Ranking Each Series On Entertainment Value
After a lackluster season where constant debates over players resting and who should win Most Valuable Player overshadowed the product on the court, the Playoffs are here. . The Playoffs are providing a breathe of fresh air as a number of top tier teams are playing efficient basketball. While other top tier teams face a deficit.
The following list will rank each playoff according to their entertainment value thus far. While the playoffs are unpredictable, one thing is certain, Cavaliers vs Warriors III couldn’t come soon enough.
1. Houston Rockets vs Oklahoma City Thunder
This series should help clear up the debate of James Harden or Russell Westbrook for MVP and thus far it has. Harden has evolved into a bearded Steve Nash in his prime. This series, he is averaging 36 points, 8.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game. While Westbrook continues to be Westbrook, collecting triple-doubles and losses. Game 2 was a reflection of the regular season for the Thunder. Westbrook posted another monstrous triple-double with 51 points, 13 assist and 10 rebounds, while setting an NBA playoff record for most points in triple-double. Yet the team suffered a 115-111 defeat and is now down 2-0. While the Rockets possess too much firepower for the Thunder, this is still an entertaining series to watch.
Prediction: Rockets in Six
2. Boston Celtics vs Chicago Bulls
The Celtics find themselves down 2-0 to the Bulls. This is the second time in NBA history a one seed is down 2-0 to an eighth seed. Jimmy Butler is reminding the Celtics what they missed out on at the trade deadline. Butler is averaging 26 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. Rajon Rondo seems extra motivated facing his former team. He almost had a tripl- double in Game 2 posting 11 points, 14 assist and 9 rebounds. While teammate Dwyane Wade has found the fountain of youth. Watching the Bulls play physical basketball has been a delight. The Celtics still have time to comeback, but it must start on the road in a pivotal Game 3.
Prediction: Celtics in Seven
3. Cleveland Cavaliers vs Indiana Pacers
This is the matchup everyone has been waiting for since LeBron left Miami. LeBron takes on one of his biggest rivals, Lance Stephenson Paul George. Game 1 was one C.J Miles jumper away from giving the Pacers the series lead. The Cavaliers’ Big Three dominated Game 2 combining for 89 points. In Game 3, the Cavaliers overcame the largest halftime deficit in NBA history, 25 points. James finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. Anytime King James is on the court it’s a marvel to watch. In retrospect, the Pacers should be up 2-1. Instead, they face a 3-0 deficit. LeBron extended his winning streak to 20 consecutive first round games. In other words, Paul George will soon be riding into the sunset of Los Angeles.
Prediction: Cavaliers in Four
4. Los Angeles Clippers vs Utah Jazz
Joe Johnson’s buzzer beater in Game 1 led the Jazz to an upset victory. Chris Paul led the Clippers to a Game 2 victory with 21 points and 10 assist. Before Ruby Gobert’s knee injury the Jazz posed a threat to the Clippers; however, he is expected to miss Game 3 and is uncertain for the series. This series could have gone the distance and be ranked number one but without the “Stifle Tower” the Jazz don’t possess enough firepower.
Prediction: Clippers in Six
5. Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trail Blazers
This series has been extremely entertaining, from one side. The Warriors are putting up clinics. Even without Kevin Durant in Game 2, the Warriors beat down the Blazers 110-81. The team received a stand out performance from Javale “don’t mention me on Shaqtin’ a Fool” McGee, who scored 15 points on 7-for-7 shooting and controlled the paint with four blocks. When asked about-facing the Golden State Warriors, Damian Lillard responded by predicting the Blazers winning the series in six games. Down 2-0 the Blazers head back to Portland and must win four consecutive games. The last time the Warriors lost four games? The 2012-13 regular season. Good luck Mr. Lillard.
Prediction: Warriors in Four
6. Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks
Fear the Dear! The young Bucks are up 2-1 after two blowout victories against the Raptors. With Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the charge, the Raptors are in serious trouble. Antetokounmpo is averaging 26 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5 assist. Rookie center Thon Maker and guard Malcolm Brogdon are making contributions. The Bucks average roster age is 25.7 years old. The Bucks are playing extremely well, yet the series has been lackluster thus far. If the Bucks make it past the first round, that’s when things would get interesting. Imagine an Antetokounmpo versus LeBron semi-finals matchup. The real story would be Matthew Dellavedova return to Cleveland.
Prediction: Bucks in Seven
7. Washington Wizards vs Atlanta Hawks
The Wizards are a surprise team and many experts predict will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Thus far, they have handled the Hawks with ease and are currently up 2-0. The dynamic duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal are too much for Atlanta’s backcourt. Wall is averaging 32 points and 11.5 assists per game, while teammate Beal is averaging 26.5 points per game.
Prediction: Wizards in Five
8. San Antonio Spurs vs Memphis Grizzlies
A Playoffs tradition rounds out the list. The Spurs face the Grizzlies again for the fourth time in seven years. The series has favored the Spurs. Since 2011, the Grizzlies had lost 10 consecutive playoff games to the Spurs before their Game 3 victory. This series, Kawhi Leonard is averaging a playoff career high 34.5 points per game. While both teams play physical and gritty basketball, at times it seems slow paced. One thing the series has not lacked is sound bites by Grizzlies’ Head Coach David Fizdale. He believes Leonard is a robot and shouted “Take that for data” at the end of a press conference.
Prediction: Spurs in Six
Info and stats NBA, ESPN, Basketball-Reference, Bleacher Report, RealGM