2014 NBA Playoff First Round Preview

2014 NBA Playoff First Round Preview

If you’re a basketball fan, this is the best time of the year. For the next few weeks, there will be playoff intense games every day of the week. The most intriguing matchups this year will be in the Western Conference. The West has at least six teams that can win it all. Let’s get started previewing each matchup in the first round.

 

Western Conference:

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks – This rivalry goes back more than a decade ago. With two future Hall of Famers in Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki leading there teams for years, it’s only right that we see this match-up. The Spurs have rested starters this year and continued to keep rolling posting the best record in the league. The Mavs will pose a threat however because of the way they use their rotation. The Mavs go about 10 deep and will have no problem getting buckets from Monte Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki. Even though Coach Carlisle is one of the best in the league, Coach Pop may be the absolute best and will be able to shut down the Mavs.

Prediction: Spurs take out the Mavs in five games.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies – Many people will jump to the conclusion that OKC will take this series very easily. The problem with that is looking at what happened last year in the playoffs. Memphis dominated OKC to take the series in five games and advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Russell Westbrook was out with a knee injury but the fact that Memphis took it to OKC is nothing to just look over. The Grizzlies are healthy and will pose a serious threat with Zack Randolph and Marc Gasol on both ends of the floor. The Thunder will need Westbrook and Durant at their best to win this series. With Durant having a MVP season and looking unstoppable at times, the Grizzlies will have a hard time dealing with him. If the Thunder can slow down Gasol in the post and neutralize Randolph with Ibaka, they should be fine.

Prediction: Thunder win series in six.

 

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors – This series could remind people of how basketball used to be played in the playoffs. These teams hate each other. Look for a physical but exciting brand of basketball with both teams. It is time for CP3 and Blake Griffin to take their games to the next level and contend for a title. There are no more excuses with needing the right head coach, they have the pieces to get it done. The Warriors are an interesting team. They can shoot anyone out of the building with Curry and Thompson and if they are hot in this series, forget about it. The key issue in this series is the health of Andrew Bogut. With Bogut most likely not able to play, it will put much pressure on David Lee to play the five and matchup with DeAndre Jordan. Who will check Blake Griffin?

Prediction: Clippers win an emotional series in seven games.

 

Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trailblazers – This may be the most intriguing match-up in the first round. The pressure is on Dwight Howard to elevate his game and lead the Rockets to a title. That was the talk all summer long when he signed as a free agent. With James Harden playing his best basketball of his career, the time is now. The problem is that the Rockets are going up against a young but hungry Trailblazer team. With LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard playing like all pros, this series has seven games written all over it.

Prediction: Rockets sneaks by and win in seven.

 

Eastern Conference:

Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks – Much has been made about the downfall of the Pacers in the last portion of the season. They were still able to accomplish what they set out to do and that is the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks with Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver knocking down threes are a good opponent but the Pacers are on a mission and this will be the right time to kick it into gear for their quest at a championship.

Prediction: Pacers in five.

 

Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Bobcats – We all know about the two time defending champions the Miami Heat. Not many people know much about the Bobcats. Michael Jordan’s team is really making noise this year with great guard play from Kemba Walker and a legit MVP candidate in Al Jefferson. Jefferson will be a true problem in this series for the Heat. Bosh will not be able to handle him alone on the post. We are still not sure how healthy or how long Greg Oden will be able to play but they may need him to slow down Jefferson. In the end, the Heat are on a quest for a three peat. Bobcats had a great season and can build on this playoff experience.

Prediction: Heat in five.

 

Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets – The Raptors are the three seed in this playoff matchup but are definitely the underdog to win the series. The reason for that is because the Nets are not only getting healthier but they started out the season with a horrible record and turned it all around beginning the new year. It seems almost guaranteed that we will see the Heat-Nets in the second round. For that to happen, Jason Kidd’s team will need to play solid defense and slow down Kyle Lowry. He is very underrated point guard that can make a difference in this series. We also need to see a Joe Johnson sighting throughout this series.

Predicition: Nets win series in six.

 

Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards – Even without Derrick Rose, the Bulls have stuck to their defensive ways and will be a tough out in the playoffs. The Wizards are in their first playoffs in years and it seems that the Bulls should take care of business, right? Well do not sleep on the Wiz. John Wall, Trevor Ariza, and Marcin Gortat will cause anyone in the Eastern Conference a problem with their up tempo offense. Can the Bulls score enough points to win and can they hold the Wizards in a seven game series?

Prediction: An upset. Wizards will take series in seven games.

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