The Daily Chomp

NBA Playoffs: Predictions

By Ian Shimizu, Reporter

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The chaotic madness known as the NBA playoffs are living up to the hype. Lebron James is showing us why-in his 14th season-he is one of the best to ever step foot on a basketball court. The Rockets are looking more and more like the team that will end the Warriors dominance. Speaking of the Warriors, they just got 2 time MVP Stephen Curry back from injury, and are looking for their 3rd title in 4 years. With 4 teams left, it’s a favorable bet that we get a Cavs-Warriors match-up for the fourth straight year.

Predictions

Warriors 4-3 Rockets

This is the match-up Warriors fans have been dreading since the All-Star Break. The Rockets are probably the only team with a better backcourt than the Warriors, featuring MVP Candidate James Harden at the 2 and veteran All-Star Chris Paul commanding the offense. But this team goes far beyond just 2 stars. Eric Gordon has been very reliable off the bench, putting up his highest scoring total in 6 years. Clint Capela is one of the most underrated bigs in the league, putting up 14 points and 11 rebounds per game in the regular season. He’s averaged three blocks a game in the playoffs, and his defensive presence has been key to the Rockets success. Trevor Ariza is one of the best two way small forwards that any championship team could use (Andre Iguodala?). This is a Rockets team that is a major threat to end the Warriors run.

Then, of course, you have the Warriors. The Warriors that you either hate or claim to be a die-hard fan of. The Warriors success is really easy to see, but very hard to solve. All stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are two of the best guards in the league and are easily the best sharpshooting backcourt in NBA history.  Kevin Durant is one of the best players in the league and is a threat to drop 40 points on any night. Draymond Green is the “glue” of the team, being a reliable scorer, playing tough defense, making smart passes, and allowing the Warriors to run small ball when they need to. For what the Warriors lack in depth (although both Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston have shown they are both capable of having a big game when their stars are off) they make up for in star power.

 

The Warriors have the advantage in most areas. They have more flexibility and more playoff experience.  Unless Chris Paul can shoot like he did in Game 5 against the Jazz, I give the Warriors the series in 7.

Cavaliers 4-2 Celtics

The Celtics have been the Eagles of the NBA. When they lost their best player right before the playoffs, everyone assumed an early exit was evident. They went on to defy the odds, getting past a tough Bucks team in 7 and cruising past the 76ers in five. Sure, they might not have All-Star Kyrie Irving, but Terry Rozier is a perfect replacement who has elevated his play in Kyrie’s absence. Rookie Jayson Tatum is going to have to continue his playoff tear if the Celtics want to have a chance of advancing, and he’s gonna need some major help. Al Horford and Jalen Brown give the Celtics a well-rounded core, but just remember, it takes more than that to beat playoff Lebron James.

The Cavaliers are yet again in the Eastern Conference Finals. But this year has been very different compared to the last three. Kyrie is no longer there, and his injury means we missed a potential Kyrie-Lebron battle, which is unfortunate. Lebron James is still alive, so they have that going for them. After a poor first round, Kevin Love is performing well at the right time. There’s no denying that the Cavs have by far the least amount of depth and versatility of the four teams left, but they have Lebron. The man is averaging 34 points a game, the most he’s averaged in the playoffs since he was 24.  With Lebron on the court, the Cavs have a 36.2 net rating. If anyone of George Hill, JR Smith or Kevin Love have a good series, I say the Cavs in 6.

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NBA Playoffs: Predictions