NBA Postseason Predictions: Conference Finals
It is time for the conference finals and four teams will face off for the right to meet in the NBA Finals. I went 3-1 in the last round of playoff action, making my total record 8-4. In the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers made easy work of the Hawks and the Raptors knocked off Miami in Game 7 of their series. While the over in the West, the Warriors do what they have done all year and ended the Blazers season. And the Oklahoma City Thunder buckled down and eliminated the great San Antonio Spurs. Now, it’s time for these four teams to leave it all on the court and make one final run for a championship.
#1 Golden State Warriors
#3 Oklahoma City Thunder
The Warriors began their series with the Portland Trail Blazers with MVP Steph Curry on the bench. And it showed as the Blazers pushed Golden State as far as they could. But, outside of one game, the Warriors did what they had to and advanced in five games. With great performances from Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors put the Blazers Cinderella season on ice. And with Curry returning in Game 5 and looking as good as always, the Warriors are now as confident as ever as the matchup with OKC looms.
The Thunder beat the Spurs 4-2 in their series and shocked a lot of people as they dominated the end of that series. The Thunder was a team that had issues closing out games in the regular season, but seemingly changed that in this series. And if they are going to have a chance to beat the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, they will need the same great play from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. But maybe more importantly will be the contribution the Thunder can get from Steven Adams, Dion Waiters, and other role players. I can’t imagine that the Thunder will get what they need to knock off the Warriors however. But if their matchups in the regular season are any indication, we the fans are in for a treat!
Winners: Golden State Warriors
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers
#2 Toronto Raptors
The Cleveland Cavaliers swept past the Atlanta Hawks in the last round and have been resting and waiting for either the Raptors or the Heat. They breezed through the Hawks and this extra rest is just another positive on their side. The Cavs are on a mission that began when they lost the NBA Finals last year and have been near perfect in the postseason. James, Irving, Love, and company feel that they can win it all and be the team that brings a championship to Cleveland. And the only thing left in their way back to the NBA Finals is the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors had a complete opposite series from the Cavs as they had to battle the Miami Heat through seven games to finally put an end to that series. And while I am sure that Raptor fans are happy to be making their first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, I am sure they wish the circumstances were different. While the Cavaliers haven’t played since Sunday, May 8, the Raptors just closed out their series with Miami today, May 15, and will have to turn around and play Game 1 with the Cavs on Tuesday. It is like they literally playing a regular season schedule with very little rest. And with stars Lowry and DeRozan struggling mightily, rest is something the Raptors could have used. However, it is not a possibility and that makes me think the Cavaliers will roll through them pretty easily on their way to the NBA Finals.
Winners: Cleveland Cavaliers
Daryl Karpinski, Jr.