First Round NBA Playoff Predictions

Stephen Curry and Draymond Green begin to celebrate their NBA championship, June 16, 2015. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

The 2016 NBA Playoffs are upon us so it’s prediction time! Although the Western Conference has the potential to be one of the worst playoffs in recent memory, the Eastern Conference may be able to satisfy us with a few close matchups. 

Cavs vs. Pistons

Even though most of us would like the Pistons to pull off the upset, let’s not kid ourselves. They stand no chance against The King, who will have his way during this series. Pistons will win game three, but that’s it. How well the Pistons can defend Lebron and Piston’s three point shooting will be the keys here. Cavs in 5.

Raptors vs. Pacers
Despite being the 2/7 matchup, this series has the potential to be very entertaining. Given Indiana’s defense and PG13’s dominance, the Pacers can make life tough for the Raptors. Also the Raptors haven’t exactly been known to show up in the playoffs. In the end though I think the better team will win. Carroll’s defense on PG will be the key here. Raptors in 6.

Heat vs. Hornets
Nobody is giving the Hornets a chance. They had a great season, but their lack of experience in comparison to the Heat will be exposed here. The Heat’s health and Hornet’s backcourt play could make a difference here. Heat in 5.

Hawks vs Celtics
Whenever the Hawks and Celtics get together in the postseason it’s always a fun time. This will be a tight matchup with multiple tight games but in the end, Atlanta’s front court will be too much for the Celtics to contain. The play of the Hawks bench and health of THJ are vital for the Hawks’ success. Hawks in 6.

Jeff Teague blows by Isaiah Thomas during November’s Hawks Celtics matchup

Warriors vs. Rockets
James Harden has the potential to take over one game but the Warriors won’t even allow that. They are on too much of a mission to lose to a sub-par Rockets team, even with James Harden’s greatness. Warriors in 4.

Spurs vs. Grizzlies
Poor Grizzlies. They give it all they’ve got, but they just don’t have enough with all these injuries. Don’t be surprised if Pop pulls an unthinkable move and rests a player or two in a game given how much of a mismatch this will be. Spurs in 4.

Thunder vs. Mavs
The Thunder would sweep but their lack of 4th quarter execution will come back to haunt them and Dirk will have a vintage Dirk game. But in the end the Thunder have way too much fire power for this to go on longer than five games. Thunder in 5. 

Clippers vs. Blazers
Along with most people, I thought the Blazers would be scraping the bottom of the Western Conference Standings. But here they are in the playoffs as the five seed! Can Dame Dolla’ continue to prove us wrong? I don’t think he has enough help to get past the Clippers but he will drop a couple of 50 point games and grab two wins. Clippers in 6. 

Clippers C DeAndre Jordan slams home the reverse alleyoop. 

Phil Veasley @ATLHawksPhil

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