cameroncrazies02
Getting a late start on this, so it's cheating a little, but nothing tonight changed any of my picks.

EAST-

1ST ROUND-
1-Raptors v 8-Wizards-Raptors in 5

A talented couple of teams match up with fire power, veteran players, but the Wizards inexplicably are limping into the playoffs.  They're almost the same team as years past that have been the 5/6 seed with better records.  But they're a mess.  John Wall is way too much alpha-dog, by proof that the Wiz when Wall was injured were a much better, more efficient team.  Raps are tough all the way around including their bench.  Wiz go a few deep with Satoransky, Scott and Oubre, but Scott Brooks is so rigid in his lineups (PG's always sub for PG's, SF's always sub for SF's) there's so little creativity to take advantage of the team's athleticism.

2-Celtics v 7-Bucks-Celtics in 6

All the talent in the world and this comes down to one thing-coaching.  Brad Stevens is 100x the coach Joe Prunty is and he'll take advantage of the Bucks at every step.  The Bucks will steal a few, but the dysfunction in the lineups and on both ends of the court will be destroyed by Stevens.  There's nowhere on the court the Celtics have a real advantage except for Horford, who in my opinion, is a bit overrated, yet they'll still play a better brand of team defense.  The one upside the Bucks have is the Celtics shut down perimeter shooting but give way on the interior.  If they can get guys going inside, they can surprise some people.

3-76ers v 6-Heat-76ers in 5

I'm giving the Heat one game as a gift.  I don't even know they'll win one.  But if they do, it's because the right guys will get hot, the Sixers will turn the ball over a lot and they'll steal one.  Miami is a tough place to play and the 76ers are a young playoff team.  

4-Cavaliers v 5 Pacers-Cavs in 6

This will be an ultra competitive matchup that ultimately the Cavs will have no answer for Lebron in.  He's on another level.  I'm not even sure the Pacers get this to 6.  The Pacers have no one to guard Lebron outside Stephenson and him on the court for extended run is not good for the Pacers as a whole.  They're a good young team, they're up and coming with a lot of cap space and they'll challenge the Cavs in a fun series, but they won't have enough to truly challenge them.

CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS-
1-Raptors v 4 Cavaliers-Cavs in 7

I'd like to see this go 7 which is why I have it going that way.  Both teams bench are incredible in their abilities and it'll be a show down of stars.  But the Raptors stars (Lowry and Derozan) don't show up in big games.  Valanciunas has been mammoth for them and will cause problems for the Cavs, but they'll be able to run him off the court defensively.

2-Celtics v 3 76ers-76ers in 4

If the Celts get past the Bucks, they'll have the super-Bucks waiting for them.  The 76ers are way too good at every end of the court to give the Celtics any chance.  This would be a clean sweep and a good rest period for the 76ers before a match up against Cleveland.

CONFERENCE FINALS-
3-76ers v 4-Cavaliers-Cavs in 6

What will hurt the 76ers the most is they're prone to fouling and turning the ball over.  They won't face a matchup that exposes those two weaknesses until here.  I'm not even sure it goes 6, but would be fun to watch.  Lebron is just too good and the 76ers don't have clutch scoring to match up.  End of game scenarios where teams are battling basket for basket, passing it around for an open shot isn't quite the NBA theme.  The 76ers have been breaking that theme lately, but it's been against bad teams.  They'll have faced a barely passable playoff team in MIA and a depleted Boston before getting a full strength Lebron.  That's a big leap and one they won't be able to handle.

WEST-

1ST ROUND-
1-Rockets v 8-Timberwolves-Rockets in 4

This team is just too good.  Not only do they pass the ball around better than anyone with guys making shots, they have the elite stardom to dominate.  Jimmy Butler will make the Rockets work, as will KAT, but they don't have interior defense to match up against Harden and Paul.

2-Warriors v 7-Spurs-Warriors in 5

The Spurs are just too dysfunctional.  It'll be a sad day to see them taken down with such ease, even with Curry out and it may spell a Spurs re-build if the Kawhi situation doesn't sort itself out cleanly.  

3-Trailblazers v 6-Pelicans-Blazers in 6

There's so much firepower on the Blazers, it doesn't matter if Anthony Davis puts up his massive stat line.  Without Boogie or a deeper bench, the Pelicans are doomed for a first round exit.  It's still a mighty accomplishment for a team playing barely 7 deep and now without Cousins to have made it to this point, but they got a bad matchup in the first round.

4-OKC Thunder v 5-Jazz-Jazz in 6

I want the Jazz to take this series so bad.  They play such a better brand of basketball than the Thunder, but I fear what kind of havoc Westbrook and George can have against this team.  Nonetheless, if there's one team and coach that can destroy the Thunder's horrendous perimeter defense, it's the Jazz.  Gobert is going to be a force against them and the matchup of Gobert v Adams might cripple the earth.

CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS-
1-Rockets v 5-Jazz-Rockets in 5

It's a bad beat the Jazz got here.  I was close to being generous and giving them 6, but the Rockets are too cohesive.  The Jazz, at full strength, are a phenomenal defensive team, but they won't have the firepower to match.

