05 May 2014

2014 NBA Playoffs: Conference Semifinals Predictions

I hope you enjoyed the opening round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs as it was one of the best in the history of the Association. Five series went to a game seven, which ties a playoff record for total game sevens, and that was only one round! There was only one sweep and a great number of overtimes. Can the conference semifinals be even better somehow? Here are my predictions.

TV Schedule

Indiana Pacers vs. 5 Washington Wizards
Yes, the Pacers appeared to finally find their game in game seven against the Hawks, and yes Roy Hibbert finally stopped looking like a tree on the court and did some work. But should we really be impressed by them finally having an impressive win against the Hawks? And especially considering it took them seven games to do it? I'm not buying it. Indiana struggled all series to guard Jeff Teague so I expect them to struggle guarding John Wall. Brad Beal was tremendous in the first round as was Wall and if Nene and Marcin Gortat get going, Washington can bang with the Pacers down low. Give me the Wizards.
Wizards in 6

Miami Heat vs. 6 Brooklyn Nets
Personally, I would not put that much stock in the Nets sweeping the Heat in their regular season matchups but I also do not think that it could be ignored. The Nets are a veteran club featuring a few guys that know how to get it done come playoff time (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett) and have a number of the long wing guys that can give LeBron James fits. But let's get real here. First off, those four wins were all very close so there was not much if any advantage. Second, Miami has LeBron James. 
Heat in 5

San Antonio Spurs vs. 5 Portland Trail Blazers
You want offense? This should be a fun series. Now if the Trail Blazers get 55 a game from LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, they will be damn tough to stop no matter who they play. However, you do have to be concerned with their defense, which allowed the most points per possession of any team that moved on. I have more confidence in the Spurs getting the defensive stops they need than I do in the Blazers, and with how awesome the Spurs looked offensively against the Mavericks in game seven, I think they will be able to get it done once again when it counts. 
Spurs in 6

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 3 Los Angeles Clippers
Both of these teams fought through tough seven games series, and one that was particularly emotional for the Clippers. However, I think this is a scenario that is more favorable for the Thunder than was their opening series against the Grizzlies, which I correctly predicted would go the full seven. While Memphis forced OKC to slow the game down and grind it out physically, the Clippers want to run up and down, which is a style more for the Thunder's choosing. That should benefit the Thunder. Also, OKC is one of the rare teams that have a guy that can match up physically with Blake Griffin in Serge Ibaka. Therefore, I like the Thunder to advance.
Thunder in 5


  1. I agree the Wizards and Spurs will win in 6, but the Thunder have been less than impressive these playoffs, and the Clippers have all the momentum in the world. The Clippers, after taking Game 1, will win at least 2 games at home in this series. I believe Clippers/ Thunder goes 7. I lean toward OKC at home in teh 7th game, but I wouldn't be shocked if it is the Clippers advancing out of this series. OKC is going to have to win Game 6 in LA to have a shot, as I believe they will be down 3-1 when they head back to OKC for Game 5.

    And then I go to the Heat/ Nets series. The Nets are the one team that has had success against the Heat, as indicative of their 4-0 record against the Heat in the regular season. The Nets will win both games at home in 3 and 4. My only question is will the home team win all of them? I have down the Heat in 6, as they pull off a 2 or 3 point win on the road in Game 6, but i wouldn't be surprised to see it go 7.

    Out of the 1st round, I was 7-1 in straight up picks, and in picking the number of games I was 6-2. Only the Mavs/ Spurs (which I had going 6) and Wizards/ Bulls (where I had the Bulls winning in 6) proved to be incorrect.

    1. Yes the Clippers won game 1, but how do they have more momentum than the Thunder? OKC won Games 6 & 7 impressively while the Clippers lost Game 6 with a chance to clinch. And as I said, Memphis was a unique matchup that was going to give OKC trouble, while the Clips play into their strength.

    2. You and I are just going to disagree here. Yes, the Clippers had a chance to win Game 6, on the road, in Oakland. They weren't the home team. You do realize that only 36% of the teams win a series on the road in game 6 if it goes to 6, and you're discrediting them because they lost game 6 on the ROAD? The Warriors were the one team that has consistently had success over the Clippers the past two seasons. Just as the Mavs were a bad match-up for the Spurs and the Grizzlies were for the Thunder, the Warriors were that for the Clippers. Do you really believe the Grizzlies would have beaten the Warriors, because that is what you're saying with the disrespect you're giving the Clippers beause the Warriors forced them to 7 games. The Clippers played closer games against the Warriors than the Thunder did against the Grizzlies with the same time of disadvatage.

      And I have to disagree with you in saying that the Clippers don't provide the same type of matchup problems as the Grizz did. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan provide the same type of problems that the Grizz gave the Thunder on the inside. That has always been the key to beating the Thunder. If you can make them shoot the outside shots, they tend to struggle a lot more. The Grizz did that successfully, and with their size on the inside so will the Clippers.

    3. That's not true about Griffin and Jordan, they are not the pure back to the basket players that Randolph and Gasol are. Jordan really isn't that much of an offensive threat and while Griffin obviously is and is a better player than Zeebo, he is not always playing with his back to the basket and is often facing the basket on pick and rolls with Paul. The Clippers simply don't play the grinding offensive style that the Grizzlies do and playing up-tempo is exactly what the Thunder want to do. And the Clippers don't have the player that can guard Kevin Durant like Tony Allen can.

      And you're misstating what I said, I said that the Thunder looked more impressive in games 6 and 7 than the Clippers were. You note the stat of how many teams win Game 6 on the road, which I don't know where you go that from, and you fail to mention that the Thunder WON Game 6 on the road, and i wasn't close. Last time I checked, a win is more impressive than a loss, particularly on the road. And saying that the Clippers played closer games isn't all that true either, OKC played in four straight overtime games with Memphis.

      I don't get the point you're making about if I would have picked Memphis over Golden State, and it isn't relevant here. And I probably would have taken Memphis because they could taken greater advantage of the Warriors' lack of Bogut and depth inside than the Clippers did, which also speaks to how the Grizzlies are more of a post team than the Clippers are.