The National Basketball League Playoffs are finally here and the opening match-ups start tomorrow with the first game being in Canada. I’ve yet to reveal my thoughts on round winners so what I’m doing is this; As I break down the opening game in each series I’ll give you my first round winner as well.
Brooklyn (+3.5) at Toronto – These two Atlantic Division foes each won two games against each other during the regular season. The Raptors two wins came by a combined 17 points while the Nets’ two wins were by a combined six points.
Toronto comes in winners of seven of their last ten while the Nets have won five of ten entering the playoffs. This is a relatively foreign territory for the Raptors and their fans so I like them to cover in Game one.
Series Prediction: Raptors in Seven
Atlanta (+7.5) at Indiana – By now you should be fully aware of the struggles of the Pacers down the stretch. They’ve basically played at the same level as the Hawks for most of the second half of the season.
The two teams split the season series wining two games apiece. Atlanta comes in having won seven of ten while the Pacers have won just four of ten. They have won their last two games though. I like Atlanta getting the 7.5 points but I’ll take the Pacers to win the game.
Series Prediction: Pacers in Seven
Memphis (+6.5) at Oklahoma City – It was clear from Wednesday’s night game versus Dallas that the Memphis Grizzlies wanted no part of the Spurs in Round One. By virtue of their victory, they earned the seventh seed and a more engaging match-up with Oklahoma City.
OKC won three of four during the regular season but few teams are playing as well as the Grizzlies are right now. Kevin Durant has proven he can carry this team at times but how far remains the question. The Thunder are 6-4 in their last ten contests while the Grizzlies are just a game better at 7-3. The issue here is that Memphis has won five straight games and don’t appear to be slowing down.
Despite the impressive record, I just have never felt that the Thunder have been consistently solid all year. Durant will get his but, but will he get enough help? I love Memphis getting the points in OKC and I love them to win game one as well.
Series Prediction: Grizzlies in Six
Golden State (+6.5) at LA Clippers – This could end up being the chippiest series of the opening round as these two teams really have no love for each other. They split the season series winning two games each. LA won the first and fourth while the Warriors won the middle two. If Golden State does have Andrew Bogut it’s doubtful he’ll be 100%.
That could be a big factor considering how the Clippers like to get to the basket. One of the bigger factors in this series could be three-point shooting. While the Warriors hold just a slim advantage in that category, if the Clippers struggle to defend it, this could ultimately be the difference.
Considering that only one of the four match-ups this season was what I’d call a ‘close game,’ we could expect blowouts throughout the series. That said, I believe you’ll see a close, tense game in the Staples Center. I like the Warriors getting the points but I’ll take the Clippers to take a game one lead in the series.
Series Preditction: Clippers in Six