The NBA Playoffs are on to the second round in the Western Conference beginning Saturday, April 28th, so here is my preview and prediction for the two series.
#6 New Orleans Pelicans @ #2 Golden State Warriors (-850)
The New Orleans Pelicans will be rested when they take on the defending champs, after being the only team to sweep their first round series. Golden State will be rested as well, after having disposed of the Spurs in five games to win their 10th straight Western Conference playoff series. With the status of Stephen Curry still very much in doubt, I think the Pelicans have a real chance in this one. Anthony Davis is arguably the best player in the series right up there with Kevin Durant. The Pelicans backcourt of Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday has been outstanding in the playoffs. The Warriors still have the firepower with Durant, Green, and Thompson, but I don’t see how anyone on that team defense Anthony Davis, and I think Rondo and Holiday will give the Warriors guards a lot of trouble on defense. Head coach Alvin Gentry has been doing a great job with the rotations for New Orleans so far in the Playoffs. Pelicans win the series in 6.
#5 Utah Jazz @ #1 Houston Rockets (-600)
The surprising Utah Jazz have continued their run into the Western Conference Semifinals, where they will take on the NBA’s best regular season team in the Houston Rockets. Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, and even Ricky Rubio played great for Utah against OKC in the first round. Meanwhile, Harden had his ups and downs but Houston ultimately took control of the series against Minnesota and won in five. Psychologically, this will be a test for the Rockets with their two star guards James Harden and Chris Paul being notorious for early playoff exits and underachieving. I think Gobert will dominate the paint and take away a lot of the drives from Harden, while Donovan Mitchell will once again be a start. Utah upsets Houston in 7.
Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments down below.