NBA Playoff Storylines

Fernando Castro

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Will the Cavs make the finals without losing a single game?

The Cleveland Cavaliers are back on top in the East. While Tyronn Lue has had shady management of minutes among the big three, Lebron James is continuing to prove he is the best basketball player on the planet, moving like a machine, with efficiency, and ruthless execution. The king pulled down more rebounds that Kevin Love and averaged more assists than Kyrie Irving, the latter of which is a concern. The big three averaged 74 points per game through the sweep of the Indiana Pacers, bouncing Paul George out of the playoffs and straight to Los Angeles. In the second round, he did much the same, completing a sweep of trash bros Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, locking up a spot in the Eastern conference finals. The Cavaliers will play the winner of the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards series, tied up at 2 a piece, both teams winning home games. The Celtics will play the Wizards in TD Garden in game 5, a decisive game for both teams.

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Will Leonard lock up Harden?

The Spurs and Rockets have an interesting contrast in their star players. The Spurs have the best two-way player in the league, and Harden is known for his tendency to sleep on D. This matchup will be a huge determining factor this series. Harden getting “his” and creating for his shooters in Anderson and Gordon is integral for the Rockets to find the offense they need to succeed. We’ve seen Kawhi Leonard shut down better players before, and since taking over the reigns of the Spurs after Mr. Fundamental left, there doesn’t seem to be anything stopping him now. Leonard’s offensive game has also developed to a high level, but that won’t be of Harden’s worry with defensive role players in Ariza and Beverley to help out. With that being said, the Spurs and Rockets are currently taking part in a slobber knocker, with the first four games having margins of 27, 25, 11, and 21 point victories. This series is also tied at 2 a piece, with the Rockets winning games 1 and 4 and the Spurs taking 2 and 3. Game 5 will be in San Antonio, and both teams will not come in at 100%. The Rockets losing a vital big man Nene Hilaro to a groin injury in game 4, and the Spurs losing veteran point guard Tony Parker injuring his quadriceps tendon in his left leg. Both losing key roles players in opposite parts of the floor, the Texas rivalry will continue to be a slugfest, with the victor limping into the conference finals, most likely to be eviscerated by the Warriors. Speaking of which…

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Will the Warriors Exact Revenge?

The Warriors have the last three season MVP winners on their team. Kevin Durant. Steph Curry. Draymond Green. Klay Thompson. Hometown hero Andre Iguodala. While they didn’t set the record for regular season wins this year, Golden State still look the favorites to take the title. And it wouldn’t be the first time for most of them either. Another thing that Kevin Durant and Steph Curry have in common is being denied by Lebron James in the NBA finals with a series lead. The Warriors have sacrificed for Durant. Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes, two key starters for the 2015 title run both left the team last offseason to create cap space for slim reaper, and have reformed a budget Warriors in Dallas with Seth Curry, Steph’s brother. Now the Warriors have a star player in place of depth in the front court, and rebounding has been a nightmare at time this season. Javale McGee and Zaza Pachulia have taken the center position for Golden State, and although discredited by their performance in earlier stages of the career, find themselves meshing well with a team where they do not have to score at all. Even though it looks like the Warriors lost depth, they gained it in the form of another MVP to rely on when your first one is cold. Oklahoma City can chant MVP for Westbrook all they want, but a first round exit stings much more in your mouth when your first MVP has left to win a championship somewhere else. The games will tell all.