2-Warriors v 3-Trailblazers-Warriors in 6

This will fully come down to the health of the Warriors.  If they're back at near full strength, they should take down the Blazers.  They're going to play Nurkic right off the court and the Blazers tend to live or die by him.  This series will break scoreboards.

CONFERENCE FINALS-
1-Rockets v 2-Warriors-Warriors in 7

If the 2/3 matchup doesn't break scoreboards, this one certainly will.  Every matchup-Paul v Curry, Harden v everybody, Durant v the field, D'Antoni v Kerr...it's all so good and I will watch every second of it.  Again, if the Warriors are back at full strength, I think they can take them.  The Rockets don't have enough to matchup on Durant.

NBA FINALS-

Warriors v Cavaliers-Cavaliers in 7

These last two are so tough.  If the Warriors had gotten here, it will be a hell of a ride especially with guys riding out injuries.  The Warriors are so good, but so are Lebron and Love.  Lebron also has a much more defensive-oriented team this time around.  Chapter 3 will be a riot.  I'm rooting for Lebron to take them down again.
Twitter: @TheSpangover

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wiscopetty
Simply amazing effort by LeBron to drag a team of stiffs across the line and into the Finals once again.
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wiscopetty
Warriors in 5. Boring.
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safetysqueezepleezzee11
wiscopetty wrote:
Warriors in 5. Boring.
          It was very boring watching Houston continue to chuck 3 point shots up, even though they were missing almost all of them.  I would think NBA players and coaches would be a bit more able to adjust/change game plans when just chucking up 3 point shots doesn't work. Houston didn't even really try to run plays for 75% of their possessions.  I think they went 7 for 44. We think the Badgers are bad at times with the 3 point shot. The NBA takes it to another level. It is very hard to believe supposedly world class NBA players are so limited in what they can do on a basketball court. Houston gets down by 6 and instead of just trying to score points - they just start chucking and missing more 3 point shots. NBA coaches might be the most useless coaches of any sport.

I think 95% of the players are just there to collect some money. It comes out looking quite obvious. NBA is the most irrelevant of all of the major sports and just took another step down to enhance that image.
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wiscopetty
          It was very boring watching Houston continue to chuck 3 point shots up, even though they were missing almost all of them.  I would think NBA players and coaches would be a bit more able to adjust/change game plans when just chucking up 3 point shots doesn't work. Houston didn't even really try to run plays for 75% of their possessions.  I think they went 7 for 44. We think the Badgers are bad at times with the 3 point shot. The NBA takes it to another level. It is very hard to believe supposedly world class NBA players are so limited in what they can do on a basketball court. Houston gets down by 6 and instead of just trying to score points - they just start chucking and missing more 3 point shots. NBA coaches might be the most useless coaches of any sport.

I think 95% of the players are just there to collect some money. It comes out looking quite obvious. NBA is the most irrelevant of all of the major sports and just took another step down to enhance that image.

The first paragraph is fine.

The second paragraph – I have to believe you're joking.
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gstacy
Ref's call a good game? I saw people complaining about they want the series to go as many games as possible. don't know whether that is true. cannot prove it.
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safetysqueezepleezzee11
gstacy wrote:
Ref's call a good game? I saw people complaining about they want the series to go as many games as possible. don't know whether that is true. cannot prove it.
                 NBA basketball has regressed to the point that refs could call some kind of violation every 10 seconds(by rules) if they actually enforced all the present rules.  Not sure when the refs are calling a good game or not anymore.  The top guys get away with nearly everything. The 12th guy has a guy jump in front of him with a sure block and the ref calls charging on him - it has gotten to be a joke. 'Stars' not even getting touched get the benefit of a phantom call when they shoot and miss.  When the rules aren't enforced equally, you get a poor product to watch and that is what NBA basketball has devolved into. It isn't WWE wrestling YET, but I sometimes think it is going that way. I don't care what rules they want to use, but they need to be consistent with the rules they use. When so much depends on subjectivity and not objectivity, the entertainment level drops for many of us fans. There will always be subjectivity in ref-fing games, but there just seems to be no strict standards anymore.
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wiscopetty
gstacy wrote:
Ref's call a good game? I saw people complaining about they want the series to go as many games as possible. don't know whether that is true. cannot prove it.
This guy on Reddit put together a pretty comprehensive post, complete with clips, showing some of the questionable calls from last night.

I think a lot of the complaints stemmed from a particular stretch where the Rockets really got hammered a few times with no call.
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wiscopetty
J.R. Smith with the bonehead move of the season, dribbling the ball out as the clock expired in regulation because he thought the Cavs were ahead. They were not.

Honestly I think that may have cost Cleveland the series. You're not going to get 51 points from LeBron every night (at least I don't think) and they had a chance to steal a huge game on the road. It just feels like Golden State will be in command from here on out.
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gstacy
my guess before the finals started was 5 games, now it may be just 4.
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cameroncrazies02
That game was the best chance for CLE to put up a fighting chance.  GS wasn't pristine on offense, neither were the Cavs outside of Lebron, but you're not going to catch GS cold often.  Lebron put up a very efficient 51, 8 and 8 and he's not going to get that every game.  He had nothing working for him from his teammates-Clarkson was awful, JR Smith went iso-heavy at the worst times and Love was below average offensively.  

