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The Road to June: Western Conference First Round - Pinwheel Empire
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The Road to June: Western Conference First Round

submitted 5 years ago by in NBA

This is our preview of the western conference opening round.  Read it and tell us what you think. 

#1 Oklahoma City vs. #8 Houston

Series Headline: OKC Looks to Sweep Aside Rockets as They Aim for Finals Return

Series Begins: Sunday

Season Series:  OKC Won 2-1

OKC Last Season: Western Conference Champions

OKC’s Biggest Edge: The one-two punch of Durant and Westbrook on offense, the firepower of Martin off the bench and Ibaka’s presence inside on defense are ample reason to believe OKC can beat anyone any night.

Houston Last Season: Missed Playoffs

Houston’s Biggest Edge: When Harden gets going, watch out, he can pile up points in a big hurry.

OKC wins if: They make players not named James Harden beat them.

Houston wins if: Harden gets and stays hot the entire series and they get enough from Lin and Parsons to compliment him. 

Upset Chance: 25%

The Pick: OKC in 5, Houston will win one because Harden will get really hot one night but that’s all for the Rockets.

 

#4 LA Clippers vs. #5 Memphis

Series Headline: Clippers and Grizzlies Meet for the Second Straight Playoffs in a Battle of Contrasting Styles  

Series Begins: Saturday

Season Series: Clippers won 3-1

LA Clippers Last Season: Lost in the Second Round

LA Clipper’s Biggest Edge: Griffin might provide highlights but it is CP3 that will determine how far the Clippers go, when he’s on he is the best PG in the NBA. 

Memphis Last Season: Lost in the First Round

Memphis’s Biggest Edge: When Memphis is playing their best, they force turnovers and convert them into easy baskets, frustrating you and taking you out of your rhythm.

LA Clippers win if: They score at or close to 100 points a game, this is a series that will likely be decided on which team’s pace prevails.  The Clippers want a faster paced higher scoring game.

Memphis wins if: They hold the Clippers under 90 game, Memphis loves ugly, slug ‘em out games and they need to play that way to win this series.

Upset Chance: 45%

The Pick: Clippers in 7, it’ll be close but the result will be the same as last year with the Clippers moving on.

 

 #3 Denver vs. #6 Golden State

Series Headline: Wounded Nuggets Look to Ride Home Court Advantage to Series Win Over Warriors

Series Begins: Saturday

Season Series: Denver won 3-1

Denver Last Season: Lost in the First Round

Denver’s Biggest Edge: The Nuggets beat you not with one player, but with many and even with their injuries, they can be counted on to rely on many different players to carry the load each night.  Oh and they haven’t lost at home since January 18.

Golden State Last Season: Missed Playoffs

Golden State’s Biggest Edge: When Curry and Klay Thompson are feeling it, they bury threes at a rate that almost no team, save Houston, can hope to match.

Denver wins if: They make someone besides Curry beat them, Klay Thompson and David Lee are good and all but if they can limit Curry, they stand a great chance of winning.

Golden State wins if: They can somehow steal a game in Denver, if they can steal one of the first two on the road, Golden State has a chance.

Upset Chance: 30%

The Pick: Nuggets in 5, they are still the better team and although this will be a fun series, it won’t be a long one.

 

#2 San Antonio vs. #7 LA Lakers

Series Headline: Spurs Look to Derail Kobe-Less Lakers Title Hopes

Series Begins: Sunday

Season Series: San Antonio won 2-1

San Antonio Last Season: Lost in the Western Conference Finals

San Antonio’s Biggest Edge:  Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the NBA today and he always has his team in the best position to win, oh and there is this future hall of famer named Tim Duncan who is playing like he’s a much younger player to boot.

LA Lakers Last Season: Lost in the Second Round

LA Laker’s Biggest Edge: If Dwight Howard is playing as he has in the past, he is the one player the Spurs don’t have a prayer of stopping on defense.

San Antonio wins if: They take advantage of LA’s weak D and simply outscore them.  The Lakers suck on defense this season and if the Spurs can make them pay for that, they should win.

LA Lakers win if: Pau and Dwight dominate inside and Steve Nash plays his best, without Kobe the Lakers have to ride every possible advantage they have and those three are it.

Upset Chance: 35%

The Pick: Spurs in 5, could the Lakers beat the Spurs?  Sure they could.  Will they without Kobe?  Nope.

2 comments

skywaker9 (David) is a Portland native and passionate Blazers fan. He currently works as a University fiscal analyst for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. He also has a PhD in Public Affairs and Policy at Portland State University. David is a former political activist who chose to focus on sports because they made him happy. He primarily writes previews for PWE and one of his primary goals is to inform Blazer fans everywhere about those players on other teams they may not have heard of but should (such as Nikola Vucevic).