2019 NBA Free Agency/Offseason Recap and Reaction

nba free agency

With the balance of power having shifted from the teams to the players in recent years, NBA free agency has become one of the most important parts of the NBA calendar year. Many superstars are teaming up and signing shorter details to keep their options open, and more and more big name players are hitting free agency each year. The 2019 NBA free agency and offseason period may have been one of the craziest of all of them. Below is my summary and reaction to the biggest moves this offseason.

 

Los Angeles Lakers trade for Anthony Davis in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, the draft rights to De’Andre Hunter, two first round picks, a first-round pick swap right and cash. 

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At the time, the Lakers acquisition of Anthony Davis was the most that any team has given up for a star players and simultaneously made LA the title favorites for 2020. It was no secret that both Lebron and AD wanted Davis to be LA, and after a botched attempt prior to the trade deadline it finally happened in June. AD will have a chance to establish himself as a superstar in a big market, and Lebron will be able to take a step back and rest at times during the season to be healthy for the playoffs. I expect the Lakers to be a Top 4 team in the West this year, but they will have to make other moves on the roster besides their two superstars to be a serious contender.

 

Free agent Kyrie Irving signs 4 year $141 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets

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Halfway through the 2018-2019 season it was pretty clear that Kyrie Irving was not a good fit for the Boston Celtics. The only question is whether he would sign with the Knicks or the Nets, ultimately Kyrie returned home to join the team he grew up rooting for. This is a great move for the Nets, although they did sacrifice up and coming point guard D’Angelo Russell to make it work. However, the Nets now have one of the best point guards in the game who is still in his prime, and more importantly set the stage for Brooklyn’s next free agency move….

 

Free Agent Kevin Durant signs 4 year $164 million deal with Brooklyn Nets

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The Nets weren’t done making moves after acquiring Kyrie Irving. Kevin Durant left the Golden State Warriors to join Brooklyn and create a formidable force in the East….when healthy. Durant will miss all of next year with an injury, and now that he’s in his thirties there is some question about his long term health. However, if Durant is healthy when he returns, Brooklyn instantly becomes a title contender. All year everyone was saying that Durant would go to the Knicks, but I never thought that would happen. KD is smart enough to know that it’s never good to be part of a franchise with a horrendous owner. He made the smart move by joining his good friend Kyrie while still remaining in a big New York market.

 

Free agent Kemba Walker signs a 4 year $141 million deal with the Boston Celtics

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Kemba Walker spent his entire career on an irrelevant Charlotte Hornets team. The Boston Celtics had just lost Kyrie Irving. Therefore, it was perfect match for the Celtics to fill their roster needs and for Kemba to join a team that can compete in the East. I think Kemba Walker will be a much better fit for the Celtics offense under Brad Stevens, and will allow players like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to be more involved in the offense. Furthermore, Kemba will not be a distraction off the court and will make the Celtics fun to watch again this season. Boston may not be a top contender in the East, but with Kemba Walker on board they are one move away from being a contender again.

 

Free agent Klay Thompson signs 5 year $190 million max deal to remain with Golden State Warriors

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Six

Although there were rumblings that he might end up on the Lakers, most people expected Klay Thompson to sign the max and remain with Golden State. After losing Durant, this was an important move for the Warriors to lock up Klay and still remain competitive in the West this year. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are still the best backcourt in the league and both are capable of stepping up and replacing the void that Durant left on the team. However, Klay will likely miss all of next season with an ACL injury as well. Curry will have to carry the team and has the potential for another monster shooting season given the volume of shots he will have to take this year.

 

D’Angelo Russell receives four year $117 million deal in sign and trade with Warriors

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Although some are questioning the move long term, it’s pretty clear that the Warriors acquired D’Angelo Russell to replace Klay Thompson for this season. It remains to be seen how Russell will be used when Thompson returns, since it may not work with three shooters and ball handlers on the floor at the same time. However, I still like this move for the Warriors to acquire a young up and coming point guard and I think Steve Kerr will figure out how to best utilize his personnel once all his guards are healthy.

 

Jimmy Butler signs a 4 year $142 million with the Miami Heat

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After a brief stint with Philly, Jimmy Butler decided to take his talents to South Beach and play for Pat Riley and the Miami Heat. Butler reportedly turned down the max offer from the 76ers and very much wanted to go to Miami. Now he will have an opportunity to be the best player on his own team and lead Miami back to the playoffs. However, Butler has now clashed with teammates in Chicago, Minnesota, and Philly, and if he can’t recruit other stars to join him in Miami than the ceiling for the Heat will be a second round exit at best. It is a nice move for the Heat to make them relevant again after the Dwayne Wade era, but they are not going to be a serious threat in the East.

 

Free agent Al Horford signs a four year $109 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers

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The 76ers got a huge pickup when they acquired Al Horford after he opted out of the final year of his contract with the Celtics. Not only can Horford and Embiid be a dominant force under the rim for Philadelphia, but Horford was the key to the Celtics success against the 76ers throughout Embiid’s whole career. This is a significant loss for the Celtics and a great pickup for the Sixers after losing Jimmy Butler. The 76ers can now have one of Horford or Embiid on the court at all times and can become one of the best defensive teams in the NBA this year if both stay healthy.

 

Free agent Malcolm Brogdon signs a 4 year $85 million deal with the Indiana Pacers

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Malcolm Butler may be one of the most underrated players in today’s game. He put up a 50/40/90 season last year for the Bucks and was a key role player to the success of that team. This will certainly be a key loss for Milwaukee and a good pickup for the Pacers. Brogdon will join a core of Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Domantas Sabonis, a team that grabbed the 5 seed last year despite losing Oladipo to injury. I don’t think this moves makes the Pacers a contender by any means, but they could be one of those sneaky young teams that gives a contender trouble.

 

Khris Middelton signs a five year $178 million deal to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks

Toronto Raptors v Milwaukee Bucks

It was expected that Middleton would stay with the Bucks but it was important enough nonetheless. Milwaukee had the best record in the NBA last year and now ensures that it’s two stars will stay together for the long term. I expect the Bucks to be dominant again this season as both Giannis and Middleton continue to improve.

 

Tobias Harris signs a five year $180 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers

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After trading for him in the middle of the season, the 76ers made sure to keep Tobias Harris around. Harris has emerged as a solid perimeter option to complement Simmons and Embiid, and may be able to take on a bigger role now that Jimmy Butler is gone. The 76ers will certainly be among the top three teams in the East year, although bench depth is still a concern.

 

Kawhi Leonard signs 4 year $142 million deal with Clippers, Thunder trade Paul George to Clippers for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and five first round picks

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Perhaps the most stunning and impactful move of the entire offseason was the Los Angeles Clippers managing to land both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Kawhi had been linked to the Clippers as a possible destination, but it wasn’t until he convinced Paul George to ask for a trade that the final decision was made. The Clippers have now overtaken the Lakers as title favorites, and will be one of the best defensive teams in recent memory. Kawhi and Paul George are arguably the two best two-way players in the game today, and pose a deadly threat to opposing offenses. L.A. certainly gave up a lot in the trade, but it was worth the risk to go all out especially given that the Lakers had already made their big splash with Anthony Davis. I do think the Clippers should be the favorites right now and I expect them to reach at least the Western Conference Finals where there may very well be an all-LA showdown.

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul and multiple first round picks.

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After Paul George was traded, it was inevitable that Russell Westbrook would follow suit as the Thunder execute a full rebuild. Although Westbrook’s contract is certainly not ideal, Houston was unable to unload Chris Paul and add a former MVP that is still in his prime. The Rockets should be just as competitive as ever now with Westbrook and Harden reunited. The two LA teams have gotten most of the attention but with Golden State no longer a threat it wouldn’t surprise me if the Rockets made it out of the West this year.

 

Let me know your thoughts on free agency and the NBA offseason in the comments down below.

