By Jack B.
The 2014-15 NBA season was full of many surprises. The King returned to Cleveland, leading his hometown Cavaliers to a 53-29 record, 2nd best in the eastern conference. Most importantly the Golden State Warriors, led by MVP candidate Stephen Curry, finished with the best record in the NBA. They were only the 10th team to win 67 games in a season. Here I will give my predictions for the Playoffs this year, including who I think will win the Finals MVP. I will also include the opinion of Amrit G., NBA enthusiast.
#1 Atlanta Hawks vs #8 Brooklyn Nets:
The Nets finished the season strong but they still have no chance against the 2nd best team in the NBA. The Hawks starting five features four all-stars, simply too much for the Brooklyn Nets to handle.
Prediction: Hawks in 5.
Amrit: “Hawks all the way. That’s a sweep right there.”
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs #7 Boston Celtics:
The Celtics ended the season on a 20-9 run behind some strong play from PG Isiah Thomas. Cleveland is the Vegas favorite to win the title and they have the best player in the world, SF LeBron James. The Cavaliers are more skilled, athletic and experienced, and the Celtics are young and un-prepared.
Prediction: Cavs in 4.
Amrit: “Guaranteed a sweep. Cleveland’s too good.”
#3 Chicago Bulls vs #6 Milwaukee Bucks
Chicago Bulls star PG Derrick Rose has missed 212 games since the 2012 playoffs (where he suffered his first of three major knee injuries). The Bulls still managed to finish 3rd in the East behind SG Jimmy Butler’s career year and C Pau Gasol’s NBA leading 44 double-doubles. The Bucks lost 2nd overall pick Jabari Parker early in the year with a season ending ACL tear. The Bucks finished at an even 41-41, a great turnaround from last year’s franchise worst 15-67. Chicago is a great defensive team and Milwaukee has no players that have ever been to the postseason.
Prediction: Bulls in 5.
Amrit: “Bulls in 5. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are going to be too much for Milwaukee.”
#4 Toronto Raptors vs #5 Washington Wizards
The Raptors started out the season great, looking like a contending team. However they went through a rough stretch later in the year and haven’t looked like the team we thought they could be. The Wizards have some talent, but don’t have a great supporting cast. I think the Wizards, led by playoff veteran Paul Peirce, can take down the pretenders of Toronto.
Prediction: Wizards in 5.
Amrit: “Ohh, I don’t really know. I’m gonna say Wizards in 7.”
#1 Golden State Warriors vs #8 New Orleans Pelicans
As mentioned, the Warriors finished with a top 10 all-time record 67-15. Led by MVP candidate Stephen Curry and All-Star SG Klay Thompson, the Warriors are a favorite to win the title. The Pelicans are led by their own all-star, PF Anthony Davis. The Warriors don’t have the combination of size and speed to contain Anthony Davis in the post. Davis will post some monster numbers, but it won’t be enough to offset the sharpshooting backcourt of Curry and Thompson.
Prediction: Warriors in 5.
Amrit: “Warriors in 5. Splash Brothers are clutch.”
#2 Houston Rockets vs #7 Dallas Mavericks
The Rockets have one of the top 5 players in the league in James Harden, another MVP candidate. They also have 3-time DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year) Dwight Howard. The Mavericks are no pushovers though, they have PF Dirk Nowitzki, who is 7th on the all-time scoring list with 28,119 career points. The Mavs have been struggling with team chemistry after the trade to get PG Rajon Rondo. Harden and the Rockets will be too much for the Mavs, though it will be close.
Prediction: Rockets in 5.
Amrit: “Oh that’s a good series too. Houston in 6. Fear the Beard.”
#3 Los Angeles Clippers vs #6 San Antonio Spurs
The Clippers are one of the top 3 offensive teams in the NBA, led by PG Chris Paul, PF Blake Griffin and C DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers don’t have many outside shooters which could pose a problem for them against the Spurs. The defending champion Spurs played average all year, but they flipped the switch to playoff mode winning 21 of their last 23 games. Never sleep on the 5 time champs, led by arguably the greatest PF of all-time, Tim Duncan. The Spurs also have Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, one of the best young backcourts in the NBA. The Spurs are a top contender despite the 6 seed. Keep this in mind though, had the Spurs won their last game of the season against the Pelicans, they would have been the 2 seed.
Prediction: Spurs in 7.
Amrit: “Clippers in 6. The Spurs are too old.”
#4 Portland Trail Blazers vs #5 Memphis Grizzlies
Portland only holds the 4 seed because of the rule that a division winner can’t go lower than a 4 seed. Based solely on their record the Trail Blazers would be the 7th seed. Portland does have all-stars LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, although Aldridge has issues with his right hand. Memphis struggled near the end of the season but managed to remain in the 5 seed. Memphis has a great frontcourt in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, they also have a great PG in Mike Conley. This will be a close series, but I think the size of Randolph and Gasol will be too much.
Prediction: Grizz in 5.
Amrit: “Memphis in 5.”
East: Atlanta Hawks vs Cleveland Cavaliers.
Amrit’s East: Atlanta Hawks vs Cleveland Cavaliers.
Atlanta can easily handle the young Raptors in the second round in 6. The Cleveland/Chicago series will be a great series, especially if former MVP Derrick Rose can elevate his game after multiple injuries, but I think Cleveland will escape in 7.
Atlanta is a great team. They don’t have a superstar to lead them, but that doesn’t matter since Atlanta plays amazing team basketball. Cleveland is a great team that seriously picked up their game after starting the season 20-20. With just about everything you look for in a team, Cleveland will beat Atlanta in 6 games and advance to the finals.
Amrit: “I’m going with Cleveland in 7. Atlanta will make it close.”
West: Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs.
Amrit’s West: Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets
Golden State will have no problem taking down Memphis in the second round. San Antonio will have to get by Houston and James Harden in the second round. If James Harden can elevate his game Houston might be able to squeak by San Antonio, but right now I think that the defending champs can advance to the conference finals.
Now in my opinion, the Warriors and the Spurs are the two best teams in the league so this will be an epic battle. Golden State is a sharpshooting team that also happens to be one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Spurs play great team basketball. They will make the extra pass to turn a good shot into a great one. The Spurs are a dynasty led by Coach Gregg Popovich, PG Tony Parker, SG Manu Ginobli, SF Kawhi Leonard and the greatest PF of all-time, Tim Duncan. This will be a showdown for the ages, and I think Golden State will win in 7 games.
Amrit: “Golden State will win in 7, they’re the best.”
NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers
The best of the best, Golden State vs Cleveland. The city of Cleveland is searching for their first major championship in almost 50 years. Golden State is looking to finish of their historical season with their first championship in 40 years. Golden State is an amazing shooting team with incredible defense. Cleveland is a team of all-stars like LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. There will be crazy matchups in this game like Kyrie vs Steph Curry, Kevin Love vs Draymond Green and Timofey Mozgov dueling in the post with Andrew Bogut and David Lee. Ultimately I think that Steph Curry’s shooting will be too much for Cleveland to handle, and that Golden State will win the Finals in 7 games.
Stephen Curry will be awarded with the Finals MVP.
Amrit: “This is a tough one, I’m going have to go with Cleveland in 6. LeBron is the best player in the world, he’s gonna bring Cleveland a title. Cleveland has way too much skill and depth for Golden State to handle. LeBron for Finals MVP.”