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May 05

2015 NBA Semifinal Preview

Closing out a fantastic weekend in sports, the NBA kicked off the Conference Semifinals round of the NBA Playoffs.  While the playoffs are far and away the best part of the NBA season, the first round was largely uneventful, with an entire conference (here’s looking at you, Eastern) being a complete waste of space.  Thankfully, as playoffs proceed in any sport, the worst teams slowly drop out.  The Semifinal round provides us with a bit more entertainment.

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The Eastern Conference is horrible.  Thankfully, the right teams moved on, despite not necessarily providing the best matchups.  The better of the two series is #2 Cleveland vs. #3 Chicago.  Chicago isn’t the same Bulls team of the last few years and Cleveland was widely expected to saunter through the entire Eastern Conference, but with the addition of Derrick Rose for Chicago and the subtraction of Kevin Love for Cleveland, the mathematics of the series makes this impressively watchable.  Oh, yeah.  The best player in the NBA (LeBron James) is playing in this series, so no matter what, Cleveland will get the edge.  You gotta love the NBA.  Prediction: Cleveland

Cleveland Cavaliers (2) vs. Chicago Bulls (3)

    • Game 2 — Wednesday in Cleveland (7, TNT)
    • Game 3 — Friday in Chicago (8, ESPN)
    • Game 4 — May 10 in Chicago (3:30, ABC)
    • Game 5 — May 12 in Cleveland*

#1 Atlanta vs. #5 Washington is a bit underwhelming, but the appearance of the Wizards gives NBA fans an underdog to root for.  Washington is in the playoffs for the second season in a row after a seven-year hiatus.  They provide an incredibly young and athletic squad that will continue to gain momentum for years to come.  The #1 seed in the East (Atlanta) struggled with inconsistency in the first round against an abysmal Brooklyn team.  They appeared to round out to form near the end, but it remains a question if it will be as easy as it first appeared.  Prediction: Washington

Atlanta Hawks (1) vs. Washington Wizards (5)

    • Game 3 — Saturday in Washington (5, ESPN)
    • Game 4 — May 11 in Washington (7, TNT)

Welcome to the Western Conference, where almost every team is better than their Eastern counterpart.  #2 Houston vs. #3 LA Clippers is the most exciting series this round, in either conference.  This represents the new class of good teams in the NBA, and should provide seven games of basketball magic.  Houston is many fans’ dark horse for an NBA championship, and led by James Harden, Dwight Howard, and Howard’s awful haircut, why not?  LA Clippers knocked off the old guard by taking San Antonio behind the woodshed.  The Clippers have been knocking on the door of greatness for two seasons now; this could be the year they finally get there.  Prediction: Houston

Houston Rockets (2) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (3)

    • Game 2 — Wednesday in Houston (9:30, TNT)
    • Game 3 — Friday in Los Angeles (10:30, ESPN)
    • Game 4 — May 10 in Los Angeles (8:30, TNT)
    • Game 5 — May 12 in Houston*

#1 Golden State vs. #5 Memphis could be the shortest series of the bunch.  Both teams are very good, but Golden State, with their freshly crowned NBA MVP (Stephen Curry), is playing the best basketball in the NBA, and this is the time you want to play the best basketball in the NBA.  The micro-matchup that we’ve all been waiting for is Golden State’s Andrew Bogut vs. Memphis’ Marc Gasol, but the icing on the cake is going to be the outside shooting.  Unfortunately for Memphis, it would be a shock if Golden State can’t close this out before Game 6.  Prediction: Golden State

Golden State Warriors (1) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (5)

    • Game 3 — Saturday in Memphis (8, ABC)
    • Game 4 — May 11 in Memphis (9:30, TNT)

 

Listening to: R.E.M “Green”

About the author

Chad

Chad has a Bachelor's Degree from Marquette University in Broadcast Journalism & Electronic Communications. Currently living in Seattle, WA, he takes every opportunity he can to go to a game, partake in the nightlife, laugh with friends & family and root for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.