NBA Playoffs Round 2 Predictions

Predictions by our NBA Consultant Harrison Churchman

Eastern Conference

1Miami VS 5Chicago Miami in 6 games

lebron james harlem shake

The Heat have had trouble with Chicago this season, that being said, the Heat are also the best team in the league. LeBron James is seemingly on a mission to show everyone that he is King James. The Heat will go back and forth, but will take game 6 in Chicago, after battling the home court battle with each other.

The Skinny: LeBron, on a mission

2New York VS 3Indiana New York in 7 games

carmelo anthony

This brings back the old school rivalry with some new blood. Carmelo Anthony seems to be on the mission that LeBron was last season, as he doesn’t really miss any shots anymore. The matchup of J.R. Smith and Paul George will be one to watch as this series progresses, but this one will work out into just each team winning home games for the Knicks to knock off the Pacers in 7 games.

The Skinny: home court, Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith VS Paul George

Western Conference

1Oklahoma City VS 5Memphis Oklahoma City in 7 games

kevin durant

This series will also be a nail-biter, especially since Russell Westbrook has torn his meniscus and will be out for the remainder of the post-season. There will be many close games and the play down low of Randolf and Marc Gasol will keep this one interesting. Kevin Durant may just be too much for them to handle.

The Skinny: Kevin Durant, Depth on both sides

2San Antonio VS 6Golden State San Antonio in 7 games

Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs - Game One

Another great matchup, but the Warriors lack the experience to knock off an elite team like the Spurs. This is due in large part to Greg Popovich and his relentless will and perfectionist attitude. The Spurs will not overlook the Warriors, but the Warriors will also give the old men of the Spurs everything they can handle.

The Skinny: coaching, veterans, depth

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NBA Playoff Round 1 Predictions

Predictions by NBA Consultant: Harrison Churchman

Eastern Conference:

1Miami VS. 8Milwaukee MIA in 4 Games

This is a team on a mission, they did it last year and have the right approach. The only problems they may face would be later in the playoffs, they roll here though.

heat lebron

The Skinny: They are just better

2New York VS. 7Boston BOS in 7 Games

This series will be a long competitive battle where defensive stops will be at a premium and adjustment-style coaching will prevail. The experience that Boston possesses is second to none in the Eastern conference, and you can’t count them out.

paul pierce

The Skinny:Defense, playoff experience and coaching

3Indiana VS. 6Atlanta IND in 6 Games

It is tough to believe that the Hawks lost on purpose for the more favorable second round opponent (Not Miami) and are now facing arguably the most physical team in the East. With Roy Hibbert, David West, Paul George, and Psycho T (Tyler Hansborough), they can enjoy rebounds and defense as they methodically beat you. Al Horford will lengthen this series, but the size will be too much.

The Skinny:Physicality

4Brooklyn VS. 5Chicago CHI in 7 Games

This may be one of the best match-ups in the first round, and it will be a hard fought one for both teams. The Bulls boast a defense like no other, Carlos Boozer plays down low and Luol Deng on the wing. This will have two balanced teams doing battle.

bulls

The Skinny:Thibideau’s coaching, defense, playoff experience

Western Conference:

1Oklahoma City VS. 8Houston OKC in 5 Games

This will be James Harden‘s return to OKC and he will have something to prove, however he will be playing against Kevin Durant and his partner in crime Russell Westbrook. Houston can grab a game, but Thunder take the series.

kevin durant

The Skinny:Too strong and fast, despite Houston being on right track

2San Antonio VS. 7LA Lakers SA in 5 Games

This will be a daunting task for the Lakers without Kobe and the Spurs seem to be at full strength. Howard can still power them, but only to 1 game, and the Spurs take the rest.

TheSkinny:Lakers injuries, SA coaching and experience

3Denver VS. 6Golden State DEN in 6 Games

This series may turn into a battle of the guards, and the Nuggets have more depth at that position. They have better chemistry and will have to shut down Stephen Curry, or at least limit him.

danilogallinari

The Skinny:Team Chemistry, shutting down Curry

4LA Clippers VS. 5Memphis LAC in 7 Games

This could be the Clippers year to out do their in-city counterpart, the Lakers, by advancing further in the playoffs than them. They have good pieces and are very deep. This will be a great series and it will last all 7 games, but the stars on the Clippers will be too much.

jamal crawford

The Skinny:Home court advantage, star power, Crawford may be the difference

NBA Playoff Predictor

Well the NBA playoffs are almost upon us and it’s time to give my predictions on what I think will transpire.  It has been an exciting regular season, so let’s hope for more of the same during the playoffs and even more excitement.  I am here to give you my Conference Champion and NBA Finals Champion, and even a dark horse to keep your eye on.  Let’s dive in.

