NBA Conference Finals Insider Predictions

NBA Conference Finals Insider Predictions

The NBA playoffs has been very exciting so far, and the remaining eight teams in the playoffs are fighting to make it to their respective NBA Conference Finals. As we previously mentioned in our article on the best defensive teams in the NBA this season, defense wins championships, so it is no surprise that two of the best defensive teams in the NBA this year are still in the playoffs. The Memphis Grizzlies, who were one of the teams we mentioned, have put themselves in a great position to eliminate the top seeded Golden State Warriors, thanks in part to the stellar defense of Marc Gasol and Tony Allen. On the other hand, the Atlanta Hawks are currently struggling against the pesky Washington Wizards.

With the second round almost over, here is a look at the teams that will probably play in the NBA Conference Finals.

NBA Western Conference Finals.

In order to predict the likely teams to play in the Conference Finals, we have to take a look at where they currently stand in their current series.

#2. Houston Rockets vs #3. Los Angeles Clippers

Going into this Western Conference semi-final series, there were doubts that the Clippers, who had just endured a grueling seven game series with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, would be able to keep up with the well-rested Rockets, especially with their star point guard Chris Paul, nursing a hamstring injury. 

Without Paul in the lineup, the Clippers were able to come from behind and defeat the Rockets at home, covering the NBA spreads on that game and taking away their home court advantage after the first game, but the Rockets bounced back with a convincing win in game 2. When the series shifted to Los Angeles, the Clippers got their point guard back, but it was their backup players that came up big for them, and helped them take a 2-1 lead against the Rockets. In game 4, they dominated the Rockets in the second half, and coasted to a 33 point lead, inching closer to their first appearance in the Western Conference Finals in franchise history.

The Rockets responded to the pressure, and were able to stave off elimination in game 5, but now need to win a game in Los Angeles, to force a game 7 at the Toyota Center. 

From the look of things, the Clippers are likely going to win the series, which should put them in the Conference Finals.

#1. Golden State Warriors vs #5. Memphis Grizzlies.

This has been the best series in the Western Conference Semi-finals, the Grizzlies have managed to flex their defensive muscles against the top scoring team in the NBA, thanks to Tony Allen’s physical defense against Klay Thompson, which has slowed down the All Star guard. In the first game, the Warriors won a pretty easy game, blowing out the Grizzlies by 15 points and exceeding the NBA over/under totals that were predicted by most linesmakers.

In game 2, the Grizzlies let the Warriors know they weren’t going down without a fight, by handing them their third home loss of the year, taking home court away from them.

When the series shifted to Memphis for game three, the Grizzlies were expecting the Warriors best shot, and they were able to defend their home court, winning a 10 point game. In game 4, the Warriors found their offensive touch, and were able to get the win and even up the series at two games each, and they will have a great chance of taking a three game lead, because Tony Allen won’t play in game 5 due to a hamstring injury, which will give the Warriors guards plenty of room to operate.

If the Grizzlies had Tony Allen at full strength, I would give them a chance to win this series, but without a perimeter defender of that caliber to slow down the Splash Brothers, I am going with the Warriors to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Western Conference Finals Odds and Predictions

If the Clippers and Warriors meet in the NBA Western Conference Finals, it will be a rematch of the first round series between the two teams last year, which was a seven game classic won by the Clippers. The Warriors will be the favorites because they won two of the three meetings between both teams during the regular season, but I will pick the Clippers to win it, because the Warriors were unable to slow down Chris Paul and Blake Griffin last year, and will likely struggle again this year.

NBA Eastern Conference Finals

Just like the Western Conference, we will have to take a look at where the teams stand in their current semi-final series, to determine which two teams will advance to the Conference Finals.

#1. Atlanta Hawks vs #5. Washington Wizards

The Atlanta Hawks were one of the best defensive teams in the NBA all year, but haven’t been very consistent so far in the playoffs, which has haunted them at times. They dropped their first game of the series to the Wizards, in a game where they were unable to slow down John Wall, but in the second game, they were able to even the series, thanks in part to Wall sitting out the game with a wrist injury.

In game 3, the Hawks tried to get back their home court advantage, but they were unable to, due to a game winning field goal from Paul Pierce, as time ran out. They finally got back on track in game 4, and were able to tie up the series, and take back the home court advantage. With John Wall’s status still uncertain, and the Hawks having home court advantage back, I think Atlanta will be able to hold off Washington, and advance to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

#2. Cleveland Cavaliers vs #3. Chicago Bulls

This was one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the playoffs, and it definitely hasn’t disappointed. The Bulls drew first blood when they defeated the Cavaliers in the first game of the series, leading the game from the opening tip. In the second game, the Cavaliers were able to even the series. In game 3, both teams played a very tight game, but the Bulls prevailed due to a buzzer beating game winner by Derrick Rose, but the Bulls lost All Star center Pau Gasol to a hamstring injury.

Without Gasol in game 4, the Bulls struggled offensively, and still had a chance to win the game at the end, but LeBron James ended their hopes by winning the game with a buzzer beating game winner of his own, helping the Cavaliers regain their home court advantage. In game 5, the Cavaliers put the Bulls on the brink of elimination with a win, and have a chance to wrap up the series in Chicago. 

With Pau Gasol expected to play in game 6, the Bulls will even the series at 3-3, but they will likely lose game 7 in Cleveland, which will set up a matchup between the top seeded Hawks and 2nd seeded Cavaliers in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

Eastern Conference Finals Odds and Predictions

The Cavaliers have been the favorite team to represent the East in the NBA finals all year long, and they will go into the series against the Hawks as the favorites, despite the Hawks having a better regular season record, and 3-1 regular season series win. I’m going to pick the Cavaliers to win the series, and make it to the NBA Finals, because the Hawks haven’t played as well as they did in the regular season during their playoff run.

 
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