Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets:
Logan: A rematch of one of the most disappointing Western Conference Finals in years. The Rockets simply don’t show enough effort on the defensive end to win more than one game in this series. The Warriors want plenty of rest between series’, expect Harden to put the team on his back for one game, however. Warriors continue to show their dominance. Steph’s gonna Steph. Warriors in 5
Brian: When Houston wants to get down and dirty, Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverly, and Trevor Ariza are as tough of defenders as anyone. However in the end, the Warriors are too strong. The Rockets will steal game 3 or 4 in Houston, but that’s it. Warriors in 5.
Dave: These Rockets are pathetic. I have no faith in Harden or Dwight to step up and lead that team against the most winning team in NBA history. Curry and Co will rain all over em. Dubs in 4.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Portland Trailblazers:
Logan: This Blazers squad is already years ahead of schedule after losing four starters in the offseason. GM Neil Olshey has masterfully put this team back in a position to win, but this Clippers squad has reached another level of late. Blake Griffin is back, but not at full strength, this series may take a while for LA to figure out. Clippers in 6
Brian: Portland has strong shooters and 2 big bodies inside, Mason Plumlee and Meyers Leonard, and two high powered scoring guards in Lillard and McCollum but Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Reddick, with Crawford off the bench will be too much. Portland is tough at home and will win one or two, but they fall in 6. LAC in 6.
Dave: CJ McCollum and Lillard go off and lock up CP3 on the defensive end. Blake wanes in the spotlight, new blood takes over, and the Doc Rivers experiment in LA comes to a catastrophic end as Austin Rivers gets in a fight with the equipment guy and breaks his hand on his face. Rip City in 6.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies:
Logan: Optimal is not the word the Grizzlies would use to describe how the season ended. Falling from the 5 seed to a dreaded matchup with the Spurs, who’s only home loss came against the Warriors. At full strength, this is a perennially fascinating matchup. How it is today, the Griz don’t stand a chance. Spurs in 4
Brian: This is a cake walk for the Spurs. The Grizzlies are depleted without Mike Conley or Marc Gasol and will not be able to handle the Spurs. San Antonio in 4.
Dave: Spurs over the “10-day-contract Grizzlies”. Over in 4. Really just a formality. Spurs sweep.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks:
Logan: The more I look at this matchup, the more intriguing it becomes. I could see the Thunder sweeping, I could see the Mavs pushing it to 7. Thunder won the series matchup 4-0, and I just don’t see who on Dallas has a chance against Westbrook. Expect the Thunder’s death lineup to feast if Dirk is on the court. Thunder in 5
Brian: Westbrook and Durant are too much for the aging Mavs. Deron Williams and Chandler Parsons will be able to keep the games close, but the OKC duo will take it home. Thunder in 5.
Dave: Mavs don’t have the depth or athleticism to keep up with Westbrook and Durant. OKC over Mavs in 5.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons:
Logan: The Pistons have all the right pieces to compete with the Cavaliers: a dominant big man, a shot creator who can make Irving work on the defensive end, and an identity that they can fall back on down the stretch. (Drummond, Jackson, and a 1 in-4 out scheme, respectively). That said, LeBron still takes care of business in a series that goes longer than he wants. Cavaliers in 6
Brian: Lebron and Co. are too much for the Pistons. The Pistons are young and talented, but not experienced enough to deal with LBJ. Cavs in 5.
Dave: They are 4-1 against the Cavs this year if you count the preseason. Witness my boy Reggie doing work on Kyrie and Dellevadova. LeBron cries the whole time and it’s everything everyone wanted to see. Pistons in 6.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics:
Logan: Are the Celtics this years 2015 Atlanta Hawks? A team sans a superstar who play an excellent brand of team basketball, but can’t get over the hump in the playoffs? The Celtics have all the tools to upset the Hawks. This matchup is all about the meeting of the minds on the coaching front. Budenholzer vs. Stevens. Celtics in 7
Brian: This is the best matchup of the first round. Hands down. Atlanta plays great team ball, but Brad Stevens has his guys playing at a high tempo. IT2 and Avery Bradley are a dangerous backcourt and Boston has the bench to win this series. Boston in 6
Dave: Brad Stevens and Isaiah Thomas are a hell of a duo. They will lose in second round but this team will be a threat for a long time to come. Celtics in 6.
Toronto Raptors vs. Indiana Pacers:
Logan: Toronto is on the brink of making a deep playoff run for the first time in franchise history, will the Pacers show signs of life to spite them? Doubtful. Indiana is another team ahead of schedule in their rebuild plan, and despite a bunch of solid veterans, will get ran out of the building by Lowry and Derozan. Raptors sweep.
Brian: Although it’s great to see Paul George back in the playoffs, his supporting cast is no match for the raptors. Raptors in 5.
Dave: Indiana still has a team? Toronto in 5.
Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets:
Logan: The Heat look poised to mount a deep run in the playoffs, and got the draw the desired in terms of seeding, having to not face the Cavs until the ECF. Hornets have been damn near brilliant in the last third of the season, but even operating without All Star Chris Bosh, the Heat take care of business despite Kemba Walker showing he belongs. Heat in 6
Brian: This should be a great matchup, however the experience of the Heat with Wade and Joe Johnson will be too much. Kemba will show the world why he is a top 10 scoring guard but he will not have enough to win the series. Mia in 5.
Dave: Aging Dwyane Wade carries them until his knees give out in second round. Heat in 6.