The NBA Playoffs is finally here, and we get to see the players and teams that will step up and others who will choke. No matter what occurs, I am excited about these upcoming blog posts. Posts will either be based on a prediction I have, or why a certain team may be a certain matchup. Today I will be stating how each team can beat their opponents in the 1st round. We start off in Houston, let’s get right into it!
1. Rockets vs 8. Timberwolves
Why the Rockets can win:
- James Harden is the M.V.P
- Only Three Losses This Season With Big Three Healthy(CP3, Harden, Capela)
- Healthy Roster(Only Mbah a Moute is Injured)
- It will be hard for the Rockets to lose this series. If James Harden plays like he has been playing, I don’t see the Timberwolves pulling off the upset. The Rockets are very healthy right now, and it seems when they are healthy no one can stop them.
Why the Timberwolves can win:
- Towns Domination
- Butler Locks Down Harden
- Healthy Roster(No One Injured)
- The Timberwolves do have a chance in the series. This has to come with Towns destroying the frontcourt, he has to make sure Capela does not play well. The Timberwolves also have a healthy roster, and they have to make sure no one gets injured. If the coaching staff play this series right, the Timberwolves have a shot at beating the Rockets.
4. Thunder vs 5. Jazz
Why the Thunder can win:
- If Donavon Mitchell Chokes
- Westbrook Goes Off
- Home Court Advantage
- Mitchell is a rookie while Westbrook, Anthony, and George have experience in the playoffs. If the big 3 of the Thunder play like they have played in the playoffs before, they have a great shot at winning this series. Westbrook averaged a triple-double during the regular season for the 2nd straight season in a row. If he averages a triple-double during the 1st round, I definitely think the Thunder wins the series. This is also one of the toughest series, as many think it is going to a game 7. The Thunder will have home-court advantage if it goes to a game 7. That may be the reason they clinch the series.
Why the Jazz can win:
- If Donavon Mitchell Plays Incredible
- Have Gobert Back
- Better Bench Impact
- After being traded from the Cavaliers, Jae Crowder has improved drastically. He has led the bench to 34.9 PPG. Meanwhile, the Thunder bench only average 26.4 PPG and are 2nd last in the League. The Jazz bench will have to be extremely efficient if they are to win the series. Donavon Mitchell also has to play well, as he is only a rookie. We don’t know if he will choke or play well during the playoffs. If he plays like he has been playing this year, the Jazz has a good chance at beating the Thunder.
3. Trailblazers vs 6. Pelicans
Why the Trailblazers can win:
- Damian Lillard
- Inside Presence
- The Trailblazers have Damian Lillard, who is one of the best point guards in the league. Lillard scored 41 points last time the Blazers played the Pelicans. I don’t see Rondo and Holiday stopping Lillard’s offense. Then you have the frontcourt. They can’t stop Davis, but they can limit the number of points he scores. If Nurkic can defend Davis and hold him to 30 points, I believe the Trailblazers will win the series.
Why the Pelicans can win:
- Anthony Davis
- The Pelicans have Anthony Davis, and I am not sure how the Trailblazers can stop him. This series is really about frontcourt vs backcourt. We have seen backcourts dominate the NBA in recent years, so its time for Davis to show fans why a great frontcourt is as good as a great backcourt. To add on to this, the Pelicans have experience. Even in their backcourt, they have Rondo, who shows up in big moments. Remember the Bulls vs Celtics series a year ago? If Rondo was healthy, the Bulls probably would of beat the Celtics. But once he got injured, the Celtics didn’t lose a single game the rest of the series. Rondo carried the Bulls against a #1 seed, and it will be interesting to see if he can step up his defense and do that against Damian Lillard.
2. Warriors vs 7. Spurs
Why the Warriors can win:
- 4 All-Stars
- Kawhi Injured
- The Warriors have a 112.2 ORTG, which is the best in the NBA. If they can keep that up, the Spurs have no shot. Kawhi Leonard is not playing which means the Spurs don’t have the same defense that they usually would. If the Warriors find consistency, I don’t see how the Spurs can stop them.
Why the Spurs can win:
- Spurs Come Prepared, Warriors Aren’t
- LaMarcus Aldridge
- Gregg Popovich is one of the best coaches of all time, and we know how he can lead his team through his tactics. LaMarcus Aldridge has resurrected his career and will be the Spurs best player if they can win this series. It will be a tough task but we have seen the Spurs pull off these types of upsets.
Tommorow I will be coming out with how each team has a chance of getting out of the Eastern Conference! I also hope to come out of predictions. Make sure to stay tuned as this will be a busy weekend for my blog!