NBA Playoffs Recap and Predictions

Staff Writer

NBA Playoffs Recap and Predictions
The NBA Playoffs started this past Saturday. We are going to look at the results and give predictions on how the rest of the series goes. We will start in the Eastern Conference first.
Eastern Conference

Game 1
Chicago Bulls 103
Milwaukee Bucks 91
The Bucks came out in the first half and played tough. The much stronger Bulls restored order in the second half behind the strong play of Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose. This was the first playoff game Rose has played in since 2011 when he tore his ACL. He scored 23 points on an efficient 9-16 shooting from the field.
Look for the Bulls to control this series. They are simply way too talented for this Bucks team to match up with them. The Bucks might steal a game, but don’t look for this series to go much longer.
Prediction: Bulls in 5

Game 1
Washington Wizards 93 (OT)
Toronto Raptors 86
The city of Toronto was fired up for the playoffs as the Air Canada Centre was packed and thousands of fans watched from the park outside the arena. Toronto overcame a double digit lead in the 4th quarter to tie the game to force overtime. Washington’s Paul Pierce hit a 3 in overtime to spark a run for the Wizards. He led the way for them as he scored 20 points.
This series will be a back and forth battle. Both teams started the year hotter than the brand of basketball they are playing now. Toronto’s star, Kyle Lowry, spent much of game 1 in foul trouble and was generally ineffective. He doesn’t seem to be completely healthy. If that’s the case Washington wins the series.

Prediction: Wizards in 6
Game 1
Atlanta Hawks 99
Brooklyn Nets 92
Atlanta won 60 games in the regular season and earned the #1 seed in the East by 7 games. They also came in with a few health questions. Star forward Paul Millsap has been hampered by a shoulder injury. He did not look like himself on Sunday. Center Al Horford also dislocated his finger during the game, but should be fine going forward. They controlled the game for the most part nearly leading wire to wire. Brooklyn made a run at the end to make the score closer than the game appeared.
Brooklyn wins 1 game tops. Atlanta is simply a much superior team.
Prediction: Hawks in 5

Game 1
Cleveland Cavaliers 113
Boston Celtics 100
Boston came out and played tough in the first half. They even held a 38-31 lead in the second quarter. The Cavaliers restored order behind the 3 point shooting of Kyrie Irving. Irving finished his playoff debut with 30 points. Kevin Love shrugged off a rough start to finish with 19 points and 12 rebounds. LeBron James had 20 and looked to get his playoff neophyte teammates in a groove.
Bottom line: The Celtics played their best they can at the beginning of the game and all they had was a 7 point lead to show for it. The talent difference is too much.

Prediction: Cavs in 4.
Western Conference
Golden State Warriors 106
New Orleans Pelicans 99
Golden State held large leads throughout the game. New Orleans closed the gap to a mere 7 points after winning the 4th quarter 33-22. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 55 points for the Warriors. Anthony Davis dropped 35 in his playoff debut.
The Warriors have been the best team in the league all year. The Pelicans might be a year or two away from being at the Warriors level. They might steal a game at home, but ultimately have no shot to win this series.

Prediction: Warriors in 4
Game 1
Houston Rockets 118
Dallas Mavericks 108
James Harden got some help from his teammates as 6 other Rockets scored in double figures to go with Harden’s 24 points. Harden probably has to do more for his team than any other contender in the playoffs. Should he continue to get this kind of effort from his teammates, watch out for the Rockets.
Dallas didn’t play all that well but fought to get back in this. They are resilient and should prove to be a tough out. This should be one of the most closely contested series of the first round.
Prediction: Rockets in 6

Game 1
Memphis Grizzlies 100
Portland Trailblazers 86
The Grizzlies played a great team game. They had 4 players score 15+ points. The biggest contribution came from Beno Udrih who scored a playoff career high with 20 points off the bench. Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge had a strong game with 32 points and 14 rebounds. However, he received very little help from his running mate Damian Lillard who went 5-21 from the field for 14 points.
Going forward, Damian Lillard is going to have to play much better for Portland to compete in this series. The good news is that he can’t play much worse than he did on Sunday. The Grizzlies also played the best team game they have played in over a month.
Prediction: Grizzlies in 7

Game 1
Los Angeles Clippers 107
San Antonio Spurs 92
This is the crown jewel matchup of the first round. Arguably, these are 2 of the best 3 teams out west. Both came into the series playing their best basketball of the season. The Clippers came to play. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul combined for 58 points. While the Clippers starters dominated, their weak bench allowed the Spurs to cut into the lead time and time again. The Spurs also went 14-26 from the free throw line. That will not happen again.
Bottom-line: The Spurs did not play well at all. They trailed heavily for most of the game. The biggest question is whether the weak Clippers bench can hold up against the much deeper Spurs. This series should be an instant classic.
Prediction: Spurs in 7