NBA Playoffs 2018-19: Predicting the NBA Playoffs First Round - Western Conference
Unlike the recent past, Golden State did not end this regular season as the league's best team. However, they still managed to rule over their conference, finishing three games clear of the second seed Nuggets on the West standings.
With the Bucks uprising to LeBron's absence in the postseason, a lot has changed for the impending postseason. The Warriors would wish the winds of change to not wreak havoc on their aspirations of a third straight title bid.
For our first round playoff fixtures, the defending champs face off against Doc's Clippers, the Nuggets clash with the San Antonio Spurs, Dame's Trailblazers are set to take on the Thunder and the Rockets meet Donovan Mitchell and his Jazz.
The Western Conference has always been a dogfight to get past the mighty Warriors, but the hopes of a new emerging dynasty never lag behind every year.
Let's take a look at the four first-round matchups from the Western Conference and predict their outcomes using our knowledge of the regular season.
#1 Golden State Warriors(1) vs Los Angeles Clippers(8)
Season Series: The Warriors led the Clippers 3-1 in regular season games, with GSW winning the last three matchups in a row.
With Cousins healthy and fully functioning, GSW are a heavier force to be reckoned with, than what they previously were. The starting lineup of Durant, Curry, Thompson, Green, and Cousins is nightmarish for any opposition(to say the least), let alone LA who recently traded their leading scorer to Philly in return for loose change.
No doubt the Clippers are a talented team and they have proven repeatedly that they are more than capable of pulling an upset against teams stronger than them on paper. But, realistically, the Warriors are a playoff unit. They've been obliterating postseason opponents with ease for quite a while and to expect they will falter against an 8th seed when it matters most is purely wishful thinking.
Prediction: Despite some wayward resistance, Golden State should be able to get done with the Clippers in four games.