Los Angeles Clippers v Miami HeatEastern Conference Champion: Miami Heat

Is there any question about who the Eastern Conference Champ is going to be?  I mean really, this team can win without their “Big 3” and they show their tremendous chemistry night in and night out with or without everyone.  This team has been through it last year, without Allen and Andersen, and they know exactly what it takes.  The moves to bring in Allen and Andersen has only made them that much better.  King James is at it again and is showing an even higher level of play and is hands down the best player on the planet at this time.  Dwayne Wade is healthy and showing he is not done in his career.  Chris Bosh has also shown he can take the lead when needed too, when LeBron and Wade need a breather.  They can score, they can play defense, struggle on the boards at times which can be their weak spot, but they can more than make up for that with their athleticism and talent.

Western Conference Champion: Oklahoma City Thunderthunder

The number 1 seed in the West, they don’t appear to be missing James Harden but that can be up for discussion for another time.  This team this year is still scoring at a high rate and playing faster than anyone out there.  Russell Westbrook has been a little less on the distributing side lately but he is no doubt the most dangerous scoring point guard in the game.  His slash and gash game and pull up jumpers are deadly.  The second leading scorer in the league Kevin Durant is still at it knocking down everything in sight.  These two guys can lead this team all the way to the NBA Finals yet again with the help of their other guys like Ibaka, Perkins, and Martin.  They will out run and out score everyone in the West.  I don’t see anyone taking the West from them but they certainly will be challenged nonetheless.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver NuggetsDark Horse: Denver Nuggets

The team I think will challenge them will be my dark horse pick to make a run, the Denver Nuggets.  These guys score in the paint the best and can run with any one.  Led by Ty Lawson at the point, these guys utilize everyone on the floor to score and play defense.  Injuries to Gallinari, their best shooter, and Faried, their hustle/rebounder, are going to hurt them but this team has guys that can step up and fill the void.  It’s going to be huge for guys like Iguodala and Koufus to really step up and play above their game if they want to make a deep run.  I think they can do it though, I would say they meet the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals but would have them coming up short because the Thunder are just too good.  Don’t sleep on this team though because they are the next best thing that could really make a serious run at a NBA Finals Championship this year.

NBA Finals Champion: Miami HeatNBA Finals MVP LeBron James of the Miami

That’s right, I am picking the Heat to win it all.  They are no doubt the “chalk” pick and I don’t see anyone beating this team in 7.  Yeah they’ll lose 1 or 2 in a 7 game series against the Knicks, and Thunder but beating LeBron and company in 7 games?  I don’t see that happening.  They are all around to good to lose a series and if it’s the Thunder they meet in the Finals, they will take care of them like they have done in the recent meetings including like the NBA Finals last season.  When these two play, the Heat just seem more mature and under control then the Thunder, not to mention more veteran led than the Thunder.  LeBron and company will not relinquish this NBA Finals this year to anyone, they have had too great of a season to let that happen.

There you have it, my predictions for the NBA playoffs and how I think it is all going to play out.  So get ready because they are almost here, I certainly can’t wait to watch the excitement that these playoffs will have in store.

-Preston, gsuwolfman13

Flame Out! Heat Streak Done

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It was a good run for the Heat, but after last night’s tough loss on the road to the Chicago Bulls, the streak has come to an end.  So 1971-’72 Los Angeles Lakers, your streak is safe and secure so you can relax, as the closest team to it now is the New York Knicks who have won 6 straight.  What does this mean for each team?  Well, let’s take a look.

What does it mean for the Heat?

It means that the historic run has come to an end and the Heat have sole possession of the 2nd longest winning streak in NBA history at 27 games.  A streak that produced more total wins than 10 of the 30 teams in the NBA .  The first time they have lost in almost 2 months is simply what it is, just a loss.  Not a momentum crushing blow even though they lost to a Bulls team without 2 of their own stars.  They were simply exposed for their consistent weak rebounding and made paid for it by a Bulls team that can beat you up on the inside.  Is this the “blueprint” to beat the Heat? Of course it is.  Does it mean every team can implement it and beat the Heat? No, it certainly doesn’t.  For this moment though, tip your cap to them Heat, they beat you.  You both played a good game, but the Bulls were just better last night.

What does it mean for the Bulls?

This has to be a confidence booster for a Bulls team that desperately needed it.  Congratulations Chicago, you definitely earned it.  A team that has lacked on the offensive end all season without Derrick Rose but can play even the best defense in the league without their main guy Joakim Noah.  The Bulls have to be encouraged by this win without 2 of their best players and must carry this momentum through the rest of the season and into the playoffs.  The Bulls are showing Derrick Rose that if he can come back they can make a serious run at the title.  Will games like this help Rose make the comeback?  Who knows if it can, but it can’t hurt.  If Rose could come back and be as effective as ever, this would certainly be an Eastern Conference Finals matchup that would have us, and the entire NBA, salivating over.

