Playoffs, Baby!

And now the fun begins.

A whirlwind of a final day of the regular season. New Orleans is in, OKC is out (yeah, head-shaker I know). Brooklyn is in, Indiana is out. Before we get to the matches, let us know what you think. Which teams will win Round 1?

West Round1 Winners?

East Round1 Winners?




Wizards @ Raptors
On paper the Wizards starters are seriously good and balanced, but I hate their depth. The Raptors are a defense-first team with a defensive-minded coach. I am afraid this may come down to home court advantage. Raptors in 7.

Bucks @ Bulls
The Bucks are an up and coming team with a bright future under Jason Kidd. However, the Bulls are a playoffs-tested group of guys with or without a 100% Derrick Rose. Bulls have this matchup. The question, as our Tangent brought up, is -- can we rely on our Bucks picks? Bulls in 5.

Celtics @ Cavs
Congratulations to the Celtics for being rewarded for fighting to get into the playoffs, and they deserve it. And.. that's about it. Cavs in 4.

Nets @ Hawks
New York at least have a team in the playoffs. The Nets are only good on paper, and if what Paul Pierce said is true, they don't deserve this playoff slot ahead of the Pacers. The Hawks, on the other hand, is having their best one in years. Hawks in 5.

Blazers @ Grizzlies
The Grizzlies were supposed to be 2nd seed a week ago, but this 5th seed team will take their home court advantage against the 4th seed Blazers. Weird? Believe it. Look for some changes on the seeding next season. For now, the Blazers will have to live with that, and the injuries. Grizzlies' D in 5.

Spurs @ Clippers
The perfectionist Clippers are in for a ride. The Spurs, as always, have been playing great and are bringing that momentum into the playoffs. I am smelling another great Spurs run deep into the playoffs. Spurs in 6.

Mavs @ Rockets
The Mavs have yet to be consistent in their play, but if Playoff Rondo gets his cape on, I like their chances. James Harden will be a thorn on the Mavs' side, but if they can contain him, I like their chances even more. It will be a battle of analytics. You know me, Carlisle in 7.

Pelicans @ Warriors
I would have loved seeing Westbrook tear up Steph Curry, but hey this is Anthony Davis' time to shine. Enjoy him while this lasts, and see the future of the NBA show us what damage he can do. Warriors in 4.

Tomorrow, we get into our picks. But for now, it's impossible that you agree with me, so let me hear it in the comments. Fire!


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31 comments:

  1. Raptors vs Wiz I agree will be close with a slight edge to Toronto.

    Bulls in 5 like you said. Possibility of a Carter-Williams pick dependent on certain factor. He's my top pick as far as PRA on that team is concerned.

    Cavs will destroy the Celtics. And do we even pick any Celtics? I tend to think not. Evan Turner is the best PRA as of late, but that rotation is crazy inconsistent & Brad Stephens will ride his bench on any given night if they get hot. Prob too risky.

    Super disappointed in the Pacers. They'd make for a much better matchup here. Hawks will easily beat the Nets are Lopez/Williams & even Johnson make for interesting possible picks here.

    Poor Blazers. The Grizzlies will take them out without too much trouble. Aldridge & Lillard the only picks worthwhile here & I'd save Lillard for the elimination game.

    Spurs vs. Clippers is a horrible thing to see in the first round. Both of these teams deserve to at least make it to the second round & it's going to be quite the slug fest. I'm staying away from any picks here until I'm forced to pick a Clipper or two. I can live with not picking any Spurs if they happen to get eliminated, but I do think the Spurs will pull this out.

    Rocket vs Mavs will be close, but I do think you're letting the Mav fan in you make this prediction as I certainly see the edge with the Rockets, especially if it goes 7. However, if Rondo turns it on in a serious way, I agree it will be a very compelling series.

    This should be OKC in the 8th spot. This last day of the season couldn't have gone any worse as far as the teams / matchups it created IMO. Golden State won't have any trouble with the Pelicans, but I do see the Pelicans pulling off one win at home in this series.

    I'm better prepared than ever for this year's NBA Drive & really look forward to following the blog. Thanks Taong!

