No Love

Kevin Love after injuring his shoulder in Game 4 of the Celtics Series. Olynyk showed him no Love.

Kevin Love after injuring his shoulder in Game 4 of the Celtics Series. Olynyk showed him no Love.

In NBA news this week, the Cavs swept the Celtics and advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs. In other news, Kevin Love is out 4-6 months because of a shoulder injury. It happened in the first half of game 4 of the Celtics series, when Kelly Olynyk and Love got tangled up under the basket. Kevin Love, along with most Cavs fan (including myself), believe that he did it on purpose. There is no way what he did was a basketball play, and now Love is out for the rest of the playoffs. In my earlier post, I predicted the Cavs to win the whole thing. Now, I’m not so sure. The Cavs will face the Bulls in the second round, which will be an extremely difficult series for them without Kevin Love. Unless LeBron James completely takes over, I don’t see the Cavs getting out of this series. My fingers are crossed. LeBron will go off. Go Cavs.

My Predictions

As the playoffs begin, there are many different opinions regarding who will be the 2015 NBA Champion. Here are my predictions. In the East:

First Round

Hawks vs. Nets- With Atlanta jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the series, expect them to move on. But don’t be surprised when Brooklyn wins at least one game at home.

Cavs vs. Celtics- SWEEP. Go Cavs.

Bulls vs. Bucks- Hopefully the Bucks give them one game but expect the Bulls to move on. Chicago is just too deep of a team to lose a series to this young Milwaukee team.

Raptors vs. Wizards- With Paul Pierce playing how he is, Washington will move on. I expected this to be a competitive series but as of now the Raptors are getting manhandled.

Conference Semis

Hawks vs. Wizards- This will be a fun series to watch. The Wizards are playing their best basketball at the best possible time and the Hawks have just been awesome the entire season. I think the Hawks will move on but expect it to go to 6 or 7 games.

Cavs vs. Bulls- This will be the most exciting series to watch. I can almost guarantee you that this will go to 7 games and each game will be down to the wire. I think the Cavs move on because of how consistently good they have been playing towards the end of the season.

Conference Finals

Hawks vs. Cavs- this will be another really fun series to watch. I think the Cavs will move on due to the playoff experience of LeBron James and the lack of experience in Atlanta.

Eastern Conference Champs: Cleveland Cavaliers

In the West:

First Round

Warriors vs. Pelicans- SWEEP. Steph Curry is too good.

Rockets vs. Mavs- With the loss of Rondo and Parsons, there is no way Dallas gets out of this series. No way.

Clippers vs. Spurs- If I’ve learned one thing in all my years of watching the NBA, its to never bet against Poppovich. Spurs advance.

Grizzlies vs. Blazers- I was expecting this series to be more entertaining but the Blazers have just been manhandled so far. Grizzlies are looking really good.

Conference Semis

Warriors vs. Grizzlies- This will be an unbelievable series. The Warriors are such a good offensive team and the Grizzlies are such a good defensive team that this could go both ways. I think Golden State will advance.

Rockets vs. Spurs- Another 7 game series. Harden and Dwight vs. the veteran trio of Parker, Duncan, and Ginolbli with the emergence of Kawhi Leonard. I think the Spurs will take this one.

Conference Finals

Warriors vs. Spurs- the young vs. the old. It’ll be interesting to see if the Warriors can thrive with such a small amount of playoff experience but I think they will. I’m going against my gut and going with Golden State.

Western Conference Champs: Golden State Warriors

NBA FINALS

Cavs vs. Warriors- This could easily go both ways. These games will be a battle… each and every one of them. Both teams have about the same amount of playoff experience, but I think one player will determine this series: Kevin Love. If he can play the way we all know he can in this series, the Cavs are SCARY. I think he’ll step up and help bring a championship to Cleveland.

NBA CHAMPS: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (not even biased)

NBA Playoffs: First Round

With the NBA Playoffs about to start, there are a lot of possible first round matchups that will get any NBA fan excited. In the Eastern Conference, if the standings stay the same, the first round matchups would be Hawks vs. Nets, Cavs vs. Celtics, Raptors vs. Bucks, and Bulls vs. Wizards. In these games, I think the Hawks, Cavs, Raptors, and Bulls will all prevail. The Bulls-Wizards series will be be the most fun to watch because it could go either way. I could easily see the Wizards knocking off the Bulls in the first round and advancing to the conference semifinals. The Western Conference, however, is a different story. In the first round, it looks like the matchups will be Warriors vs. Pelicans/Thunder, Spurs vs. Mavs, Clippers vs. Rockets, and Blazers vs. Grizzlies.  ANY team in these games have the chance to advance to the next round. I simply cannot wait for this side of the tournament. Every single game is going to be a battle, and all of these teams are dangerous. Don’t be surprised if there are a lot of upsets in the Western Conference playoffs this year, it should be realllllllllly fun to watch. Stay tuned.

