Saturday, May 13, 2017

NBA Conference Finals Picks

The case for Golden State: Home court, and will have three of the four best players on the court in Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. As healthy as they've been all year, and with an 8-0 mark in the playoffs, probably playing their best ball. Durant gives them a bailout in half court sets when things get difficult, as if they didn't already have damn near unstoppable options in Curry and, when he's on his game, Klay Thompson. They are also getting some of the best ball of JaVale McGee's life, which gives them a safeguard if Green has foul issues. Bench has been much better lately, and the entire outfit has very high degrees of confidence and playoff experience. Extremely rested.

The case against: Losing head coach Steve Kerr for Mike Brown puts them at a disadvantage in the only place where they were already under the gun against the Spurs. Home court hasn't been as good as past years, because the faithful have become so used to domination. Green's histrionics aren't made better in the harsh glare of the playoff spotlight, and the backcourt has definitely slipped from their historic levels, particularly when it comes to percentages from distance. The eternal issue for this outfit is turnovers and indifferent play with a lead; both could come back to bite them in a game or two in this series. As good as Green and McGee have been, this team can be had against dominant big man offensive play. Might have rust in Game One from the long layoff.

The case for San Antonio: Utterly humiliated Houston, without their best player, on the road to close out the previous series. Could put a serious hurting on the Dubs with superior rebounding, especially if Pau Gasol turns back the clock for two weeks. LaMarcus Aldrigde is playing his career best ball, and Kawhi Leonard, especially if he's healthy, could (could) make Durant inefficient. This is definitely a team that's good enough to win a championship. Home court has been very good for them against the Warriors for many, many years. Have a winning record against the Dubs this year.

The case against: As good as the Spurs are, they just don't have top tier talent, especially in the backcourt. Losing Tony Parker to injury doesn't help, even if Parker isn't the player he used to be. There's a sense that their "A" game just isn't at the same level as other teams, and when they lose, they lose big. As good as Popovich is, at this level of the NBA playoffs, talent usually wins out... and the Spurs just aren't as talented.

The pick: If San Antonio is going to win this series, they are going to have to do it with a road win, and the layoff makes Game One their easiest target. It's far from impossible, and I honestly think that either of these teams will win the Finals. But home court and the Dubs margin for error are just too much to overcome. Warriors in six highly entertaining games.

The East: While we'd like to thank the Wizards and Celtics for providing some of the only entertaining hoop seen in the NBA in the past few months, it's all meaningless in the long run, especially with the Cavs (and LeBron James, who needs it the most) getting maximum rest.

The pick: Cavs in five.

Record to date: 10-1, need the Wizards to win Game 7 in Boston to go to 11-1.

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