2014 NBA Playoff Roundtable – Predicting the Western Conference

Fourteen have fallen by the wayside. Sixteen have survived. In two weeks, about half of those remaining teams will see their respective runs end. By the time the rains consume the skies again in late May, each conference will have its champion. Finally, by mid-June, a new King of the basketball mountain will emerge.

Of course, the Miami Heat might just win it all again, and it’ll be the same King.


As exciting and highlight-filled the regular season has been, this is the part of the NBA calendar that every person – player, coach, fan, ballboy, the guy who sells hotdogs outside the bleachers – really waits for. This is when one just throws percentages out the window. This is when tanking is just fiction. This is when fouls are harder, misses clang a little louder, and made shots feel much sweeter.

KD's Thunder have gone 1-up on the Grizz, while Curry's dubs upset CP3's
Clips in Game 1 of their first round series.

This is when only one thing really matters – winning that NBA Championship.

Together with some really intense NBA fans, we now give you our preview of what should go down in history as one of the tightest and most memorable Playoffs ever.

Here are the folks who have taken time to give their two cents:

Levi Verora (LV) - currently writing for Rappler Sports; has recently been spotted with some hot girls at the just-concluded 2014 Asian Volleyball Club Championships for Men here in Manila.

Rolly Mendoza (RM) - currently writing for HoopNut.com; has a love-hate relationship with Chris Bosh and thinks Chalmers has been more Wario than Super Mario this season.

Jay Santiago (JS) - the everyman who follows the NBA closer than he’d care to admit; recently won the 2013-2014 Hoop Nut Fantasy NBA League (and, consequently, adidas gift checks); Spurs superfan to the core.

Enzo Flojo (EF) - founder of HoopNut.com and currently writing for Rappler Sports; has recently been spotted overeating at home in lieu of an out-of-town trip for Holy Week; a solid supporter of the anybody-but-Miami movement about to sweep the globe.

In Part Two of this Playoff Preview series, we will look at the Western Conference first round Playoff match-ups.

Note: Most of the following were written BEFORE today's games were played. If there were any "wrong" predictions, well then chalk that up to the Basketball Gods, who are really the ones in control of everything anyway.

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs (8) Dallas Mavericks:
LV: Spurs in 6. San Antonio is the best team in Texas. While Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis make their respective returns to the postseason, the Spurs will be give them a rude welcoming.

RM: Spurs in 5 because they are a very unselfish team (have you seen their team selfie?) and will probably give their rivals from Texas one home game win. Patty Mills will try to outshoot and outscore Monta Ellis during his limited minutes.

JS: San Antonio over Dallas in 5. A travel-friendly Texas schedule will go a long way for the Spurs ancients in their quest for revenge. Dirk resembles his peak form and will be a tough cover on offense with Monta Ellis as double threat, but a defense that includes Ellis will also be repeatedly shredded with ease by clockwork Spurs basketball.

EF: I am a fan of Dallas and how they Mavs denied LeBron in 2011, but they’re over-the-hump and just don’t have it in them to win another ring. San Antonio, on the other hand, has too much of a grudge to let anything in their way. Spurs take this in Game Five.

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (7) Memphis Grizzlies:
LV: Thunder in 5. Both squads will be facing each other in the playoffs for the 3rd time in 4 years but this is the first time there will be a soon-to-be-named MVP on either camp. (Durant!)

RM: Thunder in 6 because Serge Ibaka and Zach Randolph will wrestle and get thrown out for 1 game, maybe even 2 games (sure wins for OKC). Kevin Durant will average 40 to make the Grizzlies grit and grind their teeth in helplessness.

JS: Oklahoma City over Memphis in 7. Durant-led OKC can beat anybody, but expect the burly Grizzlies to roar back against the Thunder. High-powered OKC will survive Memphis’ grinding playoffs style in what I think is the most competitive playoff matchup in the West.

EF: Memphis stung the Westbrook-less Thunder last year, and they will feel awfully confident this time. Sadly, Westbrook (and the MVP – guess who?) should show Conley and the Grizzlies exactly what shoulda happened in 2013, which is Thunder in 6.

(3) LA Clippers vs (6) Golden State Warriors:
LV: Clippers in 6. Steph Curry has been terrific all-season long, but without Andrew Bogut, the Warriors are in trouble.

RM: Clippers in 7 because we, the fans, want to see a long series. Blake Griffin will scuffle with David
Lee, Draymond Green, etc. but Blake will have the last laugh by dunking on all of them. The Splash Brothers will make their threes but CP3 will dish out more dimes (3<10).

JS: LA Clippers over Golden State in 4. The Clippers enter the playoffs with their first legitimate chance to win it all, and it starts with a highly entertaining run n’ gun contest with Golden State featuring the Splash Brothers. This will be a one-sided sweep showcasing LAC as a complete team and the Warriors lamenting the loss of Andrew Bogut to a rib injury (as of this writing, Blake Griffin has five fould and Iggy has fouled out in Game One).

EF: Should be the “fun” series out West, which is kinda what the CHI-TOR is in the East. The top two PGs on the planet go head-to-head, but CP3 should come out the winner mainly because Blake Griffin > David Lee.

(4) Houston Rockets vs (5) Portland Trail Blazers:
LV: Rockets in 6. Dwight Howard went to Houston for a championship, which answers the question "Will he play in the playoffs?"

RM: Rockets in 7 because "Linsanity" will show up and play Damian Lillard tough. There's also the chance that James Harden averages more than 30 while head-bobbing his way to the freethrow line 15x a game. Dwight will get his share of FTs during Hack-a-Howard.

JS: Houston over Portland in 6. In a star-studded matchup of high scoring teams, defensive matchups will be the key – Batum on Harden and Beverly on Lillard. Blazers fans will add to the fast-growing haters of Beverly, who gets to fluster the sophomore star Lillard who normally exudes veteran cool.

EF: This could go all the way, but I think the Beard and the Dwightmare are out to prove a lot of doubters wrong. Also, I think Omer Asik shuts down LMA in at least one game. Rockets soar in six.

In Part One, we took a look at the Eastern Conference, and then, in Part Three, we pick the Conference Champs and the overall NBA Kings!

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