Will Warriors Repeat? NBA Playoff Predictions

It’s the most exciting time of year: the NHL playoffs are going on and the anticipated NBA playoffs are just starting to heat up. With the addition of a new basketball program at Northwood School, many students are enthusiastic about the NBA.

GSW celebrate championship

The Golden State Warriors Celebrate their 2017 NBA Championship. (Photo: NBA.com)

Many questions have risen about the NBA playoffs. Some for example, “Can LeBron James carry his Cleveland Cavaliers team to another final for his 8th straight time (four with Miami and potentially four with Cleveland)?” Another burning question is, “Do the Golden State Warriors still have what it takes to repeat as champs and win its third title in four years?”

Starting in the Eastern Conference, where the common wisdom that the east is a cakewalk for Lebron to the finals is completely wrong. He has had huge competition this year, and he is carrying his team to the 2nd round after a seven-game series with the Pacers. He is leading the league in points per game with 34.4; the next closest scorer on the Cavs is Kevin Love with 11.4 points per game. However, you can never count out Lebron. They face a strong Toronto Raptors team in the 2nd round. Toronto, led by Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, is famous for choking in the playoffs. The Cavs will take this series in five games because the Raptors are afraid of the Cavs and tend to choke in big-game situations.

In the other Eastern Conference series its the young strong Philadelphia 76ers against a young and injured Boston Celtic team. Boston has been a solid team all year, even with a depleted roster that included injuries to all-star small forward Gordon Hayward in the first game of the year. The Celtics also lost Kyrie Irving, an all-star point guard, to knee surgery. Boston has managed to get through the injuries and become a 50-win team and become the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference thanks to young talent coming from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and the best coach in the NBA in Brad Stevens. Boston has had role players step up in Terry Rozier and Aaron Baynes, but I don’t think it’s enough to get past the 76ers. Philadelphia is led by one of the greatest duos in the league, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons. They are a young team, and Simmons is a great playmaker who is able to find teammates and dominates around the rim.  The Sixers have been the hottest team since February, and they show no signs of slowing down. I can see them winning in 6 games.

In the Conference finals, the Cavs will face the 76ers. I Think this is a quick series in five games. It comes down to experience, and the 76ers have very little and the Cavs have more than any other team. LeBron James is the difference maker in this series.

Onto the Western Conference, the Warriors are facing a strong New Orleans Pelicans team led by Anthony Davis. The Pelicans have been great in the playoffs, sweeping the Trail Blazers who many picked to sweep the Pelicans. Unfortunately, I see the Pelicans and Warriors lasting only 4 games. I don’t see anyone on the Pelicans team able to guard Kevin Durant. Furthermore, the Warriors are going to get back Steph Curry, who is a top-5 player in the league. Also with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on the court, I almost see it impossible for the Pelicans to find an answer to the Warriors.

Next is the Houston Rockets against the Utah Jazz. The Rockets are a team that many people predict to beat Golden State. The Rockets have the best backcourt in the league in James Harden and Chris Paul, and the team’s basketball IQ is off the charts. Eric Gordon, last season’s 6th man of the year, is another of the Rocket’s many weapons. The Jazz relies on defense, with likely defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert. Rookie Donovan Mitchell was a huge part of their first-round win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Mitchell has potential to make things difficult for the Rockets. Despite the Jazz’s many strengths, this will be another quick series with Houston winning in 5 games to face Golden State in the Conference Finals.

Fans have been looking forward to a Rockets-Warriors playoff battle since the fall. Will Houston beat Golden State to move onto the finals? The answer is no. Golden State has too much firepower. They are the reigning champs for a reason. They have too many weapons and their bench always shows up when their team needs them. The Rockets have two problems: an over-reliance on three-pointers and the fact that James Harden and Chris Paul fail to perform in big moments. Golden State takes this series in six games.

In the Finals, Golden State will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers for the fourth-straight year. The Warriors will take the series in six games. They have too many weapons, and the Cavs’ loss of Kyrie Irving (to the Celtics) leaves Cleveland without enough help for LeBron.

 

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