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NBA Playoff Predictions

Jarret Bailey, Sports Writer

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Basketball playoffs are finally among us. Everything that occurred in the first 82 games is now in the rear view mirror. For the remaining 16 teams in the NBA, the real season has begun. Although each team in the playoffs has earned it, the real contenders will make themselves known through big plays and series takeovers. Playoff basketball on the hardwood is here, and it’s time for some predictions.

In the East, I think that just the top three seeds in the East are the real contenders in the conference. Those three teams are the Hawks, Cavaliers, and Bulls. The hawks proved to the world that they are a force to be reckon with by earning the top seed in the East and finishing with the NBA’s second best record(60-22). We all know about the Cavs this season; the return of Lebron James and the trade that brought Kevin Love to join Kyree Irving to create another Big 3. The Cavs earned the number two seed with a 53-29 record. Now, with that said, I think I like the Bulls to take the East.

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a bulls fan, so I guess you can say that I’m a little bias, but at the same time, the Bulls may be the best team in the East right now. They have the best back-court combo in Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah. Pau lead the league in double doubles with 54 and Noah is a huge energy guy and averaged nearly 10 rebounds per game. Derrick Rose is back and showing shades of his old MVP self, which is great news, not only for Bulls fans, but for the entire NBA (unless your facing the Bulls). All of these things are great, and when all is combed with breakout All Star Jimmy Butler, and one of the best group of bench performers in the NBA, the Bulls are absolutely deadly, and I like them to come out of the East.

In the West, I think it’s going to be a Western Conference Final between the two top MVP Candidates with Steph Curry leading the Warriors and James Harden at the helm for the Rockets. The Warriors finished the regular season with the league’s best record (67-15) and it came from an incredible group performance. Looking at the Warriors roster, it is totally stacked with game-changing talent. Steph has lead this team and is my choice for MVP this season. His Splash Brother in the backcourt Klay Thompson had an incredible year as well, shooting 44% from beyond the arc and averaging nearly 22 points per game. Then you look at the frontcourt duo of David Lee and Andrew Bogut who put up complementary numbers to help carry the team, along with Harrison Barnes playing the 3 spot who averaged 10 points per game. This team is poised to make it to the NBA Finals, and they’re my pick to beat the Rockets in 7 games in the Western Finals. Although I love James Harden and Dwight Howard, the Warriors just have a deeper team in terms of depth, which will determine the outcome in the end.

So, I’ve got Bulls vs. Warriors in the Finals. If my predictions are correct, the series could go multiple ways and I could see either team winning it. In the end, as much as I hate to say it, I think the Warriors would take the championship in 7 games. It’s a matchup of possibly the two teams with the most depth in the NBA, but the Warriors have two of the best shooters in the game and I think that will be the determining factor in the end.

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