The NBA Playoffs start tomorrow and The Stack is here with the playoff preview post I hope you demand. We’ll have thoughts on the NFL schedule release next week. Just recapping the Stanley Cup Playoff action from last night quickly…Washington shut out Philadelphia 2-0. Dallas also shutout Minnesota 4-0. Both of those teams won at home. The Islanders and Sharks both picked up road wins with New York beating Florida 5-4 and San Jose beating the L.A. Kings 4-3. Playoff action will continue tonight with four games. Check out NHL.com for all times and networks to watch the awesome playoff hockey action. Now let’s get right to the NBA Playoff preview you demand in “the stack” for today, Friday, April 15th:
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #8 Detroit Pistons (Game 1 Sunday 3 PM ET ABC)
The Cavs are playing some of their best basketball of the season. LeBron James is hitting is groove. This looks like the eastern conference’s best team by a country mile. Detroit has been a pleasant surprise this year and they would seem to have a good future ahead of them by the looks of it. Andre Drummond is a fantastic big man, but this team can’t and won’t beat the Cavs four times in this series.
Prediction: Cavaliers in 5
#2 Toronto Raptors vs. #7 Indiana Pacers (Game 1 Saturday 12:30 PM ET ESPN)
Remember last year when the Raptors were swept by the Washington Wizards? Their playoff history is why you really can’t take this team all that seriously. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are really good players though. The Pacers ended the season winning six of their last seven games. Can’t discount what Paul George can do, but I will take the Raptors to win even if the series has to go the distance.
Prediction: Raptors in 7
#3 Miami Heat vs. #6 Charlotte Hornets (Game 1 Sunday 5:30 PM ET TNT)
Charlotte’s basketball teams have not had tremendous success in the playoffs since the old Charlotte team left for New Orleans. This Hornets team feels different. Kemba Walker is sensational. They get a lot of contributions from all of their guys including rookie Frank Kaminsky. The Heat have been here though before and I think Dwyane Wade and company will be able to oust the Hornets though I am really pulling for Charlotte to win this series.
Prediction: Heat in 6
#4 Atlanta Hawks vs. #5 Boston Celtics (Game 1 Saturday 7 PM ET ESPN)
This Celtics team is young and they are really talented. Isaiah Thomas is playing great at the point. There are just so many young players like Evan Turner, Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk that all make big time plays. The Hawks team isn’t the same as last year’s team. They aren’t nearly as good or as consistent. I feel like we will see a mild upset here.
Prediction: Celtics in 6
#1 Golden State Warriors vs. #8 Houston Rockets (Game 1 Saturday 3:30 PM ET ABC)
Come on now. Do you really think a team that won 73 games and set an NBA regular season record has any chance of losing a series to a team that has been so underwhelming this year? Not a chance. Can’t wait to see how little defense James Harden will play against Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and company. I’ll give the Rockets a game and I’m not quite sure why.
Prediction: Warriors in 5
#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #7 Memphis Grizzlies (Game 1 Sunday 8 PM ET TNT)
The Spurs have rested their starters a lot this season. The Grizzlies need rest to heal all of their injured players. That isn’t going to happen. This Grizzlies team is depleted and the Spurs shouldn’t have too much trouble sweeping them. At the most the Grizzlies take one game.
Prediction: Spurs in 4
#3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #6 Dallas Mavericks (Game 1 Saturday 9:30 PM ET ESPN)
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are just too good. The Mavericks have been playing better as of late to end the regular season, but they aren’t going to beat the Thunder in this series.
Prediction: Thunder in 5
#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. #5 Portland Trailblazers (Game 1 Sunday 10:30 PM ET TNT)
I’ll admit, I did not think Portland was getting back to the playoffs this season. Not after losing Demarcus Aldridge. They are a fun team to watch though. The Clippers are going to have their hands full with them, but Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are going to be too difficult for Portland to stop.
Prediction: Clippers in 6
Eastern Conference Finals
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #2 Toronto Raptors
Western Conference Finals
#1 Golden State Warriors vs. #2 San Antonio Spurs
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #2 San Antonio Spurs
NBA Champions: San Antonio Spurs
I picked the Spurs at the beginning of the season and while I admit it doesn’t seem likely that they are going to beat the Warriors, I’m not going to pick against them. Let’s just hope what I predicted at the beginning of the season comes true.
Coming up Monday: NBA & NHL playoff reaction plus NFL schedule release reaction