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Majestic

2018 NBA Playoffs

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Playoffs are getting underway Saturday...some pretty good match ups in the first round to talk about. 

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) RAPTORS VS. (8) WIZARDS

The Wizards are backing into the playoffs after losing to the Magic (!!!) on the last night of the season. Hmm. Toronto has also looked creaky for the last few weeks, though the Raptors probably lost a little bit of motivation after creating a lot of separation in the East. At first blush, this isn’t a typical one vs. eight matchup. Washington arguably has the best player in the series in John Wall, though he’s not quite at 100% after midseason knee surgery. The Raptors always seem to struggle in the playoffs, and playing a talented Washington team seemingly won’t make life comfortable. This series could come down to the benches. Toronto’s is great, while Washington’s is not. The Raptors have the edge, but don’t be shocked if this one is a little close.

(2) CELTICS VS. (7) BUCKS

Ooooohh. There’s some serious upset potential here, with Boston missing Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis from the lineup. (Smart does have a chance to return mid-series.) The Bucks will have the most talented player on the floor in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and that means something in the postseason. This series will be a clash of styles—Milwaukee’s high-powered offense against Boston’s stingy defense. I expect a lot of close, grind-it-out games as the Celtics try to slow down the pace. The Bucks will be a trendy pick, but Boston will have a decided coaching advantage between Brad Stevens and Joe Prunty. Do you really want to bet against Stevens, who’s had an answer for every injury so far?

(3) 76ERS VS. (6) HEAT

This may be the best matchup in the East bracket. The precocious Sixers against the hard-working Heat. Process vs. Culture. Both teams are well coached, though Erik Spoelstra has quite an experience advantage over Brett Brown. (In Brown’s defense, he was on the sidelines for many deep Spurs playoff runs.) Philadelphia enters the series as the hottest team in the NBA, with 16 straight wins, 13 of which came against non-playoff teams, however. If Embiid misses extended time, this one could be a little close. These squads played four hotly contested regular season games, with both winning twice on their home floor. Hope for an expedited Embiid return just for more trash talk with Hassan Whiteside. Philly is definitely the more talented team here. We’ll find out if the Heat’s playoff experience means anything.

(4) CAVALIERS VS. (5) PACERS

The Pacers finished only one spot ahead of the Cavs in net rating after perhaps peaking a bit too early in the year. Cleveland, however, has the ninth-best net rating in the league since the trade deadline, when Koby Altman re-made the roster. Indy has been one of the best stories of the NBA season, and drawing LeBron James in the first round is an extremely unfair reward. Who guards LeBron for Indy? Who slows down Kevin Love? How can we ignore the George Hill revenge factor? We can spend time analyzing this series, or we can just acknowledge that there’s no way LeBron goes out this early.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(1) ROCKETS VS. (8) TIMBERWOLVES

Minnesota’s reward for fighting tooth and nail to get into the playoffs is a dance with James Harden and the Rockets. I’m not sure Minnesota has the defensive chops to keep this series close. The Rockets swept the season series with Minny, and the Wolves had the second-worst defensive field-goal percentage in the league. Houston also has an extra motivation to keep this series short to give Luc Mbah a Moute a chance to heal from his dislocated shoulder. I would be surprised if Harden, Chris Paul and their gang of shooters don’t end this series quickly.

(2) WARRIORS VS. (7) SPURS

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Spurs are facing the Warriors for their second straight playoff series, and for the second time without the services of Kawhi Leonard. Golden State is not as magical offensively without Stephen Curry, but if the Dubs lock in defensively, this shouldn’t be much of a series. LaMarcus Aldridge has been great this year, but it’s hard to shake the memories of him struggling against the Warriors last postseason. Will Aldridge be enough in the face of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson? This series should reveal if the Warriors are capable of flipping the switch, because the Spurs will make them work. If Golden State is locked in, this series won’t last long. It comes down to if the first round will actually grab the Warriors’ attention.

 

(3) BLAZERS VS. (6) PELICANS

Anthony Davis is in the playoffs for the second time in his career, while the Blazers are hoping to continue the success of a strong second half. These teams are pretty evenly matched, with both entering the last night of the season with 1.8 net ratings. The Pelicans have found life in a post-DeMarcus Cousins world by relentlessly feeding Davis and inexplicably letting Emeka Okafor anchor their defense to solid results. Nikola Mirotic has added a nice spacing punch in New Orleans, and lineups with Davis at center are thriving. Portland’s success is predicated on its defense, but I’m curious how it will hold up when the Pelicans spread the floor. The role players are going to be important here. If the Blazers’ wings hit their threes, they become nearly impossible to beat. Meanwhile, Dame and C.J. are liable to win a game themselves by going supernova from three. I’m excited for this series, and I’m really tempted to pick the Pelicans.

