Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 2:35 PM
THE FIRST LOOK AT THE NBA PLAYOFFS - OUR QUICKIE OVERVIEW PLUS A REVIEW OF THE FINAL REGULAR-SEASON NITE
Funny how it all worked out last night in the final evening of NBA regular-season play: There were six teams that really needed to win to get what they were after - that was Boston, Indiana, Chicago and Miami in the East and the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah in the West - and the six-pack wound up going a cool 6-and-oh SU (straight-up) and 4-1-1 ATS (against the spread) with only the Heat failing to cover the 11-point price in its 110-102 triumph over Washington and the Jazz garnering a "push" against San Antonio.
So, the playoff slots have all been filled, the seeds all have names next to 'em now and the NBA "second season" swings into high gear come Saturday.
Here's the first-round matchups ...
In the East -- It's Chicago vs. Boston, Indiana vs. Cleveland, Milwaukee vs. Toronto and Atlanta vs. Washington.
In the West -- It's Portland vs. Golden State, Memphis vs. San Antonio, Oklahoma City vs. Houston and Utah vs. Los Angeles Clippers.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers/Bloggers are all geared up for the NBA Playoffs that tip off this Saturday - just go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day during these NBA Playoffs and we'll send you straight into the winner's circle. Or remember that you can sign up for the whole NBA Playoffs today - check it out online here or at our toll-free telephone # now! Plus, remember there's Major-League Baseball on tap every day and so the time is just right to cash in big this spring as the NBA Playoffs and Baseball pounds out major profits for you!
Please note that our Jim Sez NBA Playoffs series-by-series previews will fill up the next two columns right here in these web pages - just remember the "Second Season" gets underway on Saturday afternoon with four games each on Saturday/Sunday ... but right now we wanted to take a few moments to give y'all a line or two about each team in this year's post-season:
EASTERN CONFERENCE -
#1 BOSTON (53-29) - If/when it all comes down to a Game 7 in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals versus Cleveland, then Brad Stevens' club will be glad it went full bore the final couple of weeks of the campaign (won seven of its last 10, in case you didn't notice.)
#2 CLEVELAND (51-31) - No, we're not gonna slam the defending champ Cavaliers just because they didn't nab the numero uno seed in the East but now LeBron James and mates better not tell anyone that they are "tired."
#3 TORONTO (51-31) - If that fantastic one-two guard tandem of DeMar DeRozan and oft-injured Kyle Lowry want to show the "lower 50 states" that they can ball, try getting to the conference finals but a bout with Milwaukee out of the gate likely won't be a cakewalk.
#4 WASHINGTON (49-33) - Everyone knows the Wizards staggered badly out of the box but now they're becoming the "flavor of the month" with G Bradley Beal deserving some honorary mention MVP votes.
#5 ATLANTA (43-39) - This opening-round set against Washington should be a real head-banger and now the question is can the Hawks win if F Paul Millsaps is a 25-point/14-board guy every night?
#6 MILWAUKEE (42-40) - The Bucks won 19 road games this year and so Giannis Antetokounmpo and friends are not scared about playing Games #1 and #2 North of the Border.
#7 INDIANA (42-40) - Nobody's expecting the Pacers to squeeze their way past the Cavaliers in Round One but did you notice that Indy's Paul George wowed folks with 32-point/11-rebound showing (granted against a bunch of Atlanta reserves) in the playoff clincher on Wednesday night?
#8 CHICAGO (41-41) - We don't often knock a playoff-bound team but hard to say anything nice about this dysfunctional Bulls bunch. If they beat Boston once in Round One, then they should consider it a success.
WESTERN CONFERENCE -
#1 GOLDEN STATE (67-15) - The recent return of megastar Kevin Durant won't cause any "chemistry" problems for this club but the Warriors would be well-advised to make this a short-and-sweet series versus guard-oriented Portland. Remember that G-State usually struggles in either Game 1 or Game 2 at home in opening-round series.
#2 SAN ANTONIO (61-21) - Folks have been sleeping on these Spurs for the better part of this 2016-17 campaign but remember that Gregg Popovich's crew (minus Tim Duncan for the first time in two decades) did win 30 road games this year and Kawhi Leonard is a legit top three MVP candidate.
#3 HOUSTON (55-27) - Much being made of the fact that Rockets' coach Mike D'Antoni "handed the car keys" to star James Harden but there's other scorers on board here and don't be shocked if this opening-round series versus Oklahoma City sports a batch of 125-121 type games.
#4 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (51-31) - Nice to see the Clips stepped on the gas after halftime in Wednesday's 115-95 win/cover against Sacramento but now let's see 'em win Games 1 and 2 at home against Utah in Round I play before we get on their bandwagon.
#5 UTAH (51-31) - Yes, the Jazz revved it up late with seven wins in its last 10 tilts and still didn't land the home-court in the first-round series against the Clips but tell us right now C Rudy Gobert and mates will hold Doc's guys to under 100 ppg and we'll pick Utah in a mild upset.
#6 OKLAHOMA CITY (47-35) - The $64,000 question is can the Thunder win without a 40-13-12 (that's points/rebounds/assists) type game from MVP-to-be Russell Westbrook? We will suggest that if Steven Adams can block a few shots early in this upcoming series against Houston than that could change the tone in OKC's favor.
#7 MEMPHIS (43-39) - The three-headed star system of PG Mike Conley, C Marc Gasol and F Zach Randolph can be a real handful for the Spurs here in Round I but gotta say the Grizzlies likely need two road wins to seal the deal (and they ain't gonna be easy).
#8 PORTLAND (41-41) - Lots of chatter from TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley in the past few days regarding how Trail Blazer guards Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum will create major problems for the top-seed Warriors ... we'll see about that.
Note: Catch our NBA Playoff Previews beginning in tomorrow's jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.