see The Warriors losing 4 games in the play-offs so for it to happen in 1 series will be unlikely. I think my prediction is clear. The Warriors to beat The Cavs in The Finals for the second straight year. Here is my Play-off Prediction (This was written prior to the first games starting but was published after).
(1) Cavs Vs (8) Pistons – Number 1 seed Cavs win in 4. Sweeping the upstart Pistons.
(2) Raptors Vs (7) Pacers – Raptors get over there Playoff hump and win in 6.
(3) Heat Vs (6) Hornets – Heat led by D-Wade, Whiteside and Bosh win in 5.
(4) Hawks Vs (5) Celtics – Two even teams, Celtics edge it in 7.
(1) Cavs Vs (5) Celtics – A feisty series (like last year) which The Cavs win in 5
(2) Raptors Vs (3) Heat – Heat ‘upset’ The Raptors. Heat win in 6
Eastern Conference Final:
(1) Cavs Vs (3) Heat – LeBron against his former team. With a healthy Kyrie and Kevin Love and Tristian Thompson. LeBron and his hometown team, The Cavs, win in 6.
(1) Warriors Vs (8) Rockets – Warriors in 4. No sniff of an upset.
(2) Spurs Vs (7) Grizzlies – Spurs with great team play win in 4.
(3) Thunder Vs (6) Mavericks – Westbrook and Durant’s final post-season together continues with a win in 6 against Dirk’s Mavericks. Thunder in 6.
(4) Clippers Vs (5) Trailblazers – Another upset in the 4 vs 5 matchup. Trailblazers with Lillard and an improving CJ McCollum get past the LA Clippers in 7. Trailblazers win in 7.
(1) Warriors Vs (5) Trailblazers – Warriors in 4. No questioned asked.
(2) Spurs Vs (3) Thunder – Durant and Westbrook will not be denied as they UPSET the Spurs and beat them in 6. Thunder win in 6.
Western Conference Finals –
(1) Warriors Vs (3) Thunder – Warriors win but they are given a tough game in Oklahoma by Westbrook and Durant’s last stand in OKC before Durant departs to Free Agency. Warriors win in 5. (With OKC winning their last home game of the series.)
Which leaves us where we were a year ago. King James Vs Steph Curry for the NBA Championship. LeBron had to carry to his team last year with injuries devastating the Cavs. Curry with all his unique, hard to defend ability, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. The sequel will be better than the original (Should all the pieces be in play). A battle of titans in the NBA.
(1) Warriors Vs (1) Cavs: An intriguing series and could be the series where the torch is past officially from LeBron to Curry. LeBron has been the best player in the NBA for the majority of his career but Steph Curry in the last two seasons has been untouchable. LeBron passes the torch to Curry and the Warriors become a Dynasty winning in 6. The Cavs fall short again and LeBron’s dream of winning The Finals with The Cavs gets one year closer to never happening. The Warriors are too good for anyone in the NBA and without an injury or a complete fluke the NBA fans better get used to this: