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#1 Edited by meteora3255 (653 posts) -

Figured it was time to get an NBA Playoff thread going. With how tight the playoff races were this season I'm more excited than usual for the first round games. As a Pacers fan I'm just happy to be here but think we can knock off the Cavs. In fact I wrote about it:

https://www.timathydunn.com/blog/2018/4/12/four-key-questions-for-the-indiana-pacers-in-round-one

Or, if you would prefer to stay on Giant Bomb: https://www.giantbomb.com/profile/meteora3255/blog/four-key-questions-for-the-indiana-pacers-in-the-f/117107/

So how does everyone feel about their teams before the games start?

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#2 Posted by mems1224 (2299 posts) -

Rockets finally get a 1 seed and end up getting the much harder road in the playoffs.

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#3 Posted by meteora3255 (653 posts) -

@mems1224: Yea, that second round series is going to be brutal no matter who they play.

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#4 Posted by Deathstriker (979 posts) -

As long as the Warriors don't win the championship I'm okay. They're the only team I hate. Them versus OKC in the first round would've been great.

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#7 Posted by pweidman (2776 posts) -

Well my Warriors are going into the playoffs playing very flat and uninterested. One would hope they can 'flip the switch', but I really don't think so, especially without Curry, and even if they hang until he's back. When you win, complacency rears it's head, and so it seems with Golden State this year. I expect the Rockets to own this year's post season, however tough the match-ups in the West. Interested to see how the Raptor's do in the East.

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#8 Posted by thatpinguino (2823 posts) -

I'm leaning towards Philly/Toronto out of the East and the Rockets out of the West, barring injuries.

Staff
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#9 Posted by meteora3255 (653 posts) -

@pweidman: The Warriors are the toughest team to predict. They have gone 4-6 in their last 10 and 4-9 against playoff teams when Curry sits. They are a different team without him but it's also possible those struggles are from their general apathy toward the regular season and not because they can't win without him.

On paper they have an easier path than Houston and should be favored until the conference finals. I am not counting them out but they are more vulnerable than they have been since Curry was hurt and the Cavs won in 2016.

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#10 Edited by Deathstriker (979 posts) -
@meteora3255 said:

@pweidman: The Warriors are the toughest team to predict. They have gone 4-6 in their last 10 and 4-9 against playoff teams when Curry sits. They are a different team without him but it's also possible those struggles are from their general apathy toward the regular season and not because they can't win without him.

On paper they have an easier path than Houston and should be favored until the conference finals. I am not counting them out but they are more vulnerable than they have been since Curry was hurt and the Cavs won in 2016.

I think that record is mostly from KD being a bad leader. He is better than Curry, but Curry is what makes them special. Without Curry they're a regular team and KD can't pass or be a playmaker half as good as Lebron or Harden - being a pure scorer only gets you so far and that's not even mentioning his temper tantrums and bratty attitude getting him techs and ejections. If he wasn't skinnier than a broom I might think he was going through roid rage lol.

I think the Jazz or Thunder could've taken them out in first round. Injuries are part of the game, odds are GSW wouldn't have gone 12-0 in the western playoffs last year if everyone was healthy... they were about to lose to the Spurs until Zaza did that dirty play on Khawi. If the Cavs were healthy I'm pretty sure they would've beat GSW the first time, but they were down two allstars.

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#11 Posted by Rorie (5133 posts) -

@pweidman said:

Well my Warriors are going into the playoffs playing very flat and uninterested. One would hope they can 'flip the switch', but I really don't think so, especially without Curry, and even if they hang until he's back. When you win, complacency rears it's head, and so it seems with Golden State this year. I expect the Rockets to own this year's post season, however tough the match-ups in the West. Interested to see how the Raptor's do in the East.

That 40-point loss the other day was real worrisome. We'll see if they pick it up but they sure seem to be backing into the playoffs.

Staff
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#12 Posted by KingBonesaw (1228 posts) -

Sucks for Warriors fans to have won multiple championships this decade.

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#13 Posted by andythemeZ (346 posts) -

What’s the latest on all the big injuries? K.I. was “upgraded” to done for the year (the 2K Curse?!), what about Leonard? The only thing on Fox Sports is from Feb saying he refuses to use the Spurs’ doctors and is trying (Knicks/Nets?) ones in NYC instead.

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#14 Posted by KingBonesaw (1228 posts) -

@andythemez: Irving is out for the playoffs. Hayward also won't come back but I don't think anyone was expecting him to. Marcus Smart will be re-evaluated in a few weeks.

