1 MILWAUKEE BUCKS v 8 DETROIT PISTONS
Detroit limp into the playoffs as the 8th seed, and look to be without Blake Griffin for the series. That’s not a good sign going up against the only team to win 60 games this season, and as a result I expect this series to not be close.
Milwaukee are well coached, with a superstar who appears to just want to win (as opposed to starring in Space Jam 2), and decent role players playing in a good system. On the other side, who will even score for Detroit? Kennard?
Milwaukee 3-0 (they will use the mercy rule to abandon the last game)
“I don’t regret asking for a trade at all” – Thon Maker
“You should. The Bucks give you the bucks” – Greg Monroe
2 TORONTO RAPTORS v 7 ORLANDO MAGIC
I know Toronto have different players from the past few seasons, but they still have to convince me they won’t crumble in the playoffs. Luckily they are only playing Orlando, who have close to zero playoff experience, and whose best player is allergic to defense.
The Magic have been playing well to close the season and get in the playoff race, so will be able to get a game off them at home. But the incoming experience of Leonard, Green and Gasol won’t have much trouble getting the job done.
“Hey DK, I’m available on the waiver wire. Just sayin” – Terrence Ross
“That’s because you’re crap” – Tracy McGrady
3 PHILADEPLHIA 76ers v 6 Brooklyn Nets
Philly arguably has the best 4 players in this series. What does that mean? Not much. The Nets don’t have an answer for Embiid, but as shown last year, teams can exploit Ben Simmons’s weaknesses over a 7-game series.
Russell has to score a lot for the Nets to win, which will happen, but the Sixers can rely on Butler/Harris to win them a game when Simmons/Embiid are having an off night here or there, and that depth of stars will see them cruise through without a whole lot of trouble.
“Why is everyone shooting 3s instead of tomahawk dunks?” – Dr J
“Yo Mama” – Chocolate Thunder
4 Boston Celtics v 5 Indiana Pacers
With Oladipo playing, this goes 7, and I’m not even sure who wins. Without him, Indiana are still plucky enough to make it a series, but in the playoffs stars matter.
I’m still waiting for Boston to piece it all together. They have been playing in spurts this season with a few winning streaks, so if their timing is right they will be able to go far. And while Indy won’t scare them too much, they can’t take any opponent lightly.
“You forgot I played for Boston didn’t you” – Jermaine O’Neal
“You forgot I played at all” – Jerry Sichting
1 GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS v 8 Los Angeles Clippers
A bit like Philly-Brooklyn, Golden State have the best 4 players in the series, only this time not arguably.
The Clippers, as well as they have been playing, won’t stand a chance when comparing starting fives. Their strength is their bench, and I can see Lou Will going off for 40 points in a game at home. Otherwise, they’ll be gallant losers.
Golden State 4-1
“We believe. Until I leave” – Baron Davis
“I’ll punch you in the face” – Matt Barnes
2 Denver Nuggets v 7 San Antonio Spurs
Like Orlando, Denver’s best player is no defensive stopper. And they don’t have a reputation of doing well in the playoffs because the majority of them never have. The Spurs on the other hand are hard to beat, no matter who they have on the floor.
This is going 7, so who do you take in a game 7 – youth or experience? Given both teams have such a great home record, I’ll go with the home team, which is really just an excuse to use this cool logo.
“I have one of the biggest foreheads of all time” – Antonio McDyess
“Ahem?” – Greg “Cadillac” Anderson
3 PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS v 6 OKLAHOMA City Thunder
A lot of pressure on Portland after last year’s flame out. But the same can be said of OKC.
Lillard has quietly become one of the best players in the league, and he should be enough to get them over the line, even with their injury concerns.
Paul George is also not 100%, and you saw how they stumbled to close the season without him at full strength. It also means we might see Westbrook jacking up 40 shots a game. I expect Westbrook to win a game on his own and also lose a game on his own.
“I’m easily the best 6th man on this list” – Enes Kanter
“Until now, my friend” – Detlef Schrempf
4 Houston Rockets v 5 Utah Jazz
I like this matchup because I want Utah to advance and I want Houston to lose.
I want Mitchell to out-Harden Harden on offense and make the actual Harden become more like John Starks. And I want Gobert to be the Hakeem to Harden’s Starks.
I don’t see it happening, but at least now it could. But it won’t.
“Having two names that start with the same letter is annoying” – Joe Johnson
“At least your name doesn’t pretty much rhyme!” – Shandon Anderson