Now that the dust has settled from that abysmal excuse of a National Championship game between UNC and Gonzaga (that’s a generous way to put it), it’s time to shift our focus to the NBA playoffs, which are right around the corner. I can’t tell you how excited I am to watch some quality basketball, because it may take weeks for me to un-see that UNC vs. Gonzaga game, that’s how much of a goddamn nightmare that was.
I’ve mentioned before that there’s not as much shock in the NBA, and you usually know who is going to make the finals before the playoffs even get going, but that still doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch the playoffs this year. It’s been a fun NBA season with Kevin Durant going to the Warriors, then getting hurt but probably coming back for the playoffs, Russell Westbrook averaging a triple double, Lebron James still being really good while continuing to do things that make me hate him, the Spurs winning 60 games again, and the Clippers being wildly overrated like they are every year.
I’ve personally enjoyed watching the NBA this season, as I do every season because I’m a basketball fan, so I can’t imagine I won’t enjoy the playoffs. Now as we’re a few weeks away from the start of the postseason, it’s time to do what sports writers around our country are doing, NBA playoff predictions! Please try and contain your excitement. My five predictions will most likely come across to you as pretty standard (they are), because I’m not much of a hot take artist like my man Skip Bayless. So without wasting any more of your time, here’s what I think is going to go down in the 2017 NBA playoffs.
1. Stephen Curry will be more crucial to Golden State than Kevin Durant in the postseason.
Before anyone jumps down my throat, hear me out. I think most people would agree that Kevin Durant is a better basketball player than Steph Curry is, but the Warriors are at their best when Steph gets it going. Before KD went down, he had taken over as the alpha dog in Golden State as Steph was suffering through the worst slump of his career. Then Durant went down with a knee injury and everyone thought that the Warriors were cooked, or at least as far as making a run at the Finals that is. Funny thing happened though, the two-time reigning NBA MVP found his shot back, has made sure the Warriors have held on to the one seed, and oh yeah, helped lead the team to their current 12-game winning streak. I know that the Warriors have been outstanding since Durant went down, but I’m not going to sit here and tell you that they don’t need him in the postseason. He’s slated to come back this Saturday, so it will be interesting to see how he plays his way back into the lineup.
2. Boston will go into the playoffs as the #1 seed in the east.
This doesn’t mean that I think they will represent the east in the finals, but this is my hot-ish take of these predictions. As much as I’d love to see Isaiah Thomas getting buckets in the finals, I don’t see any way they could beat the Cavs in the playoffs. I think Boston is going to get the one seed because it seems to matter more to them than it does to Cleveland, and it should. Tonight’s game with the Cavs will be very telling to see if my prediction turns out to be true, but I’m a man of my conviction, and I believe the Celtics will be top seed in the east come playoff time.
3. The Clippers aren’t getting out of the first round.
This is kind of a HUGE postseason for the Clips, because if they don’t make a run to the conference finals, it may be time to break up the band of Doc, CP3, Blake, and DeAndre. Now, I’ll admit that I’ve never really been a huge Clippers fan, but I think it may be time for a fresh start in Los Angeles because I don’t see them getting out of the first round. This is the sixth (it may be seventh and if it is I apologize) of that core four, and they’ve never made it to the conference finals, and notoriously blew a 3-1 lead to the Rockets two years ago in the second round. For whatever reason, they can’t seem to figure it out in the postseason and I don’t see any reason as to why that should change this time around. Also, Doc Rivers is kind of an overrated coach if we’re being honest. After his run with the Celtics, which would have ended a lot sooner if he didn’t get KG and Ray Allen, his time with the Clippers has been disappointing, to say the least. Brace yourself for another early exit for the Clippers, NBA fans.
4. The Rockets are going to the conference finals.
It’s been a roller-coaster of a ride with James Harden and I. I loved him when he came into the league with the Thunder and was coming off the bench with Westbrook and Durant, but got a little bit (unfairly) salty towards him when he was traded to Houston, just because I wanted to see that Big 3 stay together and run the league for years. I absolutely hated him when Dwight Howard joined him on the Rockets because Dwight Howard is a bitch, so that was probably a bit unfair of me to not like Harden for that as well. But now Dwight is gone and Harden is playing out of his goddamn mind this year, and this Houston team has been so much fun to watch. They’re running the Mike D’Antoni uptempo offense, and draining threes left and right. I think they’ll most likely play the Spurs in the second round, and I think that they can take them. They can definitely give the Warriors trouble in the conference finals, but I still see Golden State coming out victorious in that series.
5. The Warriors will win a grudge match with the Cavs in the finals.
I don’t know how confident I am with this prediction, it’s more of a hope, but I’m going with it anyways. They’re clearly the two best teams in the league, and with the way the Warriors are playing and with how lackluster the competition is for the Cavs in the East, it’s pretty hard to imagine another finals matchup. This goes back to my point that there isn’t any parody in the NBA, but at the same time, this is the matchup that we all want to see. I want to see if Golden State can right the wrong from last year when they blew a 3-1 lead, as well as if Lebron can take his game to another level and possibly claim the title as “Greatest Basketball Player of All Time.” You’d have to imagine that the series would go seven games, and I want the Warriors to win because I hate the Cavs, but man it’s pretty hard to bet against Lebron. I’m going to go with Golden State though, because I think they’ve been wanting this rematch for a year now, and they won’t make the same mistakes that they did last year. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Bonus Prediction: Lebron won’t make any douchey comments in the playoffs.
Just kidding, of course he will.