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.