The MVP Race

The future NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook.

The future NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook.

As the regular season winds down, the MVP race is heating up. In my eyes, there are 4 candidates: Steph Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and LeBron James. Although arguments can be made for each player to get the award, Russell Westbrook deserves it the most. Westbrook literally has had to carry the Thunder for the entire year. He’s had 9 triple doubles so far this year, including a stretch where he had 4 in a row, which is unheard of. Kevin Durant has been injured all year, and Serge Ibaka is out for three weeks as well, so he has had to put the team on his back. He is currently ranked 1st in scoring, 4th in assists, and 3rd in steals, which are definitely MVP numbers. The Thunder are currently the 8th seed in the West, and if they make it to the playoffs, Westbrook should be MVP. If they don’t, however, I think James Harden will get the award. All 4 players have had great seasons, but Westbrook has just been unreal. Considering they make the playoffs, he definitely deserves the MVP.

57

Kyrie and LeBron celebrating after one of Irving's many clutch shots vs. the Spurs.

Kyrie and LeBron celebrating after one of Irving’s many clutch shots vs. the Spurs.

Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers traveled to San Antonio for what some called a possible preview of the NBA Finals. The Cavs prevailed in OT, winning 128-125, due to the career night for Kyrie Irving. He scored 57 points on 20-32 shooting, including 7-7 from 3. 57 points is unreal, but this has a different feel to it. In Gregg Poppovich’s storied career as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Irving is the first player to ever score over 50 points against him. To go along with this career game, LeBron James chipped in 31 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds in the win. Even though I may be biased, I think the Cleveland Cavaliers have a big chance to win the Finals this year if they continue to play like they have been night after night. The playoffs really can’t come any sooner for me. This game really felt like a playoff game, and hopefully the playoffs will be the same because if so, we’re all in for a treat.

Trade Deadline

The 2015 NBA Trade Deadline was the most eventful one we’ve had for a long time. There were many moves that were made, but two trades stood out to me the most. The Miami Heat sent Danny Granger and two first round picks to the Phoenix Suns for point guard Goran Dragic. This is a HUGE trade for the Heat, and makes them a scary team to face in the playoffs. The Heat’s new starting lineup is Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh, and Hassan Whiteside. This lineup is stacked, but their bench is still questionable. The Oklahoma City Thunder sent Kendrick Perkins to the Utah Jazz for young center Enes Kanter. They also sent Reggie Jackson to Detroit and picked up DJ Augustin. This helps the Thunder immensely. Enes Kanter is a skilled, scoring big man who, in my opinion, was misused in Utah. DJ Augustin is a talented player that will be a very good backup to Russell Westbrook. The Thunder are stacked and are now one of the favorites to win it all. Trades can either make or break a team’s season, and these two teams have just become dangerous. I would definitely not want to play either of these teams in the playoffs this year.

The Surprise of the Eastern Conference

The All Stars from the Atlanta Hawks: Paul Millsap, Al Horford, and Jeff Teague.

The All Stars from the Atlanta Hawks: Paul Millsap, Al Horford, and Jeff Teague.

The biggest surprise of the 2015 NBA season is the Atlanta Hawks. At the start of the season, no one even thought they were going to compete for a top spot in the east. Everyone talked about Cleveland and Chicago, and Atlanta was an afterthought. But as the half way mark approaches, the Hawks have proven that they are the real deal. Standing atop the Eastern Conference at 38-8 and riding a dominating 17 game win streak, it’s hard to see a team that can beat them in a 7 game playoff series. The strange thing about the Hawks is, they don’t have a big name star player like LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Instead, their roster consists of players like Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, and Al Horford, all of which made the All Star team this year. They are also riding a record breaking shooting percentage year for Kyle Korver, who has a chance to be the first player EVER to have a 50/50/90 (FG/3PT/FT) season. In my opinion, this Hawks team is very strong and should be favorites to make it to the finals. Not many teams in the East can compete with this deep Hawks team. The only teams I could see beating the Hawks are the Cavs or the Bulls, and even that’s a long shot. Don’t be surprised if the Atlanta Hawks are your 2015 Eastern Conference Champions.