-Jeff

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TV Review: Chernobyl (2019)

HBO’s Chernobyl is a gripping five part miniseries based on the events that occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on the night of April 26, 1986. The series begins on the night of the explosion, and details the aftermath of the events that took place following the explosion. Jared Harris stars as Valery Legasov, a prominent Soviet chemist who played a critical role as chief of the commission investigating the Chernobyl disaster.

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HBO did an absolutely phenomenal job in all aspects of Chernobyl. The series really made you feel the intensity and fear of a situation that was completely unprecedented. They did a great job of showing both the physical disaster that the radiation was causing, as well as the emotional burden of those who lost loved ones due to radiation poisoning. Some of the scenes showing those who experienced severe radiation poisoning were absolutely terrifying. It was almost hard to believe this was something that really happened, since the disaster seemed like straight out of a movie. I thought Jared Harris turned in an incredible acting performance portraying Professor Legasov, who was the main hero of the story.

The first three episodes kept you on the edge of your seat the entire time while hundreds of men fought to prevent a global nuclear disaster. The last two episodes did a great job explaining both the scientific events and human decisions that actually caused the disaster. It was really fascinating listening to the detailed version of what happened hour by hour and second by second once the Chernobyl commission was able to figure out everything that happened. The series did a great job of answering every single question that pops into your head throughout the series. They spend the end of the last episode giving you all of the facts on the aftermath of Chernobyl and where things stand today.

Overall, this is one of the best TV series I’ve seen probably since Breaking Bad. Chernobyl is an all around terrifying but gripping masterpiece of the events that occurred on the night of April 26, 1986.

IMDB: 9.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
My Rating: 9.8/10

Let me know what you think in the comments down below.

Jeff

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2019 NBA Finals Preview and Prediction

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The 2019 NBA Finals features Kawhi Leonard and the Eastern Conference Champion Toronto Raptors against Stephen Curry and the 5 time defending Western Conference Champion Golden State Warriors. Here is my preview and prediction for the final NBA series of the season.

 

#2 Toronto Raptors @ #1 Golden State Warriors (-300)

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The Raptors are making their first Finals appearance in franchise history under first year head coach Nick Nurse. Meanwhile, the Warriors are appearing in their fifth consecutive Finals and looking to win their fourth title in five years. The only man preventing this series from being an absolute blowout is Kawhi Leonard, who is a former Finals MVP and one of the only Raptors with Finals experience. Kawhi has been lights out this postseason and has singlehandedly carried the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the Raptors bench has finally started to chip in as well. Fred Van Vleet shot 82% from three point range in the final four games of the Eastern Conference Finals. Vanvleet, Lowry, and Siakim will have to take some of the burden off of Kawhi if Toronto wants a chance to win this series.

Steve Kerr and the Warriors have been in this position before, but the uncertainty surrounding Kevin Durant’s injury has made things more interesting for Golden State. Durant had been on fire this postseason before his injury, but the Warriors are also an incredible 30-1 in their last 31 games without Kevin Durant. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green stepped up huge in the four game sweep of Portland in the Western Conference Finals, reminding everyone that these Warriors were still champions before Kevin Durant joined the team. The Warriors biggest challenge will be stopping Kawhi, and they will likely have to throw multiple bodies at him in order to wear him down. The Raptors did a great job defensively against Giannis and the Bucks, but face a much bigger challenge on defense against the Warriors. I think the combination of Steph, Klay, and Draymond will be too much for Toronto to handle, and if Durant and/or Cousins returns during the series then forget about it. Warriors win the series in 6 games, and Steph Curry wins Finals MVP.

 

Let me know your predictions in the comments down below.

Thanks,

Jeff

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2019 NBA Conference Finals Preview and Predictions

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The NBA Playoffs are down to the Final Four. Kawhi takes on Giannis for the Eastern Conference title and Damian Lillard and the Blazers will try to dethrone the four time defending Western Conference champion Warriors. Here is my preview and predictions for the Conference Finals.