JR Smith is a complete bonehead.  From his early years in DEN, he's still showing the same lack of knowledge of the situation.  The only thing keeping him on the floor is his defense and the occasional night he'll get hot from 3, but it hasn't been seen for the last 10 games or since the Toroto series.  

As for the refs...it was bad.  The second half in particular and most notably, with under 8 minutes to go, CLE got really screwed.  I would argue though, that the block/charge was rather insignificant comparing to how the game ended.  They were up 2 with 36 seconds left.  If Durant gets called for the charge, CLE takes over up 2 and they had to score to make it difficult.  It wasn't impossible considering Lebron's dominance, but if they hadn't scored, GS would've had the ball down 2 with the last possession.  Instead, they get the ball tied with the final possession which is probably a better situation than what they would've had if the charge had been called.  Hill could've put them up with under 5 seconds to go, he misses the free throw, and the rest is history as far as the JR Smith sequence goes.  

I don't know how CLE comes back mentally into game 2.  If they don't win game 2, it's for sure over.  If they win, then they need to take 2 at home.  It's going to be interesting to see how Lebron plays it.  He's going to be a mix of aggressive and passive in the first 3 quarters as he was in game 1.  He saw his teammates were trash and took over.  Korver needs more PT and needs to get going.  But the difference in Korver and Smith's defense is pretty heavily leaning towards JR Smith, that's why he plays so much more.  It's impossible to keep Korver out there for long stretches chasing Klay off screens.
Twitter: @TheSpangover

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safetysqueezepleezzee11
wiscopetty wrote:
J.R. Smith with the bonehead move of the season, dribbling the ball out as the clock expired in regulation because he thought the Cavs were ahead. They were not.

Honestly I think that may have cost Cleveland the series. You're not going to get 51 points from LeBron every night (at least I don't think) and they had a chance to steal a huge game on the road. It just feels like Golden State will be in command from here on out.
             The play that JR Smith held the ball on didnt LOSE the game for Cleveland. It was a dumb thing to do, but the team still had a chance to win the game. If you honestly think that JR holding that ball lost the series for Cleveland, you just dont know much about basketball. ONE play in any sport almost never loses a game. It 'may' have prevented a possible win in regulation, but is just didnt LOSE the game. A team loses - one play doesnt lose a game or a series.  You seem to think like Walter Mitty a bit too much.
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wiscopetty
             The play that JR Smith held the ball on didnt LOSE the game for Cleveland. It was a dumb thing to do, but the team still had a chance to win the game. If you honestly think that JR holding that ball lost the series for Cleveland, you just dont know much about basketball. ONE play in any sport almost never loses a game. It 'may' have prevented a possible win in regulation, but is just didnt LOSE the game. A team loses - one play doesnt lose a game or a series.  You seem to think like Walter Mitty a bit too much.
Of course Cleveland still "had a chance to win the game" in the truest sense of the phrase, but psychologically they looked shot after that miscue. Look at how they played in overtime. They were done. 

The fact is that Cleveland going up 1-0 to start the series on the road would've been a HUGE boost when the two teams are already so mismatched. Instead they're staring at a 2-0 deficit that looks more and more insurmountable by the minute. Golden State is just at another level. It's telling when Durant or Curry can rest for 5 minutes and come back in with an even bigger lead. Meanwhile, LeBron has to basically play at a god level to even keep the Cavs from getting blown out.
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safetysqueezepleezzee11
wiscopetty wrote:
Of course Cleveland still "had a chance to win the game" in the truest sense of the phrase, but psychologically they looked shot after that miscue. Look at how they played in overtime. They were done. 

The fact is that Cleveland going up 1-0 to start the series on the road would've been a HUGE boost when the two teams are already so mismatched. Instead they're staring at a 2-0 deficit that looks more and more insurmountable by the minute. Golden State is just at another level. It's telling when Durant or Curry can rest for 5 minutes and come back in with an even bigger lead. Meanwhile, LeBron has to basically play at a god level to even keep the Cavs from getting blown out.
             Cleveland STILL had to score a point to win. That wasn't a given. I compare this to a baseball game in the bottom of the 7th with the game tied, bases loaded, 2 outs and a 3-2 count on the batter. The batter then swings at a pitch over his head(an obvious ball) and the batter is out. The game remains tied and goes into extra innings. I always told the teams I managed that a game was NOT over until the game was over. The ifs and buts don't win or lose games. That play didn't lose the game PERIOD! I don't disagree that it would have been a hug boost to Cleveland to win the game. But they still  had to win the game FIRST. "IF" Cleveland decided to quit going into OT, that was on them.
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gstacy
if you are a huge underdog coming in that makes a huge difference. Cleveland had little room for error poured their heart and soul into that game only to give it away in the closing sequences. comparing a single baseball game to the nba finals game 1 is reaching. yes they are similar but on very different levels physically and mentally.
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