This is it ladies and gentlemen. We’ve finally arrived at the time where good players become great, and superstars cement their claims come clutch time. We’re at the point where every moment of every game is played with the that win or go home ferocity we so crave. This is NBA postseason basketball; the biggest stage for for the best of the best to collide.
Game 1 – 4/15 – 4/16:
Let’s be honest here, the Grizzlies don’t stand a fighting chance in this series, and the Spurs will use this in preparation for their MO, to take down Golden State. Kawhi came out and did what he does best, matching his postseason career high of 32 points probably without even the slightest smile or emotional expression in the process. For Memphis, you gotta shoutout Chandler Parsons’ scamming prowess as he’s collecting superstar checks while not even suiting up for the game. When Wayne Selden and a 40 something year old Vincanity are able to take your spot on the wing, you gotta look in the mirror beyond those lady killer looks and realize you might just be ass at ball man. It’s gonna take some heroics out of team leaders Conley and Gasol to make this series remotely interesting, but even that’s asking a bit much.
Series Prediction: Spurs work out the kinks for the long haul, 4 – 0
Ahhh yes, the time is finally here! The annual round table discussion of whether the Clippers should blow it up yet or suffer eternally comes a bit earlier than expected, but is always a pleasure. What can you say about this team that hasn’t already been discussed? Is CP3 too old to win? Is Blake the odd man out? Can Deandre just learn how to make a fucking free throw for a change? Years ago, if you would’ve told me that a team comprised of an all time great point guard accompanied with two Uber athletic, All Star bigs, a perrenial 6th man of the year candidate and a top tier sharpshooter couldn’t get you a title (let alone a single fucking Finals appearance), I’d say you’re crazy. Now, here we are with a Clippers team that’s the equivalent of an old dog that doesn’t care for learning new tricks. It doesn’t help that Paul looks like a madman out there in stretches, single handedly willing his team along with frustrating results. Hats off to the Utah Jazz coming out on top even with the immediate loss of front court anchor, Rudy Gobert, due to an injury just seconds into gameplay. Look for Derrick Favors to step his game up in his absence, now being the only serviceable option down low. Also, gotta love Big Time Joe coming in the clutch with the game winning drive in the closing seconds. Raise your hand if you even cared to know Joe Johnson was a member of the Jazz this season (I know half of y’all casuals didn’t have a damn clue until Saturday night).
Series Prediction: Jazz cause Balmer and co. to finally hit the reset button, 4-2
For the past couple of years now, the Blazers have had a chip on their shoulder when it comes to playing in the Bay Area. Damian “I no baby Curry, I fucking man” Lillard and 3J McCollum have formed their own splash brothers duo rivaling that of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, but its gonna take more than that to beat a juggernaut like the Warriors. The pair came out on fire, combining for 48 first half points on 17 of 26 shooting. They’d wrap up with amazing individual performances, with Lillard going for 34 points and McCollum going off for 41 himself. The problem here is that the buck kinda stops there, as Portland’s highly paid rotation hasn’t provided the intended results for most of the season. Evan Turner, Allen Crabbe and Meyers Leonard are all getting big time money as a result of the league wide spike in salary cap space, but the return on investment has been minimal (15 points combined in Game 1). The Blazers desperately need a healthy Jusuf Nurkic to return to the lineup in order to give them a better look down in the post, where Golden State’s weaker points can be exploited. For the Warriors, this game seemed like par of the course. Kevin Durant (32/2/11) and Steph Curry (29/4/5) led the way, but the real player of the game was none other than Draymond Green. Green was a jack of all trades, with a near triple double/five by five statline of 19 points, 12 boards, 9 assists, 5 blocks and 3 steals! For all of the hate Green has garnered for his nut kicking antics, you gotta respect the sheer heart that he plays with on a night in, night out basis.
Series Prediction: GSW makes slight work of Rip City, 4 – 1
The matchup many of us wanted to see ended up in a massive blowout, and just a poor overall showing from the Thunder squad. Westbrook exhibited the type of play that had Kevin Durant running for the hills last year, with an atrocious 6 of 23 shooting, 9 turnover outing. Don’t let the near triple double deter you from realizing just how over the top, and out of control Russ played in Game 1. Additionally, Patrick Beverly was able to pester his way into not only being a thorn in Westbrook’s side on D, but made himself an offensive threat in the process with 18/3/10 on the night. Harden made his presence felt with 37 points and 9 assists. With all honestly, the Thunder don’t stand too much of a chance. There’s just too much firepower at Houston’s disposal, and even Russ playing his best basketball can only do so much. It’s still a team game and the Thunder are simply a sweep bound squad masked by the phenomenal efforts of a superstar player.
Series Prediction: Houston sends OKC fishing, 4 – 1