2014 nba playoffs preview

The 2014 NBA Playoffs officially begin today! 16 teams will go on a journey to reach the Finals, but only two can make it. Only one will come out as the champions.

Which team will it be this year? Here's my playoff preview.

First Round (East)

joe johnson amir johnson raptors nets 2014(1) Indiana Pacers vs (8) Atlanta Hawks

The Pacers have struggled tremendously since the All-Star break. On the other hand, the Hawks closed out the season winning seven of their last 10. Indiana has also shown trouble against the Hawks when on the road, which is why I do not expect a sweep from them. However, I do expect the Pacers to make a rebound and get back to at least somewhat of their old selves.

Pacers in 5

(2) Miami Heat vs (7) Charlotte Bobcats

The Heat have given trouble to the Bobcats all regular season, and I see the same playing out in the postseason. I think Charlotte will end up relying too much on Al Jefferson to get things done, which is why I don't expect them to even win a single game in this series. Like LeBron James' 61-point game against the Bobcats, the Heat will sweep Charlotte out of the postseason this year.

Heat in 4

(3) Toronto Raptors vs (6) Brooklyn Nets

The Nets wanted this matchup. Instead of facing the Bulls, a team they have had trouble against, they purposely lost games towards end of the season to face Toronto as a sixth seed. To be honest, I think this is a smart decision and I think it will endu p paying off for Brooklyn. The Nets may be old, but their players have postseason experience. The Raptors can create some damage with their youth and athleticism, but history shows that experience always wins.

Nets in 6

(4) Chicago Bulls vs (5) Washington Wizards

John Wall will be in the playoffs for the first time in his career while the Bulls face their third straight appearance in the NBA Playoffs without star point guard Derrick Rose (I know he played in the first round of 2012, but come on, it was only the first game). With that, the Bulls are used to this and have found ways to beat Washington without their franchise player. The same will get done here in this series.

Bulls in 6

First Round (West)

warriors clippers 2014(1) San Antonio Spurs vs (8) Dallas Mavericks

The Spurs gave the Mavericks trouble in the regular season, winning every game. Both teams have had great history in the past during the postseason, but this will be quite different. Dallas had a great season, but it come to an end in the first round versus the dominant Spurs. I just think San Antonio's depth is far too much for this Mavs team.

Spurs in 5

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (7) Memphis Grizzlies

The Thunder went 3-1 against the Grizz in the regular season. Their lone less came when Russell Westbrook was out, very similar to when they lost a whole playoff series to Memphis last year in the second round. I see revenge for OKC this year. Kevin Durant isn't playing games.

Thunder in 5

(3) Los Angeles Clippers vs (6) Golden State Warriors

This will be the series to watch of the entire first round. I can see this going to seven games, but I see this ending in six at the most favoring the Clippers. I see these games being filled with high-scoring outings. I mean, it's Lob City versus the Splash Brothers! Who wouldn't wanna watch that? All in all, though, I think the Clips' experience will be enough to get them past the Warriors. I also think Chris Paul will put Stephen Curry in his place in the NBA point guard rankings.

Clippers in 6

(4) Houston Rockets vs (5) Portland Trail Blazers

Like most 4-5 seeded match-ups, it will be a close one here between the Rockets and Blazers. In fact, I see this series going seven games, too. Both teams are very evenly matched, but James Harden will be the difference in deciding who wins or not. I don't know one player who can single-handedly guard Harden well in this series, which is why I see Houston coming out on top here.

Rockets in 7

Eastern Conference Semifinals

paul pierce lebron james heat nets 2014(1) Indiana Pacers vs (4) Chicago Bulls 

The Pacers will be facing a tougher matchup here with the Bulls. Surprisingly, I have seen a lot of people picking the Bulls to actually upset and win this series. I just can't foresee that occurring. Indiana has done too much this year to fall this early in the playoffs. The fact they made it so far last year with a less talented squad just doesn't make sense for the 2014 team's fate. Give me the Pacers here in a rout.

