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NBA Playoffs 2015: Breaking Down Round 1 Matchups

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Here we are once more, as greatness will be witnessed upon us again. The NBA playoffs are underway. We break down each matchup in Round 1.

(5) Washington Wizards vs (4) Toronto Raptors



The Raptors are kicking off the playoffs at home just like they did last year but are facing a new opponent and that's the Washington Wizards. The Raptors are coming off a 49-33 season which wasn't better than last years but they were still impressive. Washington added Pierce to their squad but lost Ariza, their bench isn't that deep but it helps their starters for a good 5-10 minute rest and their bench plays defense. Toronto is averaging 104 points a game and that's the fourth best in the league which will be a tough matchup for the Wizards. The Raptors offense consists of a fast pace offense that will beat you to the rim and draw fouls to get to the free throw line. They don't take dumb shots because none of them want to be the superstar of that team. The Wizards have an all star PG in John Wall, the thing that bugs me about him is that he takes shots that aren't necessary for his team & they're not good shots and its wasting possessions like that. The bigs for Toronto have a better advantage because of the way they play, they can make 20 foot jump shots and Valanciunas can shoot the three as well. Hilario doesn't matchup well with Amir Johnson and that's an advantage for him to take in the post. Louis Williams is the Raptors six man that can play on both sides of the floor just as good as Kyle Lowry can & that's a HUGE advantage because he will bring you a good 20-25 minutes off the bench and score 20-23 points a game for you. In all I think the Raptors are a better coached team & having home court advantage with that crowd of theirs will help massively. Prediction: Raptors 4-2 Wizards

(8) New Orleans Pelicans vs (1) Golden State Warriors



For me, it's a no brainier who wins here. Not disrespecting the Pelicans or anything but I think that Golden State is to much for them as they have the best shooter in the world and a top 5 shooter in Klay Thompson. Their bench isn't so great but it's just above average, all of them can hit threes but it's not just that because Barnes, Green, & Iggy can easily take you to the rim. David Lee has a pretty good post game and he can hit a 10-15 foot jumper. He's a good rebounder and is aggressive underneath the rim, Bogut on the other hand isn't so aggressive but needs to play big in the playoffs. Good rebounder, but doesn't show up when he needs to. The Pelicans have Anthony Davis who is one of the best players in the world today, as well as Tyreke Evans who can shoot the ball and swings it around real well. He's a good decision maker which helps the team a lot, as well as a great three point shooter in Eric Gordon & a underrated PG in Jrue Holiday. That's not enough to beat the Warriors though, they only have two losses at home and have home court advantage throughout the playoffs. 
Prediction: Warriors 4-1 Pelicans

(6) Milwaukee Bucks vs (3) Chicago Bulls



We haven't seen Derrick Rose play in the playoffs since about 3 years ago. He's finally back this year and his team is looking for a championship. He's gotta get past the Bucks first to do so. The Bulls are one of the best teams in the NBA when healthy because they have an explosive/athletic PG in Derrick Rose, who can take it to the rim as good as anyone and has a pull jumper that's deadly. A top 3 defender in Jimmy Butler who's offense is improving massively, especially his three point shot. His jump shot will hurt you in the closing moments of a game and that's key. Gasol and Noah are the best passers in the NBA in regarding the position of PF/C. Gasoline jumper and post game has been much better since he has people around him who play as decoys around him and Noah is a defensive player that will kill you while trying to post up. His offense isn't so great but it's average. Their bench is very good and will sometimes out score your starters because of hard they play, Mircotic, Brooks, Gibson, & Snell. Don't count the Bucks out though, they have a good PG in MCW who's an all around player, especially on the defensive side of the floor. Anteokounmpo is a 6'10 F who can rebound the ball and give your team second point chances. He's a force of nature as he drives to the rim so viciously when you see him coming at you you'd want to get out of his way. On the fast break he's scary because he doesn't care who's in his way he will dunk the damn basketball in the rim. O.J. Mayo & Tyler Ennis are good bench players that shoot the three ball real well and give you 10 points off the bench. IIyasova and Middleton short the three ball as well and play good defense, to me it's whether the Bucks can stop the Bulls offense and it'll be tough to do. 
Prediction: Bulls 4-2 Bucks 