 

#2 Toronto Raptors @ #1 Milwaukee Bucks (-275)

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The Raptors have advanced to the conference finals and will not have to face Lebron. However, they may face a bigger challenge against Giannis and the NBA’s best team the Milwaukee Bucks. Kawhi has been lights out throughout the playoffs, single handedly carrying the Raptors to the conference finals with some help from Pascal Siakim. However, Kyle Lowry will need to step to ease some of the offensive pressure on Kawhi against one of the NBA’s best defensive teams. Kahwi and Giannis are obviously the two stars, so this series may come down to role players. Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe for the Bucks along with Lowry and Siakim for the Raptors may be the x factors in this series. Both teams have solid depth and good coaching. However, I think coach Mike Budenholzer for Milwaukee has the coaching advantage over first year Raptors coach Nick Nurse. Giannis will be too much to overcome and home court for the Bucks is key. Milwaukee wins a hard-fought series in 7 games.

 

#3 Portland Trail Blazers @ #1 Golden State Warriors (-530)

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With Kevin Durant sidelined due to injury for at least the first two games, this series may very well be a battle of two of the best backcourts in the league. The splash brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will battle Portland’s duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in what should be a very entertaining West Finals. The Warriors have been here five straight times now, while the Blazers are making their first appearance since 2000. I think Lillard and McCollum will not be afraid of the spotlight and will play great for Portland. The key for the Blazers may be the play of big man Enes Kanter, who has filled in nicely during the playoffs for the injured Jusuf Nurkic. However, if Durant returns in this series and is healthy, I think Golden State will simply be too much to overcome. Warriors win in 6 games.

 

Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments down below.

-Jeff

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Movie Review: Avengers Endgame (2019)

*WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*

 

Avengers Endgame is the final movie in the Avengers saga that has spanned over 20 different Marvel movies. We pick up right where Infinity War left off, with Avengers trying to cope with what happened after Thanos used the Infinity Stones to eliminate half of all life. Not much hope exists, until five years later when Antman emerges from the Quantum Realm and informs the Avengers that there may be a way to get everyone back. It is now up to the Avengers to retrieve the stones and undo what Thanos has done to restore order to the universe once and for all.

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Like many previous Marvel movies, I thought Endgame did an amazing job of combining action and comedy with an interesting and well thought out plot. Although they didn’t really explain how time travel was actually possible, once that was established I thought the movie did a great job of navigating through it. I thought it was cool how the Avengers paired up into different teams to travel to different places to retrieve the infinity stones. It was almost like watching a series of mini-movies, and the flashbacks to different points in previous movies was fun to experience as well. Every single character played an important role, which was a great way to build up to the final battle.

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All great movies have great villains and that’s exactly what Thanos is. The final battle at the end of the movie was nothing short of epic. I loved watching Thanos and his army battle each of the Avengers in the ultimate fight for the universe. I found it very interesting to hear Thanos’ new plan – he realized that the half of the universe that survived would never be able to deal with the half that they lost. Therefore, he now wanted the infinity stones to destroy the universe all together and create a new one. What makes Thanos a fascinating villain in my opinion is that he ultimately wants the universe to thrive, but in order to do so he must sacrifice those who are already living.

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Overall, I thought this movie lived up to very high expectations and will go down as one of the most popular movies of all time. They did a great job of wrapping everything in up in a way that was not only satisfying and entertaining, but emotionally moving as well. It will be a very long time before we ever experience a phenomenon like the Avengers again.

MY FINAL RATING: 9.5/10

 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below.

-Jeff

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2019 NBA Second Round Preview and Predictions

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Eight teams remain in the quest for an NBA Championship. The Warriors are still alive for their third straight title after getting by the scrappy Clippers. Damian Lillard will look to continue his hot postseason play against Denver. The Celtics and Bucks clash in a rematch of last year’s seven game first round series, and Joel Embiid and the Sixers take on Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors

 

#4 Boston Celtics @ #1 Milwaukee Bucks (-300)