(4) THUNDER VS. (5) JAZZ

After Gordon Hayward left Utah and OKC added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, who would have guessed the Jazz and Thunder would meet in the first round of the playoffs? The Thunder won the season series 3–1, but the last time these teams played was in December, before the Jazz transformed into a defensive juggernaut. This is going to be a test for the Thunder. Their offense grows stagnant at times, and Rudy Gobert will loom large in the paint. OKC seemingly has the talent advantage. The Jazz have the No. 1 net rating in the NBA since the All-Star break. If the game slows down, as it often does this time of year, that would seemingly favor Utah’s grindy nature. Something to keep an eye on? The Thunder initially found success with Corey Brewer playing in place of Andre Roberson. The lineup of Russ, PG, Melo, Brewer and Steven Adams eventually finished the season with a net rating close to 0, though. The Jazz could very well pull this off.

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if and when GS is healthy, you cant beat them... that said, I think they are late in getting healthy and Houston is hungry... the cavs might be tired... my guess is between these 3 obvious choices... Houston will be champ

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22 minutes ago, Majestic said:

Golden State looking sharp in the first half...up by 16. Durant leading the way. 

Screen_Shot_2018-04-14_at_4.14.58_PM.png

This series might be a sweep when you got Mcgee shutting down LMA. No Kawhi no chance, and not even in the building to support his teammates. He's gone for sure,no way he's back with Spurs next season

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47 minutes ago, propheticWrit said:

Oladipo and this Pacers team are a joy to watch.  What an impressive showing.

 

They were fearless!  If they didn't before, they definitely have the Cavs attention now.

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love the cavs loss !!!! it was only game one.. but boy Cavs gotta have some work to do !  :D 

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19 hours ago, TRIPLEA2TOOTSIES said:

They were fearless!  If they didn't before, they definitely have the Cavs attention now.

 

They're going to see a different Lebron.  He played the first half like a man in his 30s who knows hes got to be on the court the entire game.  I expect it'll be a whole lot of 4 out with Lebron in the post in game 2.

Oladipo is just so much fun to watch.....should have tuned into more Pacers' games this year.  That man doesn't take a single play off.

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30 minutes ago, propheticWrit said:

Oladipo is just so much fun to watch.....should have tuned into more Pacers' games this year.  That man doesn't take a single play off.

 

 I second that...when he's on the floor something good always seems to happen. Just consistently makes good plays. 

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brown and tatum look like the real deal. 

Its scary to think if they get Kawi in a GH + brown swap...... a team with kawi and irving would literally kill the east. I hope san antonio finds a way to keep Leonard. If boston gets him, its game over.

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its funny how the bucks tanked to get boston.. just to find themselve now in that tough situation that Boston is even without their 2 biggest stars - freaking good team - AND smart might be back soon as well...  Karma?

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9 hours ago, JustiseForHeat20 said:

brown and tatum look like the real deal. 

Its scary to think if they get Kawi in a GH + brown swap...... a team with kawi and irving would literally kill the east. I hope san antonio finds a way to keep Leonard. If boston gets him, its game over.

 

well I think kawi's future is overrated...don't get me wrong I still think he will be a star, but not a superstar anymore... that is, if he doesn't show up for SA ever again

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21 minutes ago, al bonDyga said:

 

well I think kawi's future is overrated...don't get me wrong I still think he will be a star, but not a superstar anymore... that is, if he doesn't show up for SA ever again

 

lol.... what?

Hes a league MVP top 3 player, and DPOY..... Hes gettin his money first after boston screwed IT out of his supermax players are getin scared i dont blame them. He will be a superstar where he goes and worth every penny. This entire thing is about the supermax, if he gets injured, they will extend him without it and he feels like he earned it based on his accomplishment but the nba doesnt protect a player from injury so they took it upon themselves. Behind lebron and KD..... hes literally the 3rd best player in the game. It sucks that he had to do it like htis though and hurt the fans.

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you may be right, but  do you realize that not playing for lack of money has almost always hindered any sports athlete more than its helped him... if that was the case and he missed competing for a whole year because of fear of injury...he is in trouble. this guy probably came from humble household and people like that don't tend to take things for granted and his partcipation in the nba wasn't very long... if he really stopped playing because of money... he is wrong or ill advised 

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1 hour ago, al bonDyga said:

you may be right, but  do you realize that not playing for lack of money has almost always hindered any sports athlete more than its helped him... if that was the case and he missed competing for a whole year because of fear of injury...he is in trouble. this guy probably came from humble household and people like that don't tend to take things for granted and his partcipation in the nba wasn't very long... if he really stopped playing because of money... he is wrong or ill advised 

 

that is true, players that have done this have not come back the same.... so he is making bad decisions.... but in the end its all about money unfortunately.

  • Sad 1

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