Embiid is out at least game 1 but might be back for game 2 (he was wearing a mask before their last game).

Sounds like Leonard won't be back, Ginobili said a few weeks back that they would rather he didn't since they can't keep assuming he'll be back only for him not to return.

Curry says he'll be back for round 2.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will be out at least for round 1.

Jimmy Butler appears to be healthy but looked pretty gassed during that last Denver game. It will be interesting to see him during the playoffs where he'll likely be playing a ton of minutes.

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#15 Posted by HTC (58 posts) -

As a Heat fan, I'm just glad there's four more games.

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#16 Edited by OurSin_360 (6070 posts) -

Since the timberwolves are pretty much the bulls now i am going with them for the first round upset. Harden will choke again and butler is a dog going for the jugular.

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#17 Posted by frytup (1038 posts) -

Sucks for Warriors fans to have won multiple championships this decade.

I'll be happy after a couple more. Probably,

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#18 Posted by mems1224 (2299 posts) -

Since the timberwolves are pretty much the bulls now i am going with them for the first round upset. Harden will choke again and butler is a dog going for the jugular.

I don't see the Rockets having much trouble against the Wolves. I can see them dropping one game, 2 at most. They swept the Wolves this year and only one game was really close. Thibs will do what he always does and play his stars 45 minutes and gas them. Wolves just don't have enough fire power to keep up with them. Wish Houston wasn't playing them though, I love this Wolves team and would have liked to see them advance.

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#19 Posted by Qrowdyy (360 posts) -

This has GOT to be the year for Rockets, right? RIGHT!?? But, seriously, with the Warriors hobbled I'm feeling pretty good about our chances.

Rooting for a Rockets/Raptors finals.

@oursin_360: Very unlikely considering how the Rockets manhandled the Wolves in the regular season. That was with a healthy Jimmy Butler too. The Wolves take too many 2s and have sloppy defense. Its just a bad matchup for them. Most people are predicting a sweep and I can't really find any reason to disagree with them.

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#20 Posted by RayCarter (252 posts) -

As long as my Celtics do not get humiliated by the Milwaukee Bucks and the Greek Freak, I'll be content with whatever happens in the playoffs. I do not have high hopes for my team to begin with given the injuries.

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#21 Posted by Genxalo (60 posts) -

The only time that I post on the GB Forums, it's that time of year agaaaaaaaain! Go Warriors!

I like how different the outlook is for this year compared to last year, the Dubs and the Cavs are the most vulnerable they've ever been for the past couple of years that it might actually be a toss up for the Finals? I feel like Harden and CP3 have had such a huge chip on their shoulders for past couple of years that this HAS to be the year for the Rockets to at least get out of the West if not winning a chip. The Warriors have been super apathetic and disappointing this regular season that I think there's a good chance they might slip up this post-season. That blowout loss to the Jazz seems like a huge manipulation to get an easier path to the Finals, but I'd love to see a Kawhi Leonard surprise return to shock the Dubs it'd be LEGENDARY. I'm hoping for a 76ers surprise from the East and completely #TrustTheProcess, but you can never count out Lebron willing himself into the Finals.

Really happy for the TWolves ending their playoff drought! Got a lot of faith in big KAT and Jimmy Buckets, but I think it's too soon for them to even dream of knocking out a number 1 seed rolling as hot as Houston is right now. Who knows though? CP3's injury history at this point of the season that is the only thing that could derail Houston even a little bit.

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#22 Edited by meteora3255 (653 posts) -

Spurs are hanging with the Warriors better than I expected. I don't think they win, but this may not be a cakewalk for the Warriors either.

Edit: And that didn't last long. Warriors in control and pulling away.

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#23 Posted by Toastburner_B (456 posts) -

@rorie said:
@pweidman said:

Well my Warriors are going into the playoffs playing very flat and uninterested. One would hope they can 'flip the switch', but I really don't think so, especially without Curry, and even if they hang until he's back. When you win, complacency rears it's head, and so it seems with Golden State this year. I expect the Rockets to own this year's post season, however tough the match-ups in the West. Interested to see how the Raptor's do in the East.

That 40-point loss the other day was real worrisome. We'll see if they pick it up but they sure seem to be backing into the playoffs.

You call it "worrisome", I'll call it "kinda awesome", to each their own I guess.

