Spurs vs. Mavs
Didn't the Mavs win a championship a couple of years ago? Now they barely make it into the 8th spot. Crazy. That's how it goes in the West. I don't understand how the Spurs keep on doing it, but every year they're in it to win it. I don't see them having much of a problem with the Mavs, it might go 5, but more likely will end in a clean sweep.
Rockets vs. Blazers
Ok, this one is interesting. Blazers started out hot but faded, and the Rockets have been resting Dwight Howard for a playoff run. I was at the game when they destroyed the Lakers the other week and I was really impressed. Harden just kills you with that step-back, and I was impressed with Chandler Parsons, he made a lot of drives to the basket when I thought he was just going to shoot it (maybe it was just the Lakers defense). They're also pretty loaded, Lin, Beverley (if he can play), and if Howard can't go, they've got Osik, who was a beast when he was starting. Too bad they can't figure out how to play together. The guy that really impressed me was Terrence Jones. He was flying all over the place and was making a lot of smart plays. He matches up against Aldridge and that's going to be the matchup to watch. I want to see what Lillard does, but in the end, I think Harden will take over and just kill them with that step-back jumper. Rockets in 6.
Clippers vs. Warriors
These teams DO NOT like each other. Expect a lot of shenanigans. Clippers love to give away points with dumb fouls and technicals (Blake Griffin tied with Demarcus Cousins for the league lead and had to sit out a game). The Warriors are very dangerous; that backcourt can get hot and destroy you, but I think it's going to come down to their front court. What are Andrew Bogut and David Lee going to give them? Both have injuries so that will be the big question. I'm looking forward to this series, and I'm rooting for the Clippers. I think they'll win in 6.
Thunder vs. Grizzlies
I love the Grizzlies, they are just fun to root for. They work hard to grind out postseason wins. The good thing for the Thunder is, this year, they will hopefully have Westbrook the entire time, and don't have to worry about when to sit him back-to-back games. So the odds are stacked against the Grizz, but the Thunder aren't perfect and have stumbled in the last couple of postseasons. I would love an upset, but unless Westbrook gets injured and can't play, it's the Thunder in a grueling 6 games (I seem to have most these going 6 games).
I don't care how badly the Pacers played to end the season, the East is so bad at the bottom, this will be a cake walk. The Hawks will do their best to win one game but will fail.
Bulls vs. Wizards
I'm actually looking forward to this one. The scrappy Bulls against the up-and-coming Wiz. I haven't watched a lot of Wizards games, so I really want to see how they do. I know the Bulls are battle-tested but there's something about the Wiz that I like. The Bulls struggle on offense and don't have a guy to close out games, so I think they lose a couple of close games in this series. The Wiz in 5.
Raptors vs. Nets
Look, I'm gonna be honest with you, sometimes I forget that the Raptors are a real NBA team. I haven't watched even one of their games this year. I know about Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, but outside of that, I have no idea how they got a 3 seed. Seriously, the East blows. This is a division matchup and they split their season series, but the Nets finished just 4 games behind the Raptors, so this is a lot closer than the 3-6 matchup that it is. The Nets are built for the postseason it will be shock and awe when Kevin Garnett ratchets up the cussing and trash talk to playoff levels. If I was Dwane Casey, I would have my assistants just scream and curse at guys during practice to get them used to it. It won't be enough and the Nets win in 5.
Heat vs. Bobcats
The Bobcats FINALLY get into the playoffs (for the 2nd time)! YAY! But they have to play the Heat. NO! They should have just tanked for another lottery pick because they're going to be stuck in this position for awhile. If this series goes 5 games, I will be shocked.
Rockets over Spurs (because I don't want a repeat of last year's Finals)
Clippers over Thunder
Pacers over Wizards
Heat over Nets
Rockets over Clippers
Heat over Pacers
Heat over Rockets