Pacers in 5

(2) Miami Heat vs (6) Brooklyn Nets

The matchup of the series. Why not? The Nets swept the Heat in the regular season, something no one saw coming. I expect Miami to get revenge here and get it very well. The Nets would be coming off a six-game series against the Raptors, a team filled with athleticism and youth. I just don't see Brooklyn having enough energy to pull off another series win, especially a squad like Miami in the playoffs. Give me the Heat here, too.

Heat in 5

Western Conference Semifinals

kevin durant blake griffin thunder clippers 2014(1) San Antonio Spurs vs (4) Houston Rockets

The Rockets are coming off a tough, seven-game series against the Spurs. While I do see them giving San Antonio some fight, I just don't think they have enough to beat this playoff-experienced squad. San Antonio has played extremely smart and efficient this season and it will play out well against an inexperienced Rockets team in this series.

Spurs in 6

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (3) Los Angeles Clippers

Kevin Durant is gonna win MVP. For the Clippers, they couldn't care less. I believe this will be a true battle of the frontcourts. Kevin Durant may be the best player of this series, but I think DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin will be enough to overpower OKC down low—yes, even if they have Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. I also think Chris Paul will outplay Russell Westbrook, much like how I can see him doing the same to Stephen Curry in the first round. It will be a good series, but I think KD faces his own LeBron-like story as he gets knocked out of the playoffs again, even with winning MVP.

Clippers in 6

Eastern Conference Finals

lebron james paul george heat pacers 2014(1) Indiana Pacers vs (2) Miami Heat

Of course this was going to happen. No other team truly in the East can contend for the Finals than Miami or Indy.

Despite being a Pacers fan, I am going to have to go with the Heat this year. While I do expect Indiana to erase most of their struggles in the first two rounds of the playoffs, it won't be enough to overcome Miami.

The Heat are coming into this postseason as the clear favorites in the East after defeating Indiana in their final matchup with them of the regular season. I expect to see the series play out a lot like that.

Indiana is going to need to regroup and fix these latest upcoming issues, which I think will lead with them in the postseason, in order to be the kings of the East.

As of now, the Heat will keep that title for themselves for the fourth straight year.

Heat in 5

Western Conference Finals

deandre jordan tim duncan spurs clippers 2014(1) San Antonio Spurs vs (3) Los Angeles Clippers

Another year, another appearance for the Spurs in the West Finals. Only this time, though, they will not able to get to the Finals. Give me the Clips here.

This is the third straight year for them in the playoffs. Last year was a complete disappointment, but with Doc Rivers at helm, I don't see Los Angeles playing the same games this postseason, especially in the Conference Finals with the Spurs.

DeAndre Jordan faces a big task going against Tim Duncan. Blake Griffin may also take on the same responsibility, but I really believe Lob City can do this.

And yes, CP3 will outplay Tony Parker, but boy will it be a fun matchup to watch.

Clippers in 7

NBA Finals: BUCKS IN 6!!

bucks in 6

If only Brandon Jenning was still on the team...

Check the next slide to see my actual prediction.

NBA Finals

(2) Miami Heat vs (3) Los Angeles Clippers

blake griffin lebron james heat clippers 2014

You do not realize how badly I've wanted this series to happen. The Miami Heat versus the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA Finals.

I think this is true year it can happen, and who wouldn't want it? LeBron James, Chris Paul, Chris Bosh, Blake Griffin, Dwyane Wade, DeAndre Jordan. We can also see Danny Granger and LeBron exchange words again like the 2012 Pacers-Heat series.

It's just a matchup in the making, even if people favor a Heat-Spurs or Heat-Thunder rematch. I'd like to see something new and this right here is it. Who do I have?

Easy, the Miami Heat. Why? Experience. Plus, the Clippers are going to be gassed out so bad. The Heat, if my prediction turn out correct, will go on a cruise to the Finals with a sweep and two five-game series, while the Clippers have played two six-game series and one seven-game series. I just think they will be too gassed to put up a serious fight.

However, the Heat will be gassed as well. They've dealt with so much wear and tear going to four straight NBA Finals. But they're going for a 3-peat, and I think they can find that extra energy and boost to end up as champions once again.

Heat in 6


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