1. Golden State Warriors vs. 8. Portland Trail Blazers

These two teams met in the second round of last season’s playoffs where the Golden State Warriors took down the Portland Trail Blazers in five games in what was an offensive barrage by Golden State. Stephen Curry did not partake in the first three games of that series due to injury and the Warriors still made it look easy. Now with Kevin Durant on the roster and the Blazers not playing as well as they did last season, it should be an easy first-round win for the Dubs.

Warriors 4-0.

2. San Antonio Spurs vs. 7. Memphis Grizzlies

The San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies have had some classic battles in the past and will meet again in the first round.

However, the Grizzlies don’t seem to have the same spunk as they did before. The Grit-and-Grind style has been long outdated, and the team looks older and slower than ever before. The Grizzlies also took an enormous hit when the Chandler Parsons project failed. They invested so much money in him, and he is once again injured. They just don’t have enough to compete against Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and the beautiful Spurs offense.

Spurs 4-1.

3. Houston Rockets vs. 6. Oklahoma City Thunder

There is nothing like seeing a playoff battle between the top two MVP candidates, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. In what will most likely be a high-octane, offensive showdown, the Houston Rockets will probably be able to edge the Oklahoma City Thunder simply because they have way too many offensive weapons.

It would take major performances by Westbrook for his team to beat the Rockets in a seven-game series. Harden will not allow his team to lose this match because he will take it personally since he believes he’s the real MVP, and he simply has more talent on his team.

Rockets 4-2.

4. Los Angeles Clippers vs. 5. Utah Jazz

The four-and-five matchup is typically the hardest one to predict because both teams are too closely matched. In fact, the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz finished with identical 51-31 records, making this series even tougher to predict. Utah has its top-notch defense to count on, while Los Angeles has its incredible offense.

Usually, good defense outweighs good offense, which is why the Jazz have a realistic shot of winning this series despite being less experienced than the Clippers and not owning home-court advantage. Rudy Gobert’s length and athleticism inside will be the biggest key. If the Jazz play with immense physicality, they could perhaps exhaust the Clippers en route to the second round.

Jazz 4-2.

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