NBA Western Conference Playoffs: First Round Preview

NBA Western Conference Playoff preview:

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Houston Rockets:

It will be a nice storyline to see James Harden go up against his former team in the first round of the
NBA Playoffs. He better say hi and bye quickly because this series won’t last too long. The Thunder took
2 of 3 from Houston this year and won those games by a combined 52 points. Russell Westbrook should
run circles around the Rockets and Houston doesn’t have anyone who can contain Kevin Durant. The
Rockets finished just 16-25 on the road and now have to go into what is considered the loudest arena
in the NBA and find a way to steal a game. James Harden will probably put the Rockets on his back and
carry them to a victory but that’s about it. I’m going with the Thunder in 5 games.

San Antonio Spurs vs. the Los Angeles Lakers:

We’ve seen these two foes before, but normally in a conference finals matchup. Both of these
organizations have pretty much controlled the Western Conference over the last decade so it’s pretty
odd to see them going head to head this early. The Spurs won 2 of the 3 matchups during the season,
but all three games were fairly close. The Lakers, who have been playing desperation basketball for the
last couple weeks, finished the regular season 8-2 in their final 10 games while the Spurs limped into the
playoffs losing 7 of 10. The Lakers have been pretty awful defensively all season and it’s hard to fix bad
habits in a matter of days. This series will be tougher than most anticipate but I have the Spurs winning
in 6 games.

Denver Nuggets vs. the Golden State Warriors:

Out of all of the first round matchups in the West, this has the potential to be the most exciting one. The
Denver Nuggets play at a frantic pace and the Warriors have the ability to play with them. Denver is a
little banged up coming into the postseason with injuries to Danillo Gallinari, who is done for the year
because of a knee injury, and Kenneth Faried who suffered an ankle injury. Faried may return in time
for game 1. The Warriors are led by Stephen Curry who just broke the record for 3 pointers made in a
season with 272. This series will be tough for Denver.  Finding ways to win in Oakland will be extremely
hard for the Nuggets, but they may not need to as they finished the season going 38-3 at home. Denver
is a little bit deeper with much more playoff experience. Both of these will be the deciding factors in the
series. I have the Nuggets winning in 6 games.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. the Memphis Grizzlies:

This is becoming one of the better rivalries in the NBA. The two teams met last year in a classic 7 game
series with the Clippers eventually beating the Grizzlies. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have taken what we
all thought of the Clippers organization and completely changed it. They are a deep team who are fun
to watch, but they are going up against a tough-minded, gritty, Memphis squad. Whichever team can
enforce their will on the other will be the team that gets to move on. If the Clippers get out in the open
court and turn this into Lob City, Memphis won’t stand a chance. On the other hand if the Grizzlies can
slow the game down and force the Clippers to execute in the half-court, then Grizzlies fans should like                                                                                                        their team’s chances. The Clippers seem to have the superstars needed to win in the Playoffs and that is
why I’m picking them. It’s going to be another great series but I have the Clippers winning in 6 games.