Breaking News:

Keep up with So Much Sports on Twitter @SoMuchSports

The deep west still might belong to the Warriors

By: Anirudh Sridhar

James Harden might just be thi year’s MVP and has made the Rockets look like a championship caliber team this season.

James Harden v Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry v Damian Lillard, DeAndre Jordan v Rudy Gobert, the Western Conference playoffs are packed with incredible matchups in the first round.

Coming off of blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals last year, the Golden State Warriors look to breeze through the Western Conference playoffs with newly acquired superstar Kevin Durant. Their first round opponent the Portland Trailblazers however, have other plans. Damian Lillard has predicted the Blazers would upset the Warriors in six games. Maybe it’s just him being optimistic as the Warriors completed a regular season sweep of the Blazers (4-0) and will look to do the same in the first round tipping off on Sunday.

Can anybody ever count out the Spurs, especially with a dynamic playmaker like Kawhi Leonard?

A matchup that seems to be common every year in the playoffs is the Spurs vs the Grizzlies. This series will be like watching the Steelers play the Ravens, a defensive battle. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, defensive star Tony Allen is out indefinitely with a strained calf. It will take Memphis a lot to contain MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard on both ends of the floor, but you can never rule of Marc Gasol and company in the playoffs.

The one team that may give the Warriors the toughest battle in the playoffs is the Utah Jazz, but they need to get passed the LA Clippers first. A new team rising may only have one season of success because All-Star Gordon Hayward is a free agent at the end of the season and wants to win a championship. A long run in the playoffs may just be enough to keep Hayward in Utah. This first round matchup will see two of the elite centers in the league in Rudy Gobert and Deandre Jordan squaring off in the paint. Defensive player of the year candidate Gobert is a force beneath the rim but injuries have plagued the Jazz all season long. Derrick Favors and George Hill have been in and out of the lineup for Utah forcing head coach Quin Snyder to use 23 different starting lineups this season. The Clippers used 18 different starting lineups this year as injuries have plagued them this season as well. At the end of the day, this 4/5 matchup may come down to who can stay the most healthy.

Possibly the matchup most basketball fans are looking forward to is the Rockets vs the Thunder. Triple double machine Russell Westbrook will seek to lead his Thunder squad past the offensively loaded Rockets team. After moving James Harden to the point guard position at the beginning of the season, Mike D’Antoni has led the Rockets to the 3-seed in the Western Conference. The Rockets acquired Louis Williams at the trade deadline, adding yet another scoring option off the bench alongside Eric Gordon. The Thunder will have to guard the perimeter better than they have all season to beat Houston as the Rockets shoot more threes than any team in the league per game. The Beard v Brodie, this will be the most entertaining series in the playoffs, and the winner will look to upend Steph Curry and co. en route to the NBA Finals.

But unless a team proved otherwise, the West still looks like the Warriors’ conference.

The following two tabs change content below.

Anirudh Sridhar

Latest posts by Anirudh Sridhar (see all)

Comments are closed.