What does it mean for the 1971-’72 Lakers?

Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks

They can finally breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate.  Go ahead guys, your streak is safe, so do what you do when every winning streak ends, pop the cork!  Or is that something another historic team does?  Hmm, maybe.  Either way, sit back and bask in the glory of the greatest streak in NBA history at 33 games because as of now, no one can touch it.

Heat aren’t the Only Ones

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Don’t look now, but the Denver Nuggets are surging and riding a 14 game winning streak going into their game tonight against the Kings.  Overlooked by the streak of 25 by the Miami Heat, the Nuggets have quietly put together a run that has moved them into 3rd place in the Western Conference standings with a record of 48-22 and just 3 games behind the Thunder in the Northwest Division.  A very dangerous team, especially at home where they have posted a 31-3 record in the Pepsi Center, the Nuggets are quickly showing they are one of the best teams in the game and could be a team that could really challenge the Heat if they were able to face them in the NBA Finals.

The Nuggets don’t have your prototypical lead star or stars like such teams as the Heat, Thunder, and Spurs, but their whole cast of players play together just as good as those teams with those stars.  Led by point guard Ty Lawson, they exemplify a fast, quick paced attack that as soon as you blink, they will score on you.  One of the top teams in scoring and rebounds, they can beat anyone in the league and have been doing so over their recent 14 game stretch.  It seems like every night it is someone different, whether it’s Gallinari hitting a big 3, McGee making a posterizing dunk, Iguodala with the big steal, or Kenneth Faried, well being the ‘Manimal’, out working everyone on the floor.  They are certainly proving that it does not take a cast of lead stars to get it done and be one of the best teams in the game right now.

They are being overlooked to some degree but do not sleep on this team.  They will be one of the top 4 seeds in the West which will give them home court advantage early on.  This team at home, in the high altitude, can really do some damage and dispose of anyone in the playoffs.  Regardless of home court or not, these guys are for real and should be included in the top teams in the NBA along with the Heat, Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers.  For anyone that has to play them, be afraid of this team, be very afraid.

 

Going Streaking! Can Heat Be Stopped?

The video above perfectly describes the dominance that has been exerted by the Miami Heat during their historic run.

Now that you have seen that, you understand the way the Miami Heat have been able to impose their will on literally everyone this season, as they have beaten everyone this year at least once.  They have been especially daunting in this modest 23 game winning streak that they have put together.  After last night’s come from behind victory over their arch rivals, the Boston Celtics, they have claimed sole possession of second all-time in NBA winning streaks at 23 games straight, still trailing the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers who had a 33 game winning streak.  After watching them get past the Celtics last night, and continuing to either blow teams out or defy the odds to come from behind and break team’s hearts, my question is simply this, can anyone stop the Heat?

Stopping the Heat does not just mean ending the streak but also a team being able to beat them in a seven game series.  I just do not see any team that can make that happen.  Sure, teams have gotten up for that one game against the Heat and beat them, because they do have losses on their schedule but on this historic run they have been denying teams time after time.  They have been beating playoff contenders such as the Thunder, Clippers, Grizzlies, Pacers, Knicks, and most recently the Celtics.  Yes, their streak will more than likely come to an end at some point, they probably will stumble somewhere or even get blown out, but for the importance of this historic run, do I think they are going to get to 34 games and break the streak?  I would have to say yes, yes they will. 

 WadeAndJamesFive

These guys are the main reason why they can do it, and their schedule does help them the rest of the way as well.

Their schedule is pretty favorable the rest of the way and with the next 4 games against the Cavaliers, Pistons, Bobcats, and Magic, you have to think they will get to 27 games.  After that they get the Bulls, who in my opinion are slipping a bit and that should be a win over a team with a lack luster offense putting them at 28.  Then I would say they beat the Hornets to make it 29 and then going for 30 against the Spurs.  This would be a high-profile game that could feature Tony Parker returning for the Western Conference leaders.  That could pose some problems for the Heat because of the veteran experience of the Spurs, but I think they can will themselves, like in so many of these other games, and edge out a victory putting them at 30.  After that it would be the faltering Knicks, Bobcats, 76ers, and then the Bucks for the record-breaking 34th straight win. 

The rest of the schedule after that is light, with the exception of the Celtics and Bulls again, and could make for an interesting last few weeks if they get this far.  Some questions will be asked if they should rest guys or keep playing to keep the streak alive.  I would say keep going for it in my opinion, keep trying to win because that’s always the goal right?  For now though, let’s enjoy history unfolding right in front of us and watching these guys night after night, we’ll cross that bridge if we get there.