(7) Dallas Mavericks vs (2) Houston Rockets



It's the battle of Texas, Houston vs Dallas! Houston is coming off an incredible season as they grabbed the 2 seed in this years playoffs. In the mind of many, they have the MVP for this season in James Harden. He's carried them down the stretch during the second half of the season while his Center Dwight Howard was out for 26 games. He's averaging 27.1 points per game and 7 assist as well. He's has the most 40 point games this season and is tied for the most 50 point games at 2. Along side him he has Dwight Howard who can rebound the ball and get to the foul line even though he isn't a great FT shooter. His post game isn't so good but it'll allow you to double at times and he kick it out to a wide open three point shooter. Ariza and Terry deadly from behind the arc and they're veterans that have a lot of playoff experience. Terrence Jones is a tremendous offensive rebounder and creates second chance points for his team. Josh Smith is their six man who was playing horrible under Stan Van Gundys system is playing a little bit better with Houston. His FT shooting is just poor & that needs to come through for him this year if he wants to succeed. Brewer is another guy that gives you depth because he has a good jump shot that's consistent enough to bring one of your starter out & not having to worry because Corey can score 10-15 points in 15-20 minutes. Regarding the Mavs, they're a scary team in the west because of the way they play. Rondo hasn't been living up to the hype that people expected him to when he joined Dallas & he's just not fitting in, Monte Ellis is a stud who can shoot the three ball consistently & efficiently. His urge to take the ball to the basket is incredible because you don't see a guy who's 6'3 that wants to do that. His pull up jumper will come out of nowhere and it kills a defender from stopping him. Parsons needs to play great if they want to win this series, he's always had bad second halfs when he's in a playoff series. He starts off at a high level and then that decreases once the game reaches the third and fourth quarter. Dirk is dirk no matter how old he gets, his fadeaway jumper is phenomenal ever since he came into the league & his three point shot always comes in the closing moments of the game. Tyson chandler is getting a little old but can still play defense and grab rebounds. The only problem with their bench is that they're to old & it's their first year those guys are together. The key here is Rondo because if he can make the plays that we know he can make & it has a big impact on every game then they'll beat them. They need to defend James Harden well & get him frustrated so that he takes bad shots & wastes possessions. 
Prediction: Rockets 4-2 Mavs

(7) Boston Celtics vs (2) Cleveland Cavaliers


The Boston Celtics are finally back in the NBA playoffs but they have a meeting with King James. He's back home in Cleveland & he's looking for his third championship. The Cavs started off slow by building team chemistry & different guys having to play a new role on a new team. All of that has developed throughout the season and they're the second favorite to win the title. Their squad has added multiple players including Jr. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Shawn Merion, Mozgov, Mike Miller & James Jones. Kyrie Irving has improved to a higher level as a point guard in a year which is pretty hard to do. Lebron is Lebron & you really can't ask for more when you need him the most. Love has I think in my mind downgrade as a player overall since last year and that's because he's on a team that has good players around him and his role is totally different now. Tristan Thompson is just massively aggressive under the rim & he's one of the best offensive rebounders in the league. He creates second point chances for HIMSELF because he's confident he'll put the ball in the rim after grabbing the rebound. The Celtics are a young team that have been impressive this year, Evan Turner is a stud as well as Isiah Thomas ever since they traded to get him at the deadline. What a player he's been for the team. Marcus Smart is slowly fitting in as a rookie and it's hard to do once you're in the pros. Bradley hustles and plays very hard, he has great defense & I expect him to play well on that side of the floor in the first round. Jerebko, Sullinger, Olynyk, & Crowder are all good bench players that could start but are accepting their roles and playing well in them. They're gaining chemistry as a team as the games go by & it's helpful to Brad Stevens. But, they're facing the best overall player in the world and his squad which will be to much for Boston. 
Prediction: Cavs 4-1 Celtics 

