(1) Boston Celtics vs (2) Cleveland Cavaliers
Nick Bair: Cavs in 4. Screw the Celtics.
Jordan Curet: Cavs in 5. The Celtics wanted this match-up so bad, not just for a chance to prove they can go head-to-head with LeBron (spoiler alert: they can’t), but also to justify standing pat at the trade deadline. Based on the regular season and the Cavs still sub-par defense, the C’s can take one of these games. Hope that’s good enough to feel okay about the season!
(1) Golden State Warriors vs (2) San Antonio Spurs
NB: Spurs in 7. We need Kawhi back, but I already wrote almost 1,500 words on this series so I’ll save you some time and just let you read my other article.
JC: Warriors in 6. Despite some clear bias from at least one person here, I can be impartial about this series. The Warriors are a better team, full stop. And on a related note, there’s been a lot of talk about the the Warriors being so good that it makes the playoffs boring, and there is some truth that not everyone enjoys a good blowout. Yet, there is a certain excitement in enjoying today’s version of exceptional basketball, in watching a team full of players who have incredible talents join forces to accomplish goals they fell short of without each other. Isn’t that the same concept that fueled movies like Ocean’s Eleven, Avengers, or Ghostbusters? And the fact that the Cavs do seem destined to meet the Dubs at the end of the road only adds to the movie-like quality. So of course, who is standing between Golden State and this alleged destiny? A Spurs team that is a lot like the “master” in this extended movie-metaphor. The Warriors are the progeny of the Spurs and now to meet their adversaries (Cleveland) in the Finals again, they have to prove themselves against their forefathers. I admit this would be a better metaphor if Timmy and Tony Parker were playing, but at least Manu is holding down the old-man fort. In any case, for all of the Spurs talents and Kawhi’s android-like abilities, there is just no stopping the Warriors/Cavs fate train (get it!?).
How do you want the lottery to unfold tonight?
1. Philadelphia 76ers (via Sacramento pick swap)
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
3. New York Knicks
The Process lives on. The Kings get screwed. The Wolves get their point guard of the future. The Knicks get some help for Porzingis. The stupid Celtics drop to 4. The Lakers lose their pick (and give an extra high pick to the Sixers). Useless franchises like Orlando and Phoenix drop down as well. This won’t happen.
1. Boston Celtics (by way of Brooklyn)
2. Philadelphia 76ers
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Look, Boston’s ultimate reason for not unloading some of their assets was the 25% chance they have at the number one spot. Twenty-five percent! And a 64% chance at the top three! Those are solid odds and you can’t blame them for thinking with their current roster plus a strong rookie addition this could be a contender. Elsewhere, the Lakers showed flashes of what they could be and might just need a Ball brother to make it work. The basketball god’s demand it. And the Sixers need to continue drafting high, watching that rookie not play for a season, but keeping everyone just hopeful enough they might be good eventually.
-Nick Bair & Jordan Curet
Photo Credit: NBA Through the Lens