Seriously, though, I'm trying to just be happy that the Jazz made the playoffs at all, because if you had told me that they would be in this position three months ago I would have laughed in your face. These last couple of months have been awesome. I'd like to think that the Jazz would be able to make it past (techinically upset?) OKC...but I have a hard time imagining that they would be able to beat the Rockets in round 2.

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#24 Posted by meteora3255 (653 posts) -

Raptors down at the half with John Wall able to get to the rim at will. If he didn't miss a bunch of gimmes at the rim in the first quarter the Raptors would probably be down double digits. Wizards have a lot more talent than the typical 8 seed.

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#25 Posted by Qrowdyy (360 posts) -

Harden with the clutch performance to eke out a W. We beat the Wolves while shooting 27% from 3. We got this series on lock.

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#26 Posted by pweidman (2776 posts) -

James. Harden.

He flat out willed that win for the Rockets. The Wolve's look hungry though, no pun, and it doesn't look like anything's on lock, except Harden perhaps. This playoff season's already classic; so hyped.

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#28 Posted by Qrowdyy (360 posts) -

Ass Whoopin. Chris Paul with the circus shots. James Harden with the defensive plays!? I thought he couldn't play defense. /s

What's everyone's take on the way KAT is playing? I'm loving that the media is giving credit to Capela's defense, but getting 2 fgs a game goes a bit beyond getting defended well.

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#29 Posted by hippie_genocide (2338 posts) -

Dubs and Rockets looking like they're on a collision course in the Western Conference Finals, but respect for the Pelicans for showing up in the playoffs. Not throwing dirt on the Blazers just yet though.

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#30 Posted by Qrowdyy (360 posts) -
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#31 Posted by mems1224 (2299 posts) -

Rockets were never going to win that game. Minnesota was shooting out of their minds. It'd be nice if the Rockets snapped out of their shooting slump, especially Gordon.

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#33 Posted by Qrowdyy (360 posts) -

50 POINT THIRD QUARTER!!!!! Rockets finally looking like themselves and I'm breathing a sigh of relief.

I think the most overlooked story of this entire series is James Harden's much improved defense. KAT got the mismatch against Harden 6-7 times and couldn't capitalize once.

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#34 Edited by ATastySlurpee (547 posts) -

Caps are going to finally beat the Pens this year.

Hopefully, the Jets get rid of the trash that is the Preds...

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#35 Posted by Toastburner_B (456 posts) -

At the risk of jinxing the whole thing, I cannot see a future where the Jazz don't finish off the Thunder in the next game or two. The Jazz beat the Thunder on almost every level.. Seriously, if you don't watch anything else from that game (it was late so I know a lot of people where asleep), go look up some clips of Joe Ingles just absolutely trolling Paul George. It's amazing.

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#36 Posted by Marcsman (3790 posts) -

Trust the Process

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#37 Posted by meteora3255 (653 posts) -

Some thoughts on the first four games of Pacers-Cavs: https://www.giantbomb.com/profile/meteora3255/blog/checking-in-on-pacers-cavs-before-game-5/117185/

At this point is it a disappointment if the 76ers don't make the Eastern Conference Finals?

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#38 Edited by Qrowdyy (360 posts) -

Rockets in 5. This was always how it was gonna go. That said the Wolves are gonna be a scary team once they get their shit together. By that I mean FIRE TOM THIBODEAU(and maybe trade wiggins for some shooters).

@toastburner_b:You jinxed it :p

@meteora3255 said:

At this point is it a disappointment if the 76ers don't make the Eastern Conference Finals?

We'll see how they do against some stiffer competition, but I'd give them the edge against Boston for sure.

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#40 Posted by andythemeZ (346 posts) -

Lebron has been amazing on offense, and has a few jaw dropping defensive plays each game. Doing everything Jordan could do and now even making like 80% of those fadeaway jumpers. He could definitely recreate the legendary push off 1998 game winner and make the shot 9 out of ten times. His team is just god awful.

Love and Korver get hot streaks with 3’s every other game or so... difference makers were the games close in the final minutes, but instead it’s blowouts and their 18-20 pt contributions (with no good defense) worthless.

Even if they won this year, and management promised to bring in a second or even third superstar, Lebron should probably leave.

The decision ended up being the right decision, he would’ve gone down in history as the Dan Marino of basketball if not for it. As silly as the ESPN thing was. But Marino likely wasn’t in the league of someone like Brady, Lebron could be the absolute greatest of all time, and staying in Cleveland would be like Brady ‘s career if he was a Brown for all of it.

