Conference Finals Predictions

(Stats via Basketball-Reference.com)

Western Conference Finals

EzraShawGetty
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – Warriors in 6

I was wrong about the Thunder losing to the Spurs and very happy to see them advance. They definitely have decent chance to beat the Warriors here, but I still think the Warriors win this series. Andrew Bogut‘s health is a mystery right now, but I think we see the Warriors go small anyway and maybe need Festus Ezeli more any way because of his speed. Speed is something the Warriors have that the Spurs didn’t and will be something they’ll need to win this. Where the Spurs win with suffocating defense, the Warriors will have to keep the pace fast and keep it a high scoring game, forcing Russell Westbrook, Dion Waiters, and Andre Roberson to keep shooting. They all made crucial shots in the last series, but if they’re forced to shoot significantly more in this series, I don’t think as many shots are going to fall. Kevin Durant, on the other hand, rarely has trouble himself against the Warriors, and this series may end up similar to last year’s Finals against the Cavaliers, where the Warriors simply have to accept that one play (in that case, LeBron James) is going to score 30-50 points a game and try to keep everyone else on the team from making other shots.

 

Eastern Conference Finals

FrankGunn-AP
Photo by Frank Gunn/AP

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors – Cavs in 4

I feel like the Raptors really have a chance to win one game, but I just don’t see it actually happening. The Raptors beat the Cavs both times the teams played in Toronto by less than 5 points and got blown out in Cleveland the one time they played there. But, the Raptors have struggled in both rounds and the Cavs have swept both. If Jonas Valanciunas makes it back for some games, DeMarre Carroll can be effective against LeBron, and Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan return to their regular season levels, the Raptors have a chance at one or two. But I think the Cavs start the post-season winning 12 straight.

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