The 2018 Playoffs Thread

Discussion in 'Know Your Enemy' started by TMC, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. TMC

    TMC Administrator Staff Member

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    So the real season finally starts and basketball becomes a thing once again (at least to me). About time!

    Just to avoid posting everything in the same threads, I thought it'd be nice to have a thread just for playoff talk.

    Let's start by making some (mostly inaccurate) playoff predictions, just for fun:

    EAST:

    Raptors over Wizards in five: I've got the feeling that the Wizards have a lot more talent than their 8th seed indicates, but John Wall has become a prick, or so his teammates seem to think. Washington has played better with Satoransky at the helm than when Wall was running the show. Markieff has also been unreliable this season. And it's a shame, because this is a Wizards team with more talent than last year's.

    Meanwhile, Toronto has the best bench in the NBA and a team that really knows how to play together. Defense has been an issue lately, and they really have a problem defending the 3/4 positions (which means Lebron will kill them). But the Raptors shouldn't have trouble beating Washington.

    And I say shouldn't because, if Wall plays like he did last year in the playoffs, Washington has enough to beat the Raptors 4 times. Just don't think you can build up chemistry with his teammates for the series when the Wizards have been a circus all year long.

    Boston over Milwaukeee in seven: Feels weird to take a team that has lost his two best players (one for the whole season) over one that has one of the most dominant players in the league... but Brad Stevens will have his guys ready, and I'm not sure the Bucks coach even knows they're in the playoffs. Giannis needs help, and Milwaukee shouldn't be afraid to make moves this summer in order to take the next step. Expect a grind of a series, close games and Tatum playing a big time role for Boston.

    Sixers over Miami in six: Bad matchup for Philly, imho. They don't have anybody able to defend Dragic, Whiteside is one of the few guys in the league that can matchup well with Embiid (once he's back, because he's going to miss the first game), Miami has a top 3 coach that will mix things up on defense in order to stop Simmons as much as possible (and they have guys to rotate like James Johnson, Richardson, Winslow...). It's going to be a really cool series to watch, but there's too much difference in talent, and that's why I'm taking Philly. Miami can't do more with what they have.

    Cleveland over Indiana in five: Lebron is playing some of the best basketball of his career. Period. That alone should be reason enough to pick the Cavs. Problem is, this Cavs team is the worse he's had since coming back to Cleveland, but, as great as Oladipo has been, Indy doesn't have enough to beat Lebron.

    WEST:

    Rockets over Minny in five:
    Awful matchup for the Wolves. Who's going to stop CP and Harden? Teague? The Shadow of Jamal Crawford? Are you gonna put Butler on Harden? The Wolves have the second worst defense among playoff teams, and I feel like I'm being generous giving them one win. This series can be a sweep easily.

    Warriors over Spurs in four: The Spurs are old, Kawhi has given up on the season, we've been pretty successful guarding Aldridge in the past. Pop is an amazing coach, but winning 47 games in the west with the kind of roster he's had is already an amazing achievement. I also happen to believe our team will be different, much more focused, once the playoffs start.

    Pelicans over Blazers in seven: Two completely different teams. I'd take the Pels in five if Cousins were healthy, but that's not the case. Portland has been better than expected, flying under the radar for most of the season, and Dame has taken a step forward. Having Nurkic inside has also been a huge reason they've won so many games. As for New Orleans, Davis has been amazing since Cousins' injury, playing at MVP level the last few months (and it wasn't even close), Holiday has been one of those weird cases where the guy has played even better after signing a huge contract and Mirotic has been a good addition as well, giving them more options to spread the floor. I think it's closer than most people believe, because I don't see anybody on Portland's roster that can stop Davis.

    Thunder over Jazz in six:
    Russ will do just enough to have OKC in position to win games. A bit of help from George in crunch time should be enough to beat a Jazz team that doesn't match up well with OKC. Probably the worst matchup for the Jazz in the whole first round.
     
  2. TMC

    TMC Administrator Staff Member

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    Just watched the Heat at Philly game. Gotta admit that Belinelli and Reddick killed the Heat. That combination, well fed by an amazing Simmons, killed the Heat all game long.

    Also, Delon Wright is ready for a more prominent role in Toronto. And with Van Vleet on the roster, it kinda makes you think for how long Lowry is going to remain a Raptor.

    Finally, great win by New Orleans. Davis is unstoppable, playoffs Rondo showed up, Holiday played well and Mirotic made some tough shots. New Orleans doesn't have much depth, but that shouldn't matter with those guys playing that well.
     
  3. Money

    Money NBA All-Star

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    Holiday played REALLY well... He's taken his game to the next level both on offense and defense
     
  4. TMC

    TMC Administrator Staff Member

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    Second day of the playoffs brought us the biggets surprise so far, with the Pacers not only beating the Cavs, but keeping them to 80 points. Lebron alone can't carry that team. And I still think they should beat the Pacers, but this is a flawed, flawed roster, imho.

