The 2015 NBA Playoffs are here! This year is full of exciting matchups right out of the gate! Anthony Davis will make his Playoffs debut, the Spurs or the Clippers will be going home after 1 round, and LeBron will look to set the tone early for a potential championship run for the title-starved city of Cleveland.
Golden State Warriors (1) vs New Orleans Pelicans (8)
Golden State has had an outstanding season. We’re talking historically great. And yet, the series could be compelling with Anthony Davis making his playoff debut. Golden state has no answer for Davis, however, Justin and I both agree that the Pelicans don’t have the firepower to keep up with Curry and Thompson.
Justin’s Pick: GS in 5
Matt’s Pick: GS in 5
Portland Trailblazers (4) vs Memphis Grizzlies (5)
Unfortunately, Portland is riddled with injuries. But, Aldridge is arguably the biggest star in the series so there is hope. If Lillard shows up like he did last year against the Rockets, there is even more hope. The Grizzlies, once thought to be a NBA title favorite, have looked spotty over the last month of the regular season. Another interesting aspect of this series is that the Grizzlies will carry homecourt advantage in spite of being the 5 seed. This series could go either way and we split our picks here.
Justin’s Pick: Portland in 7
Matt’s Pick: Memphis in 6
Los Angeles Clippers (3) vs San Antonio Spurs (6)
The Spurs had the potential to be the 2 seed, but they ran into a determined Pelicans team during the last game of the season. The history of any seed lower than 4 winning the NBA title is concerning. However, a playoff race for the 2-8 seeds has never been as closely contested as it was this season. Who would have thought the Thunder would miss the playoffs? The Clippers are a weak 3 seed. Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and Deandre Jordan will need to show up every night to be able to handle the depth and cohesive nature of the Spurs. Watch to see if Poppovich employ a hack-a-Jordan tactic early on. Justin and I are in agreement here.
Justin’s Pick: SA in 6
Matt’s Pick: SA in 6
Houston Rockets (2) vs Dallas Mavericks (7)
The Rockets are injured (Beverly and Montiejunas) and the Mavericks’ depth is questionable. Houston will live and die by the 3 and by MVP candidate James Harden. While I understand why the Mavericks had to get Rondo, the move has been a bust and is now a potential liability (Hack-a-Rondo anyone?). Mavs fans of course are hoping for “playoffs Rondo” to show up. I don’t see this happening. However, the Mavericks do have Dirk and the genius that is Rick Carlisle. The Mavs best chance of victory comes from superior schematics: Tire out Harden, get Dirk the ball, and defend the perimeter. Dwight Howard is the X-factor in this series. If he plays like he did in the playoffs last year I give the Mavs no chance. Easier said than done when matching up against Tyson Chandler. Expect this series to be close.
Justin’s Pick: HOU in 7
Matt’s Pick: HOU in 7
Atlanta Hawks (1) vs Brooklyn Nets (8)
Did Brooklyn want to make the playoffs? Legitimate question. The Nets are worn down and meanwhile the Hawks are being written off by the world. No team should have more bulletin board material this year than the Hawks. Millsap’s shoulder injury is concerning but the slow-moving Nets can’t keep up with the Hawks, no matter who is in the line-up.
Justin’s Pick: ATL in 4
Matt’s Pick: ATL in 5
Toronto Raptors (4) vs Washington Wizards (5)
This is going to be ugly. Whitman and Casey are 2 coaches on the hotseat… and are likely coaching for their jobs in this series. The Raptors have fallen from last year’s surprise run but overall are a success story with actual cap space coming this offseason. Washington started strong and fizzled out… just like the Raptors. This is probably the series to avoid watching if you have to pick one. It will be sloppy and tedious, but closely contested in our opinion.
Justin’s Pick: TOR in 7
Matt’s Pick: TOR in 7
Chicago Bulls (3) vs Milwaukee Bucks (6)
The Bucks are a surprise story having one of the league’s top defenses. Chicago feels like the sleeping giant, if there is one in the Eastern Conference. Jason Kidd has taken criticism for both of his coaching stints but he has done a great job so far with the Bucks, and last year he coached the Nets decently in the playoffs. Unfortunately, he is going against names like Thibodeau, Noah, Gasol, Butler, and Rose. The Bucks may slow down the Bulls attack but we don’t see an upset here. The Bucks are going to miss Brandon Knight’s offense in this series.
Justin’s Pick: CHI in 5
Matt’s Pick: CHI in 5
Cleveland Cavaliers (2) vs Boston Celtics (7)
The Cavs emerged as the favorites in the East after the All-Star Break. The Celtics have been a surprisingly interesting team to watch but they lack interior defense. Expect Kyrie and LeBron to go off, getting to the rim at will. Who knows, maybe the Cavs will even figure out a way to get Love involved (finally). Sorry Bill Simmons, we’ve got our brooms out for this series.
Justin’s Pick: CLE in 4
Matt’s Pick: CLE in 4
Give us your predictions in the comments!
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