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    1. Good luck then Jerry, see you later at the top. I aim to be Top 100. Gonna be tough, but I got my spreadsheets ready

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  2. when do you think it would be a good time to pick anthony davis?

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    1. Hey Jon, star newbie playoffs players usually do good on their 1st game then levels off. I haven't seen complete sked, but if there are no other better picks on his Day1, Davis would be a good pick.

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    2. That's interesting, but is that true? I've been looking at star players today to see if that tends to happen and I've noticed the opposite. It seems they have a tougher time under the bright lights in Game 1 on the road and are at their best back at home. Who better than Michael Jordan or Kevin Durant to help understand:

      Jordan's first playoff game, on the road, he shot 7-19 with a stat line of 23-4-10 PRA. Game 3 at home, he shot 12-26 with a stat line of 35-8-7 PRA.

      Durant, in Game 1 on the road, shot 7-24 with a 24-6-2 PRA. Game 3 at home, he shot 8-24 with a 29-19-4 PRA.

      I'd be interested in seeing other examples to support or negate the idea that a future star's best chance for success in a playoff game is when they arrive back at home. I also looked at Nowitzki, Griffin, and LeBron, and it seemed to follow a similar path of quality home cooking.

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    3. i actually agree with tangent too because i remember derozan struggling in his first game in the playoffs last year too

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    4. i looked further and it seems you are right Tangent. i only had memories of Rose and Evans on their 1st games.

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    5. Oh yeah, I totally forgot about Rose. He was a beast. For every rule, there's an exception. Anthony Davis might be the exception, but I'd side with probability and take my chances with the comfy home game.

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    6. Davis is pumped though & he's going to go all out. The best chance for the underdog to steal one is right out of the gates before the other team can necessarily adjust to what's happening. The same way you're picking Aldridge on Sun would apply to Davis on Sat for me. Get him picked & out of the way is what I say.

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    7. It's also possible that Golden State comes roaring out of the gate and buries the Pelicans immediately with the home crowd rocking. Davis has huge value in rebounds. Hard to grab rebounds with the other team raining down 3's on you.

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    8. Totally feel you, but you know how much the GS crowd expects that & how badly the team wants to deliver that. It's that kind of "you're back in the Playoffs now with the best reg. season record" pressure to rain the 3's that may actually backfire on them, especially if they don't get going in the first 5 min of the game. Within the first 5 min, I'll know whether AD was a record, lol

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    9. Honestly, I think AD in Game 1 is a good call. It's just not where I plan to pick him, just because I fear a blowout and AD is so important. Same reason I switched Tyreke Evans. I'm hoping I can grab him in Game 4. I think the Warriors are built to dominate right out the game at every home game. Just a hunch.

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  3. This is going to be a very weird round 1 of Drive to the Finals. What I usually do is list my top 14 to ensure that those are the guys I pick by the end of all the game 6's. This year I was only able to get up to 12 players, and a lot of those 12 aren't "must picks". It's a very deep season (a lot of solid picks on many teams) but not rich in star picks, thanks to a very weak Eastern conference. So let's get to the series:

    Warriors vs. Pelicans: This series might not be a cakewalk for the Warriors. The Pelicans have been playing playoff basketball for weeks now. A Pelican in Game 1 is a good pick, because they might catch the Warriors off guard before they adjust and start crushing them. I'm saving Anthony Davis for his first home game, since he's one of the few star picks for the first round and offers the lowest chance of a Warriors blowout win.

    Rockets vs. Mavericks: A series that can be waited on. No Mavericks are must pick in the first round, and Harden can be saved for an elimination game. It's going to be close. I think the Rockets have the edge but the Mavericks have the team to beat them if they come together as a group.

    Clippers vs. Spurs: A crazy first round match up. Everybody's on the Spurs but I think there's a very good chance the Clippers take this. They are VERY good. The first two games will be needed to help make a choice, but if the Clippers are going to falter you don't want to wait too long on picking Griffin and Paul. Leonard or Duncan can be saved for an elimination game.

