NBA Playoff Preview

NBA Playoff Preview:

Eastern Conference Matchups:

(2) Toronto Raptors vs (7) Indiana Pacers

 

This young Raptors team have made the playoffs the last two seasons, suffering 1st round

defeats to Brooklyn and a whitewash by the Washington Wizards last season. This has been a

real breakout season for Toronto, finishing with 56 wins and the 2nd seed in the East. The

franchise is still yet to win a best of 7 playoffs series and expect a bump or two along the way,

Indiana will be coming into this game on a 3 game winning streak to end the regular season,

expect this to be one of the closer matchups between the top vs bottom seeds in either

conference.

 

Prediction: Raptors win series 4-­2 (4/1 Paddy Power)

 

(4) Atlanta Hawks vs (5) Boston Celtics

This has all the hallmarks of a titanic play­off series. Their last 3 playoff meetings have gone to at

least 6 games, including 2 game 7’s. While the Hawks won 3 of their 4 regular season meetings, I

don’t anticipate their path through this tie being anywhere near as comfortable. The Celtics

appear to have all the trimmings but despite missing a key franchise player, they still have the

ability to forge a run to the Conference finals, and behind a great coach Brad Stevens I expect

them to come through a series that will no doubt contain many twists & turns. Should Isiah

Thomas continue to perform to his world class potential the Celtics should advance here.

 

Prediction: Celtics win series 4­-3 (7/1 Paddy Power)

 

(3) Miami Heat vs (6) Charlotte Hornets

Seeding is difficult to read much into here, a four­way tie from 3rd to 6th in which the Hornets

ended up bottom. The one thing people will love here is the Heat’s play­off experience, and

they’ve been excellent in coping with the loss of Chris Bosh. Kemba Walker is averaging 20.4 ppg

and the Hornets roster has posted solid numbers all around the floor, their defence being

especially important to their success. Tough to see this Hornets team coming through against the

experience of Dwayne Wade & the talent of Hassan Whiteside +Goran Dragic. Home court should

play a big part again here, and I don’t think the Hornets will hold home court against the Heat

unless they steal a match at the American Airlines Arena, expect the Heat to book their place in

the conference semi­finals here.

 

Prediction: Heat win series 4-­1 (7/2 Paddy Power)

 

(1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs (8) Detroit Pistons

LeBron James and his Cleveland side begin their quest for that elusive Championship against a

Pistons franchise making their 1st appearance in the post­season for 6 years. Their fate will be

decided by just how good LeBron can perform, the 2015 play­offs showed the immense talent this

man has, single­handedly pushing the Warriors to 6 games while missing Kyrie Irving. The

Pistons young core dip their feet into post­season basketball for the 1st time, don’t expect it to be

a fairytale, Cavaliers have their sights firmly on another finals appearance, the Cavaliers swept a

similar Boston side also on a learning curve in the same round last year, LeBron won’t want his

charges playing any more games than they need too, this series will be a 4-­0 sweep.

 

Prediction: Cavaliers win series 4-­0 (13/5 Paddy Power):

 

Western Conference Matchups:

 

(1) Golden State Warriors vs (8) Houston Rockets

The Rockets played some decent basketball down the stretch to reach the play­offs, don’t expect

them to advance here. A complete lack of defence will be punished by the Warriors, and no

matter how well James Harden plays it simply won’t be enough to prevent Curry & Thompson

slicing this team open. The Rockets morale has been shaky to say the least this season, if the

Warriors cut them open in their 1st two home games I don’t expect this roster to put up much fight

when the tie moves back to their home ground, expect 4 very high scoring games with the

Warriors winning them all.

Prediction: Warriors win series 4-­0 (11/10 Paddy Power)

 

(3) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (6) Dallas Mavericks

This is an interesting matchup, but looks to be heading only one direction, and that’s towards

Oklahoma City. The Mavericks finished the season 7­3 to reach the playoffs, but they lost all 4

regular season meetings to the Thunder, and the motivated combination of Durant & Westbrook

will crush the majority of teams in the league. The Mavericks are lacking a real killer instinct, Dirk

Nowitzki is 37 years of age and his consistency is seriously wavering. I like the Thunder to take

this series quite comfortably.

 

Prediction: Thunder win series 4-­1 (5/4 Paddy Power)

 

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs (7) Memphis Grizzlies

Not much arguing to be done here. The Grizzlies are 1­9 in their last 10 games, unable to recover

from losing Mike Conley & Marc Gasol. They have no chance against this Spurs team, who

recorded a 40-­1 home record this season and are simply just too good for this depleted Memphis

team. Spurs to sweep this one

 

Prediction: Spurs win series 4­-0 (11/10 Paddy Power)

 

(4) LA Clippers vs (5) Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers have fought this season. They lost 4 of their 5 starters from the previous

season, predicted to get no more than 26 wins, they finished 44­-38. The Clippers finished 9

games ahead of them, winning the season series 3­1. I expect a battle here, the Trail Blazers

have worked hard all season and won’t go down easily. Clippers have become embroiled in 7

game 1st round series, having 3 consecutive years of being banged up in the early rounds. While

they’ll be motivated to prevent another occurrence of this trend, the Trail Blazers will do all they

can to keep the tie alive.

 

Prediction: Clippers win series 4­-2 (4/1 Paddy Power)

 

1ST ROUND Betting Card:

  • Series Handicap: (Miami Heat ­1.5 games) 2.37 Paddy Power
  • Series Handicap: (Boston Celtics +1.5 games) 1.50 Paddy Power
  • To Win Series: (Celtics to beat Hawks) 2.47 Paddy Power

 

Outrights:

  • To win Western Conference: San Antonio Spurs 11/4 Paddy Power
  • To win Western Conference: Oklahoma City Thunder 9/1 (small stake)
  • To win Eastern Conference: Toronto Raptors 5/1 Paddy Power (small stake)
  • To win Eastern Conference: Boston Celtics 13/1 Paddy Power (small stake)
  • To win NBA Championship: San Antonio Spurs 7/2 Paddy Power

 

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