I don’t know which is sadder: the NBA season almost being over or my undergraduate years wrapping up. Since basketball picks up again in a few months, I’ll have to go with the latter. But, for now, I’ll stick with talking about the NBA.
If you’ve been paying attention to the playoffs, you know the playoff series have been amazing (with the exception of the Heat/Bobcats #swept). From clutch three-point shots to unexpected adversity, the best teams have prevailed and are one step closer to the NBA title. The conference semifinals start tonight with the Washington Wizards facing the Indiana Pacers, followed by the LA Clippers going up against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tuesday night’s playoff games consist of the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat going at it with the underdog Portland Trail Blazers trying to make it past the San Antonio Spurs after that. Only four teams can make it to the conference finals. Here are my predictions:
Wizards/Pacers: Wizards. The Pacers are somewhat of a train wreck and were extremely fortunate to get past the Atlanta Hawks, but I don’t believe they have what it takes to win four games against the Wizards. The last time the two teams played each other was after things started going downhill for Indiana and the Wizards were able to win by a 13-point margin. Despite the Pacers’ misfortune, the Wizards seems to be doing the right things and are hungry to stay in the playoffs. Between Bradley Beal’s scoring and Marcin Gortat’s presence under the basket, Washington shouldn’t be slept on. That’s why they’re my pick in six games.
Nets/Heat: Heat. Although the Nets were able to sweep the Heat in the regular season, everyone knows Miami is a different beast in the playoffs. With Dwyane Wade back and healthy, Miami has all of its pieces in place to do some serious damage. Plus, losing those four games during the season will be all the motivation the Heat need to get into full beast mode. Miami has also had more time to rest and prepare after sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats. This can either work for or against them as Brooklyn played a full seven games and have momentum on their side. All things considered, I think Brooklyn will have to try again next season for a better shot at the title. Miami in five.
Blazers/Spurs: Spurs. The Portland Trail Blazers have had a good run and I like what I’m seeing from Damian Lillard, but he’s still young. The Blazer team, in general, has potential, but the Spurs are more experienced. They’ve been in this situation before and know what it takes to get back to the finals. San Antonio is also bitter about last year’s game six in the finals and are trying to right all of their wrongs. Portland will put up a good fight, but they need more time to be able to beat a team like the Spurs. I’m going with San Antonio in six.
Clippers/Thunder: I saved this one for last because I battle with my personal feelings versus my basketball opinion. Keeping everything in mind, I think that the Clippers can win. In my opinion, they’re more of a loaded team than Oklahoma City. Between Jamal Crawford and JJ Redick, shooting won’t be a problem for the Clippers. A point guard matchup between Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook is interesting, but pound for pound, Paul is a better facilitator than Westbrook. The biggest challenge to the Clips will be Kevin Durant, obviously, but LA is known for making some clutch shots as well. While OKC has good players, I believe the Clippers is a better overall team. LA in seven.