    Grizzlies vs. Blazers: I usually think highly of the Blazers, but this doesn't seem to be their year. Too many injuries. I'm going to pick LaMarcus Aldridge in Game 1 while he's still playing, and save Lillard for one of the home games. If I'm wrong about the Blazers, I don't mind losing Aldridge in Round 1, since they won't get past the Warriors anyways.

    Hawks vs. Nets: Likely to be a cakewalk. Pick Lopez early on and maybe one more Net depending on how much PRA Atlanta are giving up. The Nets have better name value than actual PRA value. Deron Williams is equivalent to most top Bucks picks, only older.

    Cavs vs. Celtics: This is going to be the surprise series of the first round. All signs point to a Cavs sweep, but we've seen this story before - a team that shouldn't be competitive makes a series out of it. Not much on the Celtics, but Thomas and Turner are intriguing, since the Cavs aren't a defensive juggernaut.

    Bulls vs. Bucks: Another series that might be over quickly, but could be more interesting than we think it will be. MCW is a great risky pick in Game 1. I could see a triple double, and I could also see a 5-4-5 line. Just memories of his first career game. Giannis Antetokounmpo will be a great pick at some point. Very underrated PRA value.

    Raptors vs. Wizards: This is a series you have to wait on. Perhaps all the way to Game 5, which sucks because the PRA is going to be great but picking the winner is not obvious. I like the Raptors, but not by much.

    Saturday Pick: Tyreke Evans
    Sunday Pick: LaMarcus Aldrige

    Monday should be a Buck, so I'll watch how Game 1 shakes out and pick accordingly.

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    1. Nice pick analysis, Tangent. Definitely will help us be more guided. Aldridge seems rusty, might want to wait for him to heat up, and at home.

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    2. If last year is any indication, Aldridge shows up in Game 1. I'll take that chance while he's healthy.

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    3. Aldridge made me regret not picking him first game of last year, so I'm all the wiser this time. So much will weigh on him. Other Blazers should get a bit healthier as the games go on so never will Aldridge be as relied on than in this initial game & chance for an upset.

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    4. Agreed. I had similar regrets. I've already changed my Saturday pick. Going against waiting out the Mavs vs. Rockets and starting off with Monta Eillis. Going with the veteran on the road instead of choosing one of the may rookies in MCW/Giannis/Davis/Evans. Just not comfortable with any of the rookies. I know it's not a conventional move, but I like trying a unique strategy every now and again. The Mavs are deep, even if they win this round it's not too bad. Plus, if I want to pick all of 'Run DMC', I've gotta start early:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M01_ykXJ3mc

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    5. I don't knock the Ellis choice although he is my arch nemesis in this game. Each of the last 3 years he's pulled a dud on the days I've picked him, almost to the point where I refuse to pick him at all, but I tentatively have him slated on the 7th day of picking (1st of the Mavs); however I've scared to death.

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  4. Anthony Davis on Sat. Aldridge on Sun. If there's one thing I've learned it's pick the BEST PRA guys on teams I'm sure will be losing right away so I'm not stuck with a dilemma with having multiple stars on the brink of elimination on the same day. Some guys are good enough to do just as well on the road and these two are examples.

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    1. and injuries. it's like almost every year we have a star player getting injured. knock on wood.

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  5. Hi guys!!! Good to see you again this year!! Playoff time is the most exciting moment of the season, when we can start tinkering about picks, series, winners..Last year was my best year ever in DTTF, I finished in the 108th position overall, 100 pct, so my target for this year is finishing in the top 100. Tough challenge btw, I'll try to do my best. And I'll always follow this page, to share my impressions with you.

