NBA Playoff Preview- First Round Match Ups


Stephen Young

With Golden State’s signing of Demarcus Cousins in free agency this summer, fans of the NBA predicted a rather boring and unfair season. Many thought the league’s defending champs would be overpowering and unfair; however, over the course of the season, teams across the league have shown that they believe they have a shot at taking home the title. Throughout the 82 games, teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks and the Denver Nuggets have surprised the league and shown that they are capable of winning the NBA Championship. With the conclusion of the season, the playoff bracket has been released and games start this Saturday. Here are the outcomes we can expect to see in the first round of the postseason.

Western Conference

Warriors vs. Clippers – Warriors in 4
As the two time defending NBA Champions, the Warriors expect nothing less than a three-peat. Playoff time is here and the All-Star filled team is locked in and determined to win their next 16 games. The firepower of the Golden State Warriors is too much to handle for the Clippers, and they will be lucky to win just one game; however, that is still unlikely.
Rockets vs. Jazz – Rockets in 6
With the defensive powerhouse of Rudy Gobert and second year superstar Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz will give the Rockets a run for their money. However, the explosive offense of the Rockets will overpower Utah as nobody on the roster can slow down James Harden.
Trail Blazers vs. Thunder – Thunder in 7
Although Portland had a fantastic season, finishing third in a strong Western Conference, Playoff P is back and Russell Westbrook’s intensity is through the roof. It will be a hard fought, physical series, but the explosiveness of Russell Westbrook and the defense of Paul George will lead them to victory in seven.
Nuggets vs. Spurs – Nuggets in 6
The Nuggets had a tremendous season, finishing second in the West. With dominant big man Nikola Jokic and explosive guard Jamal Murray, the Nuggets simply outmatch the Spurs. However, the coaching of Gregg Popovich will be enough for the Spurs to steal a couple of games from Denver.

Eastern Conference

Bucks vs. Pistons – Bucks in 4
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the superstar demigod, led the Bucks to a league’s best 60-22 record. With solid supporting players such as Khris Middleton, the Bucks will match up well against the Pistons. The Greek Freak can score virtually any time he has the ball, and that is enough to will the Bucks past the Pistons in just four games.
Celtics vs. Pacers – Celtics in 5
Although the Celtics had a disappointing season, finishing fourth in a weak Eastern Conference, Kyrie Irving and the Celtics are locked in and ready to reach the second round for an expected match up of the Milwaukee Bucks.
76’ers vs. Nets – 76’ers in 7
Although the Nets are a six seed, they had a breakout season and their momentum is riding at an all time high. This, in combination with D’Angelo Russell’s fantastic season, is enough to will the Nets to game seven. However, the dominance of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons is too much to handle for Brooklyn.
Raptors vs. Magic – Raptors in 5
Although the Magic had a great season for their franchise, making the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-2012 season, Kawhi Leonard is something they can’t handle. Leonard’s fantastic defense and exceptional offense is something the Magic can’t beat in a seven game series. They will be lucky to steal a game at home if Lowry has an off night.

After an exciting regular season, the intensity and excitement is expected to be a thousand times higher this postseason. The first round is filled with great series and fans across the globe are excited to see what’s in store for the league’s greatest.