NBA Playoff Preview

Only the strong survive

By Nathan Fu

The wait is finally over. After witnessing the horrid state of the Eastern Conference, countless game winners, and season ending injuries to Kobe Bryant, Brook Lopez, and of course, Derrick Rose, the NBA Playoff is at long last here. Will this year’s playoffs be as exciting as last year’s when fans were ultimately treated to a nail-biting (and heartbreaking) NBA Finals?

Spurs (1) vs Mavericks (8)
This will probably be the last time for two of the best power forwards in history Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki to face off against each other. The Spurs are hungry for the title after losing to Miami in game 7 at last year’s final. The Mavericks, after missing the playoffs last year, looks to upset the Spurs with the rejuvenated play of Monta Ellis.
Prediction: Spurs win 4-2
Thunder (2) vs Grizzlies (7)
After losing to the Grizzlies last year without All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, the Thunder looks to defeat a strong defensive, the Grizzlies. The Thunder also has Kevin Durant, the favorite for MVP and leads the league in scoring with 32 ppg while the Grizzlies still have Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol who make a lethal inside out combination.
Prediction: Thunder win 4-3
Clippers (3) vs Warriors (6)
The rivalry between these two teams run deep, as evident in the two ejections and numerous scuffles between players during the regular season. Warriors looked prime to upset the Clippers until defensive anchor Andrew Bogut fractured his rib and was sidelined for the playoffs. Making matters worse, Andre Iguodala and David Lee have been suffering from nagging injuries as of late. Without the Warrior’s best defender in the post, Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin should have a field day unless Stephen Curry catches fire and plays the series of his life.
Prediction: Clippers win 4-3
Rockets (4) vs Trailblazers (5)
In a matchup between two high-powered offensive teams, there is no doubt that this will be a shootout with little defense played. James Harden of the Rockets has the power to win an entire series by himself and the Trailblazers will look for Wesley Matthews to lock him down. This series is also an opportunity for Dwight Howard to fix his reputation after leaving the Lakers.
Prediction: Trailblazers win 4-2

Pacers (1) vs Hawks (8)
Early in the year, the Pacers were a title favorite. However, they have struggled as of late, particularly Roy Hibbert. Although Atlanta lost their best player and center in Al Horford, they still have Pero Antic and Paul Millsap, who can both step out and hit threes. Both players will be a bad matchup for Hibbert since Hibbert likes to stay inside the paint.
Prediction: Pacers win 4-2
Heat (2) vs Bobcats (7)
Yes, the Bobcats are in the playoffs thanks to center Al Jefferson. Jefferson,one of the league’s most talented post players, should have a big series against the Heat since the Heat has a history of being unable to guard big post players. However, that is the only advantage the Bobcats have. Not to mention, the Heat also has four-time MVP Lebron James.
Prediction: Heat win 4-1
Raptors (3) vs Nets (6)
The Raptors, who looked like another lottery team in the beginning of the year, turned their season around by trading ball-stopper Rudy Gay for talented role players like Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson. The Nets, who are the most expensive team with a 102 million dollar payroll this year, has underachieved considering the amount of talented players they have acquired during the offseason. In order for the Nets to upset the Raptors, they must slow down the Raptor’s backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan who are second best backcourt scoring duo in the league.
Prediction: Raptors win 4-1
Bulls (4) vs Wizards (5)
With Derrick Rose sidelined once again and Luol Deng traded away, many expected the Bulls’ performance to drop this season. But coach Tom Thibodeau and center Joakim Noah wouldn’t let that happen. Instead, they persevered and find themselves matched up against John Wall and the Wizards. The Bulls should have no problem on the defensive end, but they desperately need to find a source of offense.
Prediction: Wizards win 4-1