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The Celtics will take on the Bucks for the second straight year in the playoffs, although things are quite different from last year’s matchup. The Celtics were the 2 seed facing off against the 7 seed Bucks in the first round without Kyrie or Gordon Hayward. This time, the Bucks have the NBA’s best record and home court advantage in the series, which was critical for the Celtics to have last year when they won Game 7 at home. The best player in the series is obviously Giannis, and the Celtics will have their hands full trying to defend him. However, the Celtics defense played very well against Indiana in the first round, even without Marcus Smart. Khris Middleton will be the x factor for Milwaukee. Middleton destroyed the Celtics in last year’s playoffs, and will be relied upon as a second option with all the focus on Giannis. Brook Lopez could also be a key factor in this series as a big man that can shoot threes. The Celtics front court will certainly have their hands full. The coaching matchup will be a good one: Brad Stevens vs Mike Budenholzer in a seven game series should be entertaining. I think the Celtics put up a great fight but Milwaukee wins the series in 7 games.

 

#3 Philadelphia 76ers @ #2 Toronto Raptors (-245)

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The Raptors took three out of four against the Sixers during the regular season, and are certainly happy they don’t have to face Lebron James in the playoffs this year. In his first season with Toronto, former Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard will look to bring the Raptors to the promised land. Standing in the way are Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and the Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams lost Game 1 at home in the first round but responded by winning four straight to advance. The Sixers are looking to reach their first conference finals since “The Process” began. Pascal Siakim has been an emerging star for Toronto this year, but the Raptors will need Kyle Lowry to contribute as well in order to have success as a team. I think Toronto has better chemistry and depth than Philadelphia, which will be the key to the series. Raptors win in 6 games.

 

#4 Houston Rockets @ #1 Golden State Warriors (-255)

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The Rockets and Warriors will meet in the playoffs for the fourth time in five years and first time since the Warriors won Game 7 in Houston last year to win the Western Conference for the fourth straight time. Both Kevin Durant and James Harden have been on fire offensively and are arguably the two best players in this series. The Warriors looked lackluster after needing 6 games to beat the 8 seed Clippers, while the Rockets easily disposed of a pretty good Utah team in the first round. Houston will certainly be looking for revenge, and Chris Paul may be a key factor. CP3 missed the end of last year’s playoff series with an injury. In terms of injuries, the Warriors lost big man Demarcus Cousins in the first round and will have to deal with a lack of depth going forward. Andrew Bogut and Kevon Looney will have to pick up the slack in the frontcourt. Unlike last year, the Warriors have home court. Durant is playing at an MVP level, and the Warriors still have Steph and Klay. I think it will be a hard fought series but Golden State wins in 6 games.

 

#3 Portland Trail Blazers @ #2 Denver Nuggets (-150)

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Denver was the only team that needed 7 games to advance to the second round, while Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers disposed of Russell Westbrook and the Thunder in five games to advance. Lillard dominated the first round, but a key x factor was Blazers big man Enes Kanter who filled in nicely for the loss of Jusuf Nurkic. Kanter will have a much tougher test when he goes against Denver All Star big man Nikola Jokic. I think the biggest mismatch in this series is at the point guard position. Damian Lillard will destroy Jamal Murray and that will ultimately be the difference in the series. Portland wins in 6 games.

 

Let me know your predictions in the comments down below.

-Jeff

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2019 NBA Playoffs First Round Preview and Predictions

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The playoffs have arrived and there are several interesting storylines to follow over the next couple of months. Can Kevin Durant and the Warriors three-peat? How far can James Harden carry the Rockets? Will the Celtics figure it out after a disappointing regular season? Are Toronto and Milwaukee for real? Without further ado, here are my previews and predictions for the first round.

 

#8 Detroit Pistons @ #1 Milwaukee Bucks (-5000)

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MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo has had a breakout season for the Bucks this year, averaging 27.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 5.9 APG while leading Milwaukee to the best record in the NBA. Coach Mike Budenholzer has also done a fantastic job this year by maximizing the talent on the roster. The Pistons won’t have much of a chance, but Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond may be able to slow Giannis down in the front court for a game or two. Bucks in 5.

