New Orleans Pelicans (8) vs. Golden State Warriors (1):
The Golden State Warriors posted one of the best records in NBA history this season. The Warriors are incredible because their backcourt is the best shooting backcourt in NBA history. The Splash Bros are legitimate threats to win the championship because they have great role players, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, and Andrew Bogut.
The Pelicans are happy to make the playoffs and so are many new NBA fans. Finally, the average fan will be able to see Anthony Davis play on national TV. Davis has transformed himself into one of the five best players in the league and will be the best player in a few years.
Predictions: Warriors win in 5
Dallas Mavericks (7) vs. Houston Rockets (2):
Many prognosticators do not believe in the Rockets because they do not think that Howard is a star and they do not believe in their roles players. However, they won 56 games and James Harden is one of the three best players in the league. Howard and Josh Smith will need to play at a high level if they are going to make a deep run into the playoffs.
Many teams are picking the Mavs to win this series because of Rick Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tyson Chandler. However, since the Rondo deal, the Mavs have not been a quality team. In addition, they need to make a lot of jumpers in order to stay competitive with the Rockets. It will be interesting to see who Carlisle will put on Harden because they do not have a defense stopper.
Prediction: Rockets win in 7
San Antonio Spurs (6) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (3):
The Clippers have been one of the most consistent teams in the Western Conference since Paul arrived in Tinseltown. Chris Paul needs to win this series. He has been touted as one of the best players in the NBA this generation, but he has yet to reach a Final. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan need to play at an incredibly high level to defeat the defending champs.
The Spurs wanted to have home court advantage, but they are right where they want to be since every player on their team is healthy. In addition, they are playing their best basketball and Kawhi Leonard is playing the best basketball of his career, including last seasons Finals. The Spurs will not lose any series, which puts incredible pressure on their opponents.
Prediction: Spurs win in 6
Memphis Grizzlies (5) vs. Portland Trailblazers (4):
The Trailblazers have been a quality team throughout the season, but they are dealing with a lot of injuries, Nicolas Batum and Wes Matthews. The Trailblazers need LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard to play at a very high level to carry Portland on offense.
The Grizzlies have quietly experienced a lot of success in the playoffs over the past 5 years. The Griz have been successful due to their size inside with Gasol and Randolph. The Griz may have a difficult time scoring, but they will play great defense and it will be difficult to win in the Grindhouse. The deciding factor will be the health of Mike Conley.
Prediction: Grizzles win in 6