By Matthew Crowder
The playoffs have kicked off on April 15 already for 14 teams now, 7 from the East division after the Pacers fell out and 7 for the West division because the Trail Blazers lost 4 games to the Warriors. Here are the tough match-ups teams will have have to face to get to the Finals on June 1st. The games air on ESPN, ESPN 2, NBA TV, ABC, and TNT channels. The Playoffs and Finals for example are played like 2-2-1-1-1( 2 at home, 2 away, 1 home, 1 away, and 1 home or the other way around it depends on what team it is) and the reason why they do this is reduce time spent for travel. Since the finals are between a team from the Western Conference and a team from Eastern Conference usually the distance between their cities is significantly larger than the distance between two cities in the West or those cities in the East. (2-3-2 format has at the most trips at 2 while 2-2-1-1-1 has at most 4 trips)
The 8 Western Conference teams :
#1 Golden State Warriors vs. #8 Portland Trail Blazers. The Warriors finished a sweeping series at 4-0 lead on Damian Lillard’s team. The Warriors probably have the best lineup in basketball right now, which will be hard for other teams to beat them. If and when the Warriors win their side of the bracket, it should be fun to watch. They have a while to rest, much like the Cavaliers, the NBA champions from last year and the Warriors the year before. But both the Warriors and Cavs have been in the last 2 championships together, so I think it’s time for someone else to win the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship trophy.
2015 Champions 2016 Champions
#4 Los Angeles Clippers play #5 Utah Jazz, and the Jazz are up a game at 3-2 if they in their next game game at home they will advance and play the hot Golden State Warriors. This is probably the best game going on because both teams can really play good. The Clippers have a better roster with Chris Paul, Deandre Jordan, and Blake Griffin, but don’t underestimate the play of Gordon Hayward, George Hill, and Rudy Gobert out with injury, but once he returns their team will look aggressive against the Clippers. It will be a tough battle because one of these teams will have to play the Golden State Warriors.
#3 Houston Rockets vs. #6 Oklahoma City Thunder which James Harden and his Rockets won the series after some hard fought games by both team, but the Rockets up a 4-1 lead on Russell Westbrook’s Thunder to win the series, but no doubt about it Russell Westbrook is the “Player of the Year”.
#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #7 Memphis Grizzlies and the veteran Spurs team have a 3-2 lead on the Grizzlies to try and reach to the Finals with a great coach and tough defense, but Grizzlies are fighting hard on every play, so don’t count them as they go play at home to decipher on who’s advancing. One of these teams will face the Houston Rockets.
The 8 Eastern Conference teams:
#1 Boston Celtics vs. #8 Chicago Bulls and the series is 3-2 after the Bulls lost 2 at home this week and the Celtics also losing 2 at their home but winning 1 finally, so the pressure is on for the Bulls if they can’t win their 3rd game at home as they look ahead to either playing the Washington Wizards or the Atlanta Hawks.
#4 Washington Wizards vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks John Wall and the Wizards are up a game going 3-2 both teams winning in their home stadiums. This series is also one of those exciting match-ups, but I think the Hawks have the advantage with Paul Millsap and Dennis Schroder along with the other ferocious Hawks who are playing game 6 at home to decide on who’s advancing.
#3 Toronto Raptors vs. #6 Milwaukee Bucks the Bucks are underestimated to advance, but don’t count them out now only still down a game at 3-2. The Raptors have a really good roster with Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, but Bucks forward Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton look to try and out beat the Raptors at home these next two games. One of these teams will face the Cleveland Cavaliers after they sweeped the series against the Pacers.
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers in co with Ktriv Irving, Kevin Love, LeBron James go on and beat #7 Indiana Pacers winning the series at 4-0 lead on the Pacers and have beaten “Player of the Month” Pacers Paul George who had some really close matches against the Cavs. The Cavs will have awhile to get their team rested, so good luck to the winner of the Bucks and Raptors series
I will write another article next week when there are 8 teams left in playoff bracket.