Hello everyone, it’s the best time of the year…NBA Christmas…the playoffs are here. Some of you, if not most of you haven’t paid attention to the NBA season other than the beginning, (actual) Christmas, and little 10 second clips of dunks from Russell Westbrook. But don’t worry! I’ve got a series-by-series preview for the first round of the playoffs that start today…enjoy!

nbabracket

WESTERN CONFERENCE

#1 Golden State Warriors (67-15) vs #8 Portland Trailblazers (41-41)
What’s at Stake: The Warriors are trying to get back to the Finals after their EMBARRASSING defeat in last year’s Finals losing after being up 3-1 on the Cleveland LeBrons. They seem to have a somewhat easy first round matchup against the Blazers but Damian Lillard claims the Blazers can win in 6 games.
Most Important Player: Kevin Durant. He came back from his injury only a week ago and is starting his first playoffs with his former rivals. Before his injury he was the best player on the team, even better than Curry, and it’ll be interesting to see if he resumes the play when the playoffs kick off.
Guaranteed Prediction you can Take to Vegas: Warriors in 6

#4 Los Angeles Clippers (51-31) vs #5 Utah Jazz (51-31)
What’s at Stake: Whether they win or lose this series, the Jazz seem to be primed for a promising future with the surprisingly All-Star play from Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert. With that being said, Clippers are facing a possible complete team shake-up with rumors of head coach Doc Rivers being fired if Clippers face another early round exit in these playoffs.
Most Important Player: Chris Paul. There’s a few players I could use here. But Chris Paul has NEVER been to a Conference Final. Not that he has a good chance this year with a possible second round Warriors matchup, but a first round exit would be another negative on a career full of bad playoff moments.
Guaranteed Prediction you can Take to Vegas: Jazz in 7 (I want to watch the Clippers BURN)

#3 Houston Rockets (55-27) vs #6 Oklahoma City Thunder (47-35)
What’s at Stake: The top two MVP candidates face off in most likely the most exciting first round matchup. Rockets are definitely favored, being the better all around team, but it’d be so DAMN FUN if Russell scored 50 ppg and won the series.
Most Important Player: The MVP Russell Westbrook
Guaranteed Prediction you can Take to Vegas: Rockets in 6 😦

#2 San Antonio Spurs (61-21) vs #7 Memphis Grizzlies (43-39)
What’s at Stake: This series will probably be the most boring being FULL of defense. It looks like an easy win for the Spurs on paper but they split the season series 2-2. Grizzlies are the most GRIT NBA team of all-time with the Spurs being second so this series might get sloppy.
Most Important Player: Kawhi Leonard. It’s his first season being the outright leader of the Spurs so it’ll be interesting to see how far they get in the competitive West.
Guaranteed Prediction you can Take to Vegas: Spurs in 5. Season series aside I think Spurs will win pretty easy.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

#1 Boston Celtics (53-29) vs #8 Chicago Bulls (41-41)
What’s at Stake: It’s weird saying the Celtics are the number 1 seed instead of the Cavs, but here we are. It’s even weirder that the goddamn Bulls are in the playoffs. If this isn’t an argument to lower the number of teams in the playoffs then I don’t know what is. Bulls suck but you can still feel a weird spurt of good basketball coming out of them for this series.
Most Important Player: Jimmy Butler. I want to say Isaiah Thomas but I want to see Jimmy Buckets go off and win some games.
Guaranteed Prediction you can Take to Vegas: Celtics in 7. Bulls will weirdly make it hard on them and I think the Celtics will be down early in the series but then come back.

#4 Washington Wizards (49-33) vs #5 Atlanta Hawks (43-39)
What’s at Stake: There’s a huge drop off in talent after the top 4 seeds in the East, making this matchup pretty lopsided for a 4 vs 5. John Wall has played amazing basketball all season and Wizards seem ready for an easy first round series and a possible conference finals appearance.
Most Important Player: Bradley Beal. John Wall will show up, and if Bradley Beal contributes 20-25 ppg, the Wizards will win soundly.
Guaranteed Prediction you can Take to Vegas: Wizards in 5

#3 Toronto Raptors (51-31) vs #6 Milwaukee Bucks (42-40)
What’s at Stake: The Raptors are starting to get a reputation of being amazing in the regular season and following it with embarrassing playoff exits (that’ll happen when you play in LeBron’s conference, I guess). They didn’t catch any breaks with the Cavs looming in the second round due to being the 2 seed. But they have added Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline and Kyle Lowry is back from his injury and playing at a high level alongside DeMar DeRozan. They’re my sleeper for a possible Finals appearance.
Most Important Player: Giannis Anteogjnbgsdngnd. Okay it’s Antetokounmpo but I’m not going to act like I didn’t have to copy and paste that. I still don’t know how to say it so his nickname “The Greek Freak” will do for me. He’s probably the most beloved player in the NBA right now behind Russell Westbrook so it’ll be exciting to watch his first playoff series.
Guaranteed Prediction you can Take to Vegas: Raptors in 6

#2 Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31) vs #7 Indiana Pacers (42-40)
What’s at Stake: Obviously LeBron’s legacy. He’s looking for his 7th straight Finals appearance (easy when you play in a trash conference for this long) and his 4th championship. We’re all also looking forward to a possible Warriors vs Cavs Round 3 with each team looking fully healthy.
Most Important Player: Lance Motherfuckin’ Stephenson (okay it’s LeBron but). We need one more moment like this.
lance
Guaranteed Prediction you can Take to Vegas: Cavaliers in 5. Pacers suck.

PREDICTIONS FOR THE REST OF THE PLAYOFFS

Warriors and Rockets Western Conference Finals with Warriors winning
Raptors UPSET Cavs to break LeBron’s streak* creating a Raptors and Wizards (upset Celtics) Eastern Conference finals with Raptors winning
Warriors in 5 in Finals

*I’m not sure if I actually believe this or if I just think the Raptors are second best team in East behind Cavs and I want LeBron to lose

HAPPY PLAYOFFS EVERYONE!