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#41 Posted by Deathstriker (979 posts) -

Game 1 of the finals was Lebron vs Warrior, refs, and Jr Smith... I don't know why Smith was even in the game, so some of this is on Ty Lue. I would've been playing Hill, Hood (or Korver), Lebron, Love, and Nance.

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#42 Posted by Dichemstys (3871 posts) -

@andythemez: My knowledge of basketball plays is limited at best. I've seen the clip of the 1998 pushoff but I don't understand what makes it so famous. If you could explain I'd love to know. :)

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#43 Posted by KingBonesaw (1228 posts) -

@dichemstys: In the 1998 NBA finals, the Bulls were playing the Utah Jazz. In Game 5 Utah was down 3-1 in the series and Utah had a great win in Chicago (Karl Malone dropped 39 points) and the Jazz were feeling great going back home to Utah to try and force a game 7. During game 6 Scottie Pippen (the second best player on the Bulls) reinjured his back and was limited in what he could physically do. Utah kept the lead throughout the game but MJ couldn't be contained and starting taking the game over. Utah was up by 3 with less than a minute to go before Jordan decided to win the game. Jordan scored to cut the lead down to 1 and when Utah needed to make a big play to hold off the Bulls they gave it to Karl Malone, and Jordan made one of the best defensive plays of all time by stealing the ball from the unsuspecting Malone. Jordan marched down the court and everyone in the world knew what was going to happen next. Jordan makes the shot over Byron Russell to win his sixth NBA championship, his sixth finals MVP (still a record) and make the last shot he would ever take*.

*Jordan came back as a Washington Wizard a couple of years later and still somehow averaged over 20 points per game as a 40 year old man.

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#44 Posted by shorap (318 posts) -

@kingbonesaw: there also was the finals game where Jordan played while having a bad case of the flu, still proceeded to rip up the Jazz, and was then wheeled away to the hospital in an ambulance after the Bulls won the game.

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#45 Posted by pweidman (2776 posts) -

What makes the push-off so infamous is the refs swallowed their whistles because of Jordan's legacy. "Superstar calls". Lebron could get the same, we'll see.

That game one was just ridiculous. So much shoving and really rough play, much of which went uncalled. Wouldn't be surprised at all if we have a fight or two. Hope not, cuz I wanna see all the principles on board for this epic war. It's gonna be an intense back and forth match-up probably needing all seven games. Pretty hyped for the balance of the series.

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#46 Posted by shorap (318 posts) -

@pweidman: the refs were still leaps better in game 1 than all the previous series this year. The rockets manhandled the warriors on defense and offense. Don’t know how many times Hardin got away with pushing off that made the Jordan one look like nothing.

And then there was what Boston was able to get away with on other teams during their whole playoff run. Constant jersey tugging and crap against the bucks, 76ers, and cavs that went uncalled.

Still better than nfl refs though.

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#47 Posted by Qrowdyy (360 posts) -

@shorap: man that is a baaad take. Do you know how many people were shitting on the refs for handing game 7 to the Warriors(their words not mine). I don't know any unaffiliated people who are saying that the Rockets benefited from the bad refereeing in the WCF.

Still, no matter who benefits, I think we can all agree that the refereeing has been pretty awful in the last 2 playoff games. The refs are almost solely responsible for escalating a non-situation at the end of game 1. smh.

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#48 Posted by shorap (318 posts) -

The charge reversal and the “technical” foul on Thompson were both bad calls by the refs but neither lost the Cavs the game which is what some are making it out to be as. The Cavs could’ve made that second free throw, not fucked up that offensive rebound, or not laid down in overtime.

It’s too bad that the Cavs organization can’t or won’t get Labron consistent help though. I think he needs a Pippin-type teammate like Malcolm Butler. Oh well, here’s to an exciting series.

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#49 Posted by MeatSim (11179 posts) -

The refs could have also called the lane violation on Draymond Green like they should have redoing the second free throw and potentially avoiding all of this. JR's Blunders of all blunders is still the story here but the Refs in that game shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the rest of these Finals.

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#50 Posted by KingBonesaw (1228 posts) -
@shorap said:

It’s too bad that the Cavs organization can’t or won’t get Labron consistent help though. I think he needs a Pippin-type teammate like Malcolm Butler. Oh well, here’s to an exciting series.

You mean like a Kyrie Irving?