 

#7 Orlando Magic @ #2 Toronto Raptors (-1200)

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With a healthy Kawhi Leonard and no Lebron James in the playoffs, the Toronto Raptors may finally have their shot at winning the East. Meanwhile, the Magic have made the playoffs for the first time in seven years and are more than likely just happy to be there. Nikola Vucevic leads the way for Orlando and they have some nice young pieces such as Jonathan Isaac too. However, they will be overmatched by Toronto’s talent and playoff experience. Raptors sweep Magic.

 

#6 Brooklyn Nets @ #3 Philadelphia 76ers (-650)

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets

Like the Magic, the Nets are also back in the playoffs for the first time in a long time. Young point guard D’Angelo Russell will look to prove the Lakers wrong after they traded him last season with a big postseason performance. Key players Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris help round out a Nets team that could be a tough out in the first round. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and company get their second shot at a postseason run after being disposed of in the second round by the Celtics last year. Embiid has had another monster season, and the additions of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris have made the Sixers a dangerous team. I think this could be a close series, but Philly ultimately prevails. Sixers in 6.

 

#5 Indiana Pacers @ #4 Boston Celtics (-500)

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The Celtics struggled during the regular season, but will have a chance to make their fans forget all about it if they can make a deep playoff run. Unlike last year, Boston will have the services of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward available for this year’s playoffs. However, they will be without Marcus Smart for the first couple of rounds. Indiana overachieved throughout the season, but the chances took a significant hit after losing star guard Victor Oladipo. The Pacers will have to rely on Myles Turner and Darren Collison to compete against Boston. I think this will be a very close and hardfought series, but the Celtics emerge in 7 games.

 

#8 Los Angeles Clippers @ #1 Golden State Warriors (-20000)

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Golden State will begin it’s journey to a third straight championship by taking on intrastate rival Los Angeles in their first round matchup. The Warriors haven’t looked like automatic champs throughout this year, but they are a different team when the playoffs roll around. Curry and Durant have had phenomenal seasons once again, and not much can stand in their way. Lou Williams and the Clippers have overachieved this season despite the lack of talent on the roster and trading away their best player in Tobias Harris. Warriors sweep Clippers.

 

#7 San Antonio Spurs @ #2 Denver Nuggets (-245)

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The new look Spurs enter the playoffs without Kawhi Leonard while DeMar Derozan makes his western conference playoff debut. With teammate Lamarcus Aldridge and coach Gregg Popovich, Derozan and the Spurs are still very much a threat to make a run in the West. They will have the experience advantage too over a young Nuggets team. Nikola Jokic has emerged as a star player in the league, and Jamal Murray has proven he can be a deadly scorer at times. I think this will be a close series due to the inexperience of Denver, but in the end Jokic has a monster series and the Nuggets pull off the victory. Denver in 7.

 

#6 Oklahoma City Thunder @ #3 Portland Trail Blazers (+113)

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This series will be a matchup of star point guards with Mr. Triple Double Russell Westbrook facing off against Dame Dolla Damian Lillard. Lillard and McCollum lead one of the NBA’s best backcourts, and will have to step up after star big man Jusuf Nurkic went down with an injury and is out for the season. Westbrook averaged a triple double once again, but Paul George emerged as a true MVP candidate this year and has been outstanding for the Thunder. I think this will be one of the better first round series and go the distance. Blazers in 7.

 

#5 Utah Jazz @ #4 Houston Rockets (-370)

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James Harden has had one of the greatest offensive seasons in NBA history this year, averaging over 36 points per game and over 8 points per game more than anyone else in the NBA. When Chris Paul and Eric Gordon were injured, Harden single handedly revived the Rockets from a losing record to nearly the 2 seed. The key for Houston will be if Chris Paul stays healthy. Houston likely could’ve knocked off Golden State last year with a healthy Chris Paul, and will need him to make a run this year. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have been great for the Jazz, but they drew a tough matchup in the first round this year. Harden will be too much to stop, and the Rockets will win in 6 games.

 

Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments down below.

-Jeff

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