    As for the first round this is my view:

    -HAWKS-NETS: I just can't see brooklyn beating the hawks for more than one game. Easy one for Budenholzer's guys. Lopez is the only reliable pick for the Nets right now; Joe Johnson and D-Will only if necessary. 4-1 Hawks

    -CAVS-CELTICS: Blowout win on the horizon for Cleveland. Boston just made the best possible catching the playoffs, but no chance for them against LBJ. I'd be very surprised if they win one single game. Turner would be my pick for the celtics, but I hope i won't need to use it. 4-0 Cavs

    -BULLS-BUCKS: intriguing matchup for the Bulls, not so easy as it seems. The Bucks are a good team even if many of their players don't have a lot of playoffs experience. I didn't like the Bulls after the All Star Weekend, they had many injuries but they played some really bad games, in particular defensively and Rose is a constant doubt. Right now I don't plan to pick any Bulls btw, I'll go with Giannis and MCW. 4-1 Bulls, but I won't be surprised if it's 4-2.

    -RAPTORS-WIZARDS: this is the most difficult series to predict, it can finish in every way. I'd go with the wizards, in 6 or 7 games. Many interesting picks inside, Lowry, Derozan, Valanciunas, Wall, Beal, Gortat. I'll wait the first 2 games to decide what to do. 4-3 Wizards.

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    WARRIORS-PELICANS: Golden State is way too strong and balanced this year, but the Pelicans could steal one home game with that Monster named Anthony Davis. Davis and Evans are my picks, I still don't know in which order. Davis can explode at home and away as well so Game 1 can be his moment, before Golden State makes adjustments on him. Warriors 4-1

    -ROCKETS-MAVS: amazing series, can be one of the best to watch, extremely balanced. It's another wait and see series to decide which players to pick; Harden only in elimination game, Nowitzki as well. 4-3 Rockets

    -CLIPPERS-SPURS: The best matchup of the first round, it could have been a Western Conference Final easily this year. Two great teams, the Clippers improved a lot during this season, San Antonio is getting back to his level and if they stay healthy I bet on them. I see a Warriors Spurs final in the wild West. CP3 only in elimination game, Blake and Deandre before. IF i need to choose a Spurs, Leonard. Duncan in elimination game. 4-3 Spurs.

    -GRIZZLIES-BLAZERS: easiest matchup to predict in the West, probably even more than Warriors-Pelicans. The Blazers have been so unlucky this year, lots of injuries, they have no chance with Memphis. Aldridge will probably be my first pick here, considering his injury concerns i don't want to risk losing him. Lillard in elimination game. Memphis 4-1

    Cheers guys!!!!

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    1. Excellent Matteo! Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on picks.

      I think the Grizzlies are the dark horse. I just fear them.

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    2. I agree with basically everything you said here except I feel the Raptors will edge out the Wizards.

      I'd take D-Will before Joe Johnson & MCW before Giannis to be honest.

      There is honestly no realistic first round scenario where anyone should pick a Celtic in my opinion. They could get blown out on any given day & their rotations / player contributions are incredibly inconsistent. There will always be other/better choices.

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  6. Hey Taong! Glad to be back on this site, our website is dead but I am still here to play.

    Will pick a Buck first but contemplating on who. My gut goes for the Greek Freak but my mind is telling me Ghostface Ilya. Nevertheless, I will try to make a run for the 100th percentile this season after 4 failed attempts

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    1. Why not MCW? He scored 30 pts twice in the last week of the regular season & is a lock for both rebound & assists on any given night.

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    2. Hey THCH, welcome back!

      MCW > Greek Freak > Ilya

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    3. I think that MCW is a greater pick than Giannis, but the Bucks are the stingiest team in the league when it comes to forcing TO's. MCW's length will bother Rose and will instead try to shut him down the whole game (hence, draining his energy); which I think will force Milwaukee to ride with Giannis, Middleton or Ilya for points production. The Greek Freak is a matchup problem for the Bulls (which is why I predict him to score a modest 20+ PRA) and I think they will instead exploit their enticing matchup inside since the Bucks don't have a rim protector outside of John Henson, who they don't play a ton of minutes.

      This is just me though, a lot of things could happen. Maybe D-Rose gets injured again in Game 1? *knock on wood*

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    4. this is THCH by the way.. decided to change my name since the site is no longer functioning

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  7. Good to see you Taong...
    .....The NBA Playoffs are back baby!!!!!!
    .....:)

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    1. Welcome back topknox! I never realized it, but now seeing your ellipses back... i missed those lol! Alright let's get this party going'!

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