By Assane Drame
Bear with the long, non-creative title for this article. I bet by the end of this article you might chuckle not once but twice or you may find me corny. You may even agree with my predictions. One thing for certain though, if you’re reading this you probably will watch or follow a lot (or some) NBA playoff basketball. For the past several years now, we’ve seen Dirk finally get his due, LeBron evolve, Duncan, Wade, and Kobe add to their legacies by winning championships. So who’s next to get their due, evolve, or add to their legacy? It all starts in April. Before any team can think about winning the NBA championship, they’ll have to get through the first round. Some series will be interesting and others well…they’ll just realize that life comes at you fast.
Atlanta Hawks (1) vs Brooklyn Nets (8): The Hawks rank top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency, something that is the key to a championship. And even though law enforcement these days are even deciding playoff factors, this Hawks team should have no problem dispatching this below average Nets team even with Brook Lopez playing fantastic. Atlanta has the easiest path to the ECF and it starts with a subway to Brooklyn *slaps knee* corny? Hey I tried. Hawks win 4-0.
Cleveland Cavaliers (2) vs Boston Celtics (7): It is worth noting that the Cavs are ranked 20th defensively but there is this guy named LeBron James who is uh alright at this thing called Basketball who could make this team play respectable D. With that said, I like the Celtics long term outlook but they technically they weren’t supposed to make the playoffs. Cavs win 4-1.
Chicago Bulls (3) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (6): For what seems like the 20th time, Derrick Rose is back. He along with Jimmy Buckets, Noah, Gasol, Gibson, and co. will be too much for the young Milwaukee squad. I think this will be a great learning experience for them though. Giannis and not MCW sorry Jabari (when he gets back) are the future. Bulls win 4-1.
Toronto Raptors (4) vs. Washington Wizards (5): So Toronto has a bad defense and Washington has a bad offense. This series could go either way but my guess is that Drake will be showing up to Warriors/Cavs games sooner rather than later. Wizards win 4-3.
Golden State Warriors (1) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (8): No. No. No. I wanted Steph vs. Westbrook! I don’t care if the Pelicans would be more competitive! I want to have fun! However, I just need to let that go. Playoff experience for Anthony Davis isn’t such a bad thing (I still think playoff exp. is overrated). Against the almighty Warriors though? Life will come at you fast. Warriors win 4-1.
Houston Rockets (2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7): Remember when the Rondo trade was supposed to take Dallas to the top? Well yeah, life comes at you pretty fast. They have had trouble adjusting with the former Celtic and now is a bad time to run into James Harden aka MVP and the Rockets. If the Mavs aren’t careful this could be ugly but I don’t think Dirk, Tyson, Parsons, and co. will go down easily. Rockets win 4-2.
Los Angeles Clippers (3) vs. San Antonio Spurs (6): So this series will be a tough one. I’d like to see Chris Paul get his due this year so the criticism about him can stop. I also like Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, but I also think Doc Rivers is slightly overrated as a coach. You know what influenced my decision? The fact that I now know that Tony Parker has an album called TP, That’s just as many as Lauryn Hill and one more than Jay Electronica. Oh and it’s the Spurs. Spurs win 4-3.
Memphis Grizzlies (5) vs. Portland Trailblazers (4): The Trailblazers won’t have home court advantage and they’re the most banged up team in the west. Memphis is banged up too but they should be at full strength once the playoffs start. The odds don’t seem to be in Portland’s favor this year when earlier in the season they looked pretty darn good, however, like I said. Life comes at you fast. Grizzlies win 4-2.