NBA: Western Conference Playoffs Round 2 Preview


#1 Golden State Warriors vs.  #5 Memphis Grizzlies

Season Series: 2-1 Golden State

This WILL be a 7 game series. There will be not be a sweep. It will be physical basketball, there may be blood, some technical fouls, but have no fear, it’s just Playoff Basketball. If there were two teams you wanted to see face off, its these two defensive minded teams. The Warriors and Grizzlies while similar in their physical defensive play, it’s their offensive game plans where things get a lot more interesting. With Mike Conley’s status unclear as well, it’ll be interesting to see how Memphis adjusts without their speedy play maker.

If the Warriors win, credit potential MVP candidate Steph Curry for controlling the pace and getting his Splash Brother counterpart Klay Thompson involved. It’s no secret if these two get going simultaneously, you’ll have more problems than a little bit as we saw in their First Round sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans. With Conley’s status uncertain, one would expect Steph Curry a bit more aggressive on offense as well. Look for him to put on a show!

If the Grizzlies win, credit their tough interior presence on offense and defense. The Grizzlies knows some of this Warriors squad very well too. Zach Randolph played with forward David Lee with the New York Knicks, he was teammates with forward Draymond Green at Michigan State, Marresse Speights was a former member of the Grizzlies as well. Randolph will definitely use this to his advantage, so if Memphis are is deliberate and look to post Randolph early in order to force doubles and make plays, we could be in for an upset.

Prediction: Golden State in 7 

#2 Houston Rockets vs. #3 Los Angeles Clippers

Season Series: 2-2

 The Rockets are in an unfamiliar territory this season behind sharpshooter James Harden. The Rockets defeated the Dallas Mavericks in 5 games and despite a Game 4 collapse. They managed to consistently dominate the Mavericks as expected, Harden averaged 28.4 ppg, 7.8 apg, 3.8 rpg, and 1.2 spg to lead the way for the Rockets.

The Clippers got over a large hump defeating the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in 7 games but how much is left in the tank for point guard Chris Paul, who looked to be favoring a hamstring injury all game but still managed to score 27 points on 9-13 shooting with 5 three pointers? It also goes without saying power forward Blake Griffiin recorded a triple-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in a pivotal Game 7 as well.

If the Rockets win, thank the ever so crafty James Harden for not only his ability to score but continue to bring Dwight Howard along for the ride as well. Howard is averaging 16.6 ppg, 13.8 rpg, and 3.0 bpg for the Rockets so far and he’s been a physical pest for teams all season. Look for him and Harden to knock the Clippers off their game in more ways than one.

If the Clippers win, Chris Paul is certainly poised to take this Clippers squad to a championship. There’s a new sheriff in LA and its as if the trade rejected for “basketball reasons” now has given the Clippers new life. With all the controversy that has surrounded the Clippers, CP3 has found a new gear as of late. Against the Spurs, Paul averaged 19.1 ppg, 10.2 apg, 4.6 rpg and 1.9 spg and kept star power forward Blake Griffin involved which has been the criticism of the past. Griffin is averaging 21.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg, and 5.3 apg. If the Clippers can continue to keep Griffin involved and not too focused on isolation basketball, we could see Lob City on step closer to the NBA Finals.

Prediction: Rockets in 6 

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