Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sports: NBA Playoffs (First Round)

Professional basketball playoffs are back in action and I'm excited to see what happens in the upcoming months. I have high hopes for the Atlanta Hawks, but that's how the playoffs work if your team made it in. Like I did with my earlier hockey post, I'll make some bold predictions that are more about who I'm rooting for in this first round post and then tone it down in subsequent posts as the true contenders make themselves known. I'm still holding out for some crazy upsets and exciting games as the competition begins this weekend. 

1 Boston Celtics vs 8 Chicago Bulls
The Celtics managed to take the top spot in the East but they don't look as strong as typical number one teams. The Bulls could really give them some trouble but I think Boston tops Chicago with their stellar play, especially from Isaiah Thomas.

Game 1: The Bulls upset the Celtics 106-102.
Game 2: The upset continues as the Bulls gain another win 111-97 over the Celtics.
Game 3: Boston rallied back in Chicago for their first win 104-87.
Game 4: The Celtics rally back to tie the series at 2 with a 104-95 win.
Game 5: The Celtics control the series after a 108-97 win.
Game 6: After a rough start, the Celtics knock off the Bulls with a 105-83 win.

4 Washington Wizard vs 5 Atlanta Hawks
This is where my bias as a sports fan starts to show. I like the Atlanta Hawks who haven't had the most consistent season but could take this one against a competitive Washington team. Still, I'm sticking the team I root for and taking the Hawks in seven games.
Game 1: The Wizards beat the Hawks 114-107.
Game 2: Washington wins again at home 109-101.
Game 3: At home, the Hawks demolish the Wizards 116-98.
Game 4: The Hawks tie the series with an 111-101 win.
Game 5: The Wizards take the lead with a 103-99 win.
Game 6: The Wizards eliminated the Hawks 115-99.

3 Toronto Raptors vs 6 Milwaukee Bucks
I'm actually kind of stunned that the Bucks are made it into the playoffs and I doubt they will stick around for long. I think the Raptors have been a top team for several years doing decently but never fully competing. I think I'll take the Toronto Raptors in this series.

Game 1: Milwaukee takes the first game over Toronto 97-83.
Game 2: Toronto ties the series with a 106-100 win against the Bucks.
Game 3: The Bucks crushed the Raptors 104-77.
Game 4: The Raptors beat the Bucks 87-76 to bring the series back to tied.
Game 5: Capitalizing on home field advantage, the Raptors take a 3-2 series lead with an 118-93 blowout win. 
Game 6: The Raptors make it through to the next round with a 92-89 win.

2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs 7 Indiana Pacers
It's surprising that the Cavaliers didn't get the top spot, but some late struggles lost them a good enough record to remain at the top of the standings. They'll have decent competition in the Pacers but nothing Lebron James can't handle. The Cleveland Cavaliers will take this one.
Game 1: The Cavs take the first win of the playoffs in a close match with the Pacers only winning by one point. 
Game 2: The Cavs take a bigger lead with a 117-111 win.
Game 3: In an amazing comeback led by Lebron James, the Cavaliers beat the Pacers 119-114.
Game 4: The Cavaliers sweep the Pacers with a 106-102 win.

1 Golden State Warriors vs 8 Portland Trailblazers
The super team has assembled this year with Kevin Durant joining Stephen Curry to make what seems to be an unstoppable Warriors team. Golden State should make short work of Portland.

Game 1: The Warriors beat the Trailblazers 121-109.
Game 2: Golden State's dominance continues with an 110-81 victory.
Game 3: The Warriors move closer to a sweep with a 119-113 win.
Game 4: With Kevin Durant's return the Warriors sweep the Trailblazers with a fourth win 128-103.

4 Los Angeles Clippers vs 5 Utah Jazz
The Clippers have done so well this season but good enough to earn fourth place. The Utah Jazz have a lot of young talent but they will have to keep them and turn them into veterans if they want to win in the playoffs.
Game 1: The Jazz beat the Clippers by two point 97-95.
Game 2: The Clippers tied the series with a 99-91 win. 
Game 3: Despite losing Blake Griffin, the Clippers came back and won 111-106 over the Jazz.
Game 4: The Jazz held down their home and win 105-98 to tie the series at two games each.
Game 5: Utah takes a lead in this series with a 96-92 win over Los Angeles.
Game 6: The Clippers tie the series 98-93.
Game 7: The Utah Jazz upset the Los Angeles Clippers 104-91.

3 Houston Rockets vs 6 Oklahoma City Thunder
The Rockets may be the higher ranked team in this match but the Oklahoma City Thunder have been stealing all the headlines with Russell Westbrook's historic season. I think that Westbrook and the Thunder are on a mission and will take this series.

Game 1: The Rockets crush the Thunder 118-87.
Game 2: The MVP clash continued with James Harden carrying the Rockets to victory 115-111 over the Thunder.
Game 3: At home in Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder beat the Rockets 115-113.
Game 4: The Rockets further their series lead with an 113-109 win.
Game 5: The Rockets eliminate the Thunder with a 105-99 win.

2 San Antonio Spurs vs 7 Memphis Grizzlies
The Spurs are the one team that could take it all the way that isn't totally favored. They have a solid team that will be tough competition and go far in the playoffs. I root for the Grizzlies throughout the season but I don't think they'll make it past this round. The San Antonio Spurs will move on to the next round.

Game 1: The Grizzlies went up early but the Spurs ended up trouncing Memphis for an 111-82 win. 
Game 2: The Spurs continued to dominate with a 96-82 win.
Game 3: Memphis benefits from the home crowd with a solid 105-94 win. 
Game 4: In a battle to the end, the Grizzlies take down the Spurs 110-108.
Game 5: The Spurs regain dominance with an 116-103 home win.
Game 6: The Spurs avoid game seven and take the series in Memphis 103-96.

So my crazy first round picks go like this, The Hawks beat the Washington Wizard, the Celtics face them after beating the Bulls. The Hawkes will go on to play the Cavaliers who defeated the Pacers and the Rapte0rs who beat the Bucks. I want the Hawks to head to the Championship. In the West, the Warriors beat the Trailblazers and the Clippers beat the Jazz. The Spurs beat the Grizzlies and the Thunder beat the Rockets. San Antonio beat Oklahoma City and Golden State beats Los Angeles. The Spurs face the Hawks in the finals and Atlanta goes home with a Championship. I know this is very unlikely but I like to write my dream scenarios in the first round. 

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