Scoping out the Western Conference playoffs landscape
Of the 16 teams to win 65 or more games in the season, only three have failed to win the NBA title. So why don’t we just engrave the Golden State Warriors on the Larry O’Brien trophy? Because of the way this season has played out, there’s a good chance the 67-win Warriors could be the fourth team on the opening statement. While scoping out the Western Conference playoffs landscape, you’ll see that there was a blood bath. You know how it goes, only the strong survive. The defending champs only managed to finish third in their division; all five teams from the Southwest division made the playoffs.
Warriors over the Pelicans in five games: I don’t foresee a sweep at all; the teams split the two games that “The Brow” played in. This is a lopsided matchup but home cooking and the crowd noise will help the upstarts win one game.
Rockets over the Mavericks in seven games: Rick Carlisle is a brilliant basketball mind and he knows his team functions better without Rondo off the floor. In order for Dallas to advance, Rondo will have to play a bit role. Houston is built to make a run, and they won’t be stopped here.
Spurs over the Clippers in six games: It is unfortunate that these two teams have to face each other in the first round. They are both playing good basketball right now and either will pose a threat to the Warriors. This was the worst possible scenario for L.A. because the Spurs are running on all cylinders right now. They can be looking at a repeat if they get past this hurdle.
Memphis over Portland in six games: Health will play a key role in deciding this series. Memphis swept the regular season series but they’ll likely be more affected by injury than Portland will, only enough for them to lose two games.