    Also, the Bucks have to clean house this summer, starting with the bench, because adding a good coaching staff is the first step towards being a contender. Stevens outcoached them all game long, and the Bucks were really close to win the game, but they played sloppy most of the time, forcing situations and not doing enough defensively. Middleton's three to send the game to OT was great, tho.

    Haven't seen the Jazz at OKC and Minny at Houston games yet, so I'm not gonna comment much about them.
     
  5. Quazza

    Quazza NBA Draftee

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    Min reaallyyyyy pushed Houston with very little from KAT.
     
  6. MadBallers

    MadBallers NBA All-Star

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    The Houston/Wolves game was a good one. The beard just took the game over in the last 2 minutes. Minnesota has no clue on offense.
     
  7. Rob

    Rob NBA All-Star Staff Member

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    Minnesota made so many mistakes down the stretch and still had a change to tie (thanks to CP3 doing what he does in big moments). What the hell was Butler doing though? Didn't even get a shot from behind the line.
     
  8. TMC

    TMC Administrator Staff Member

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    Amazing how the Cavs are on the verge of elimination. Indy should have won this series already. Lebron alone might win the series for them, but that team is in shambles.

    On the other side, OKC is in its way to another rebuilding. Really think George is gone after a first round exit, and that's a team that's going nowhere in its current state.

    And happy to see Toronto dispose of Washington. Finally having Van Vleet back helps, but they've got to step up defensively. Everything points towards Toronto matching up with Philly on the conference finals, and playing defense like they did vs Washington is not gonna be enough.
     
  9. TMC

    TMC Administrator Staff Member

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    First round afterthoughts for the eliminated teams:

    - Milwaukee has a great foundation with Giannis and Khris Middleton, but they've got to replace almost anybody else. Awful coaching and lack of talent on the roster and a Boston team that lacks their two best players were able to beat them. And it's not gonna get better unless they make changes to that roster.

    - Another team in flux is Washington. The Wizards have a very talented lineup (much better than their 8th seed), but they don't like each other, and it shows. It's a team that shouldn't finish worse than 4th in the east, but chemistry is a huge issue for them, and John Wall is demanding moves this summer. Well, those moves will have to involve, mainly, Otto Porter, who is a nice player that can do a lot of things to help the team win, but who was signed to a huge deal that he's not gonna be able to live up to. They should try to stick to Wall (with a caveat... he can't repeat a season like this one, because he's been a liability. You don't give up on a supremely talented guy that fast, but he absolutely became a problem for the Wizards this year) and Beal (if they can co-exist), make Oubre the starting SF and make moves everywhere else, Porter, Gortat, Markieff... it's going to be an interesting offseason for Washington.

    - Indiana needs to get Myles Turner more involved (his usage rating is barely above last year's) and build around Oladipo and him. They also have plenty of money to sign a good free agent or two. The future is bright for Indy.

    - Miami is in a tough spot. Lack of talent and huge deals signed by unproductive guys (Hassan Whiteside, no matter what they say, is not a building block, couldn't even play him much vs Philly). But they've got a great coach, a great winning culture and South Beach, so I'm guessing we'll see changes for next year.

    - Minny is also in a tough spot. Butler played well, when healthy, this season, KAT is also a great player, but they've got to sign Wiggins to an extension and, at this time, he's not worth a max deal, but he'll get it, from Minny or somewhere else. Also, they need to improve their bench and PG play.

    - Spurs are in limbo til they know what's going to happen to Kawhi. They might have to re-tool the whole roster no matter what, because they've got a ton of old guys that won't be around for long and very few talented young players (one of them, Dejounte Murray, whom I think will be a Spur for a very long time).

    - OKC's offseason is going to be franchise defining. Carmelo has has already said he won't accept coming from the bench, I think PG is gone (just based on the what I've heard and my own personal hunch) and Russ is more unlikable than he's ever been. Good news is that Adams is young and ready to take the next step, but that's it.

    - Portland has to blow up the team and start from scratch. Keep Dime and Nurkic, shop McCollum (I like him a lot, but he's the only guy with high value on that team that will bring back talent in a deal) and spend wisely this offseason. It's clear this team won't make it any further without shaking it up.
     
  10. bada

    bada Administrator Staff Member

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    Jesus the Cavs are terrible
     
  11. Rob

    Rob NBA All-Star Staff Member

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    Boston just happened to be terribler haha
     
  12. TMC

    TMC Administrator Staff Member

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    And the Cavs are back in the finals. That's what happens when you've got the best player in the league and you play in the east. Winning the east in not enough, tho, and the Cavs don't seem ready to compete with us or the Rockets, no matter how superhuman Lebron looks.

    Best thing for Boston is Tatum's development. Amazing season by the rookie, and they should get Kyrie and Hayward back next year. Now that's a team that's going to be really competitive, even for western standards.
     

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