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2018 NBA Playoffs Bracket Western Conference Predictions

2018 NBA Playoffs Bracket Western Conference Predictions

It was a wild race heading into the NBA’s Western Conference playoffs. And it’s about to get wilder even as it’s at a boiling point right now. Let’s take a look.

2018 NBA Playoff Bracket – Western Conference Predictions

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(1) Rockets VS. (8) Timberwolves

Minnesota clawed its way into the playoffs only to find Houston at the end of the line.

I don’t think the Timberwolves have enough in them to stop the Rockets offense. Houston, in fact, swept them in the regular season apart from Minnesota having the second worst defensive field goal percentage in the league.

In any case, this will be James Harden’s series. If he doesn’t have a meltdown as he had against the Spurs when the Rockets crashed and burned in Game 6, Houston will pass through rather easily.

Harden’s seems more focused than ever though and he plays like someone who knows what’s coming for him. He’s probably licking his chops knowing he’ll be up against the worst defensive team in the West playoffs.

Prediction: Houston will be a hot knife through butter in defeating the Timberwolves.

(2) Warriors vs. (7) Spurs

This is becoming somewhat of a thing with the Spurs facing the Warriors for the second consecutive year.

It’ll also be the second time the Spurs will have to try it without Kawhi Leonard.

It’s good for San Antonio that the Warriors are without Stephen Curry; but, that still leaves Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. LaMarcus Aldridge will have his hands full, but he’ll just have to step up otherwise it’ll be a quick series.

Even without Curry, the Warriors can work like a well-oiled scoring machine. Durant has been enough to lead the charge and could spearhead the advance to the next round.

Nevertheless, for all that Golden State can output on offense they can’t forget defense. Sadly, they’ve dropped the ball more than twice in their last 10 games of the season in allowing 109.1 points in that span.

Prediction: Curry’s absence makes the Warriors a bit shaky in the playoffs, but not by much and not in this series. The Spurs certainly don’t have the firepower to knock them off and I don’t think they will. The Warriors will win the series.

(3) Trail Blazers vs. (6) Pelicans

Both of these teams came up with big wins in the last day of the regular season.

But, there’s arguably more pressure on Portland considering how many games they won in the second half of their schedule including a 13-game winning streak. Surprisingly, they fizzled out in the last month.

Don’t discount New Orleans who is now on a five-game win streak. It’s going to be all on Anthony Davis for the Pelicans. If Davis can outplay anyone the Blazers set on him, the Pelicans have a good opening to score at least 25-27 points.

Prediction: I don’t know how many high-scoring nights Anthony Davis has in him. If there’s two or three, the Pelicans will make a strong run to win the series. If Portland can slow him down, it’ll be easier for Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum to rack up points to win games. I’m betting on Portland.

(4) Thunder vs. (5) Jazz

The Thunder is roiling after not being able to beat Portland on Wednesday night. The loss punished them by missing out on the No. 3 seed and having to settle for the fourth seed.

A win would also have given them the home-court advantage, which is, for Utah, a big edge as one of the hardest courts to play in the league.

Oklahoma is making a big gamble after putting together the trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. But, for now, things haven’t panned out as they expected. Instead of Texas gold, they’ve struck far less success.

The Jazz has also transformed itself into a defensive giant and will test the Thunder’s attack hoping to break it. If Utah can slow down the pace, they’ll grind down OKC’s attack and then pounce for the win. With Rudy Gobert back in the fold, the Jazz is the best defensive rated team in the league at 97.5.

Prediction: This will be a real test that pits a great defense against fantastic individual players. I would believe the Jazz has the upper-hand, but being that they don’t have the offense themselves to counter then I favor the Thunder to win. 

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