Beyond the Arc

by Ben Fiore

 

doc_0104

Above is a very poor image of a shit quality bracket, but I think it’s going to prove to be quite accurate.  The playoffs are finally upon us in the NBA and there are going to be a lot of good match ups especially with some unusual faces appearing in the playoffs this year, but ultimately, I think we all know the end result…

1st Round:

#1 Golden State Warriors vs #8 LA Clippers: I see this as a series that will test the Warriors more than you might think, although it will only take them 5 games to get past this test.  Montrezl Harrell, Pat Bev and others have kept this Clippers team surprisingly relevant with my man Doc Rivers at the helm.  They are strong, but not nearly strong enough to knock off the team of the generation.  Warriors in 5.

#2 Denver Nuggets vs #7 San Antonio Spurs: I see the Spurs as a feisty team that could surprise a team that I just don’t have a lot of faith in the Nuggets.  Out of all of the first round match ups, this  is the one that I am most likely to possibly be wrong about.  DeRozan is hungry to prove something and LaMarcus Aldridge is a playoff performer. Plus you can NEVER count out Pop.  But I think that Jokic and the Nugs are too unexplainably hot to bounce out so soon, so I have Denver in 6.

#3 Portland Trailblazers vs #6 Oklahoma City Thunder: Portland is the Toronto of the West. Doesn’t matter how strong they seem, they aren’t a playoff team.  I love Dame, but Russ, Adams and an MVP caliber PG13 look too hungry and hot at the end of the year for me to doubt them.  Russ is in playoff mode and PG has just been too elite. They have proven to be clutch and beat great teams no matter what they’re seeded at.  Thunder in 6.

#4 Houston Rockets vs #5 Utah Jazz: James Harden is probably playing his best basketball in his career.  Despite the rest of the Rockets (Paul, Capela and others) slacking lately, I think that they will get it together to knock out the Jazz.  I love how talented Donovan Mitchell is, but he’s not James Harden yet.  Rudy Gobert has been too inconsistent for me to believe they have post control.  Just telling it how it is, which is Rockets in 6.

#1 Milwaukee Bucks vs #8 Detroit Pistons: I love Detroit, I love Blake Griffin, I love Dwayne Casey but that doesn’t matter.  Because I also love the Bucks and they are literally the best team in the league and have the best player this year in Giannis.  Plain and simple this series isn’t fair.  I’ve got the Bucks with a sweep in 4.

#2 Toronto Raptors vs #7 Orlando Magic: First of all, hats off to the Magic for making it here honestly.  But they have to attempt to lock down Kawhi, Kyle Lowry and Pau Gasol.  And as much as I like that team, they can’t do that. The Raptors historically are a playoff choker, but not in the first round.  They are too physical for Orlando to handle which is why I see the Raptors taking them down in 5 games.

#3 Philadelphia 76ers vs #6 Brooklyn Nets: Yet again another team I’m happily surprised with in Brooklyn.  D-Lo is popping off and has lead them to a great year.  But Joel, Jimmy, Simmons and the rest of that high powered house of pain is ready to rip through the playoffs.  Joel is in top form and Jarrett Allen won’t be able to keep up.  D-Lo will have to deal with Jimmy Butler and or Ben Simmons.  The Nets are scrappy and I see them snagging 2 games, but ultimately I see Philly in 6 games.

#4 Boston Celtics vs #5 Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have stayed surprisingly competitive despite not having Victor Oladpio.  They still have skill, and can surprise us but I just see the Celtics as being fired up enough to tear through them.  Kyrie and the young guns have a lot to prove after not fulfilling the regular season expectations the league put on them.  So for that, I see the Celtics in 6.

2nd Round:

#1 Golden State Warriors vs #4 Houston Rockets: Simply put, GSW is still too strong.  Houston will be competitive and give them a hard time and steal 2 games.  But simply put James can’t defeat them by himself.  Golden State is just superior and Houston has lost a little luster.  I see Golden State moving on after 6 games.

#2 Denver Nuggets vs #6 Oklahoma City Thunder: I have Denver sneaking  into this round, but this is where I see their luck running out.  OKC will ignite into prime form and Russ and the boys will eat Denver alive and expose their weaknesses.  OKC in 6.

#1 Milwaukee Bucks vs #4 Boston Celtics: This is where Boston will unravel.  Their internal tension will boil in this series after getting waxed by the Bucks.  Milwaukee will run a muck on them and destroy them.  They might sneak 1 game, but Boston is just too dysfunctional right now so I’m saying Bucks in 5.

#2 Toronto Raptors vs #3 Philadelphia 76ers:  This will be the best non-finals match up of the playoffs.  This series is sadly though where Toronto will choke again.  This will be a tightly contested series with similar play styles going head to head.  But ultimately I just think Philly has more endurance and longevity compared to the Raptors so I’m calling it that Philly takes this after a long 7 game series.

3rd Round:

#1 Golden State Warriors vs #6 Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC up until this point will have shown strength and energy but will ultimately get shot down by the Warriors. They just aren’t at the same level of talent and the matchups heavily favor the Warriors.  The Warriors will easily advance to the finals yet again after beating OKC in 5.

#1 Milwaukee Bucks vs #3 Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers will no doubt be the toughest test for the Bucks, but Giannis and that supporting cast will overcome that challenge.  Giannis has locked down Simmons, Jimmy and Joel this season and will do it again in this series.  It will be tough and hard fought, but the Bucks will advance to the finals in 6.

The Finals:

#1 Golden State Warriors vs #1 Milwaukee Bucks: This clash of the titans will be a historical finals for the ages.  Think of the matchups in Steph and Bledsoe, Klay and Brogdon, Giannis and Durant, Boogie and a surprisingly resurgent Lopez.  This series will be amazing with a lot of back and forth.  I love the Bucks and have a lot of faith in them.  Though I have to give Golden State the edge for their advantage in experience and undeniable talent.  The Golden State Warriors will win in 6 games and be your finals champions once again.

Well folks, I know that’s a lot of bold and lengthy information, but it’s simply what I see happening.  I’ll be hosting polls on twitter for each series so please join in.   I’m excited for the NBA playoffs and you should be too.  Now it’s time for tip-off.

Advertisements

Written by benfiore

NBA writer of Beyond the Arc. Employee, podcast host and writer for Thoughts From the Bench.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s