(8) Brooklyn Nets vs (1) Atlanta Hawks



Surprisingly, the Atlanta Hawks are the number one seed coming into the playoffs as they were the 8th seed last year. They're on a three game losing streak coming into the playoffs but that doesn't matter. Kyle Korver is going to have a big series from behind the arc and that will lead to success. Jeff Teague is a excellent PG whose pull up jumper is very good and takes it to rac well. Al Horford and Paul Milsap are two bigs that are a great duo and both can hit 15 foot jumpers and score off post moves. Their bench is young and fast which helps a lot on the fast break, I am shocked with the way they score and they rarely miss on the fast break. Their half court offense is meh but It'll work its way out. The nets barely got in the playoffs which is why I'm picking the Hawks to win this series 4-1. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams will carry the load as they try to come up with some type of plan to upset the one seed. Both guys excel at the three point line and Brook Lopez is a beast in the paint. Thaddeus Young has improved a lot since joining the team and he's brought physical and mental toughness to the team, their bench is alright but not anything special. The Nets won't hang with the Hawks simply because they don't match up that good with them. 
Prediction: Hawks 4-1 Nets

(5) Memphis Grizzles vs (4) Portland Trail Blazers



This one is going to be my favorite series of the first round and I think it's going 7 games. Memphis will get home court advantage since they had a better record, even though they're the 5th seed. The Blazers squad is missing Wesley Matthews due to an Achilles injury, but their roster is still deep and can go far in the playoffs if they past the first round. Lillard in company is a premier point guard that has a great three point shot & can create shots for his teammates. Batum is a great dribbler and he has an amazing jump shot, especially he corner. He can drive to the basket as well if he sees an opening, Aldridge is a beast in the paint and his post game is phenomenal. His 20 foot jumper is just excellent and you wouldn't want to force him to take that shot. With the addition of Arron Affalo, he brings great offense and good defense. His offense revolves around the three point line and and pull up jumpers. McCollum has good defense and he's a help on the offensive side of the ball. Wright has great size to take the ball to the rim, his shot is improving which is helpful since he can work on both sides of the end. Gasol & Randolph are such a powerhouse in the post, Gasol can shoot behind the arc if he chooses to and he's hard to defend. Tony Allen is a top 3 defender in the league but his offensive game is poor. Mike Conely is a PG who's developing to be legit in the NBA, he's a fantastic passer & can drive it to the rim so good. His jumper is deadly from behind the arc & it helps so much because you don't know if he'll just take a step back and hit a three. Green is a sensational player on the offensive side of the floor, he plays hard, hustles, and is so aggressive while driving in. His shot isn't so bad and his favorite spot is the corner, key addition to this team. Their bench is good and their team chemistry is great. There's gonna be so much so many close games that will come down to the wire in the closing moments. 
Prediction: Grizzles 4-3 Blazers

(6) San Antonio Spurs vs (3) Los Angles Clippers



It doesn't matter if the defending champs are not the one seed, the Spurs are going to find success no matter who they go through. But, they'll have a meeting with the Clippers to start of their quest for a two peat. You should already know who the Spurs have, and the Clippers are called a "show" team to some people. But they will put up a huge fight against the defending champs in this series which I think will go to 7 games. This is all about CP3, this series is going to define him because he hasn't gone past the second round in the playoffs in his career. If he can beat the Spurs, he will carry that momentum into the next round. I think overall as a team the Spurs have the deepest bench in the league and some of the best players to ever play the game. The Clippers are a great team as well, but their bench is no match for the Spurs bench. The Spurs bench consists of Ginobli, Brilneli, Mills, & Banes. They all won a title together and that's a key thing because their chemistry is so good. The clippers are a good team and they have some three point shooters as well, but I don't think it will be enough to take the Spurs down though. Unless, if they work together and don't be dumb with the basketball. 
Prediction: Spurs 4-3 Clippers 

With the playoffs now underway, who will pave their path to greatness?

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TheSportMatrix • We Live For Sport: NBA Playoffs 2015: Breaking Down Round 1 Matchups
NBA Playoffs 2015: Breaking Down Round 1 Matchups
NBA 2015 Playoffs preview.
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TheSportMatrix • We Live For Sport
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