#DARBusiness: NBA First-Round Predictions (Western Conference)

(Ed. Note: For the Eastern Conference, check out this link.)

#1 Warriors vs #8 Pelicans

True: I am disappointed that OKC didn't make it in, as I wanted to see Russ going hard to turn an up and down season into redemption by eliminating the dominant Warriors, but with the Pelicans making it in? I've got to go with Golden State. They have showcased their dominance in the regular season and while I have my concerns about them this postseason, I have them taking this one. Oh and Steph? That's the MVP right there, brother. Warriors in 5.

Apollo: Warriors in 6.

Speed: CURRYWINSLOL. Warriors in 4. These four games will be contested, yes. But, they'll ultimately be Warrior wins.

Axel: A lot of people think this will be a cakewalk for Golden State they need to re-evaluate some things. New Orleans, when fully healthy, are a quality team. Anthony Davis will be running rampant in this series and if Tyreke Evans can be effective at being the point guard, this series can be compelling on the low. But, ultimately it'll be too much Steph and Klay for the Pelicans to overcome. Warriors in 6.

#2 Rockets vs #7 Mavericks

True: Nothing would make me happier than to see the Mavs eliminate the Rockets in the first round, but I just can't see this happening. This is a very closely matched series and while I think this will go the distance, I have the Rockets pulling out the W. Rockets in 7.

Apollo: Mavs in 7.

Speed: Let it be known that I don't hate the Rockets. I just do not not hate them. But, they are a damn good team. Pesky when it counts as well. With that said...Rockets in 6. Sorry Dirk.

Axel: James Harden has elevated his game to unbelievable standards this year if he wants to take that next step he has to  dominate this playoff series because in the past he's had a tendency to pull disappearing acts in the postseason. The Mavs match up with the Rockets fairly well as this rivalry goes back to some classic mid-2000's battles. Rick Carlisle will most likely coach circles around McHale and not having Pat Beverly and D-Mo will hurt Houston. But, if Harden wants to continue to grow, he has to have his fingerprints all over this series if he continues his strong regular season play. I have Houston winning this series in a close one. Rockets in 7.

#3 Clippers vs #6 Spurs 
True: Okay, so I lied. There is something that would make me happier than the Mavs beating the Rockets, and that's the Spurs taking a first round exit. This will be a great series, and also go the distance I believe, but I'll make the seemingly bold prediction and put my faith in the Clippers to pull this one out. No repeat for the Spurs. Clippers in 7.

Apollo: Spurs in 6.

Speed: True, your prediction isn't too bold. I made the same one a couple weeks back as the season wound down. The Spurs are a great team. But, this isn't the year they repeat. The Clippers need their "WrestleMania Moment" series. One that'll show "hey, we are a team who was assembled to kick everyone's ass who came near us." Yeah, if they make it to the conference finals, they'll probably get destroyed by Golden State. But...I'm sensing a Clippers win here, but one that doesn't come easy. Clippers in 7.

Axel: Spurs are clicking at the right time If Kawhi's tremendous two-way-play continues. I've the Spurs winning the series. I also feel Coach Pop will out coach Doc Rivers and the Spurs' depth will play a major factor as well. Both teams went into the playoffs playing their best ball. But, this is a major series in Chris Paul's career he needs a deep playoff run to add to his legacy and him and Griffin I feel will bring their A-game. Question is: how will the supporting cast fare against the defending champs? Spurs in Seven

#4 Portland vs #5 Memphis

True: I enjoy watching Portland play and think they've built one hell of a team. I'd love for them to advance here, but I don't see it happening. Memphis dominated their regular season matchups, and I see them doing the same in this series as well. Grizzlies in 6.

Apollo: Grizzlies in 7.

Speed: This match-up is one that I've paid the least attention to. However, in seeing the Grizzlies play, I'd have to take them. They seem to want it more. Grizzlies in 7.

Axel: If Portland had Wes Matthews, I would've chose them. But, I think their lack of depth is gonna hurt them in this series. I think it'll be too much Gasol and Randolph for Portland to win. LaMarcus Aldridge won't go out quietly, though. Jeff Green could play a strong role as a sort of hidden X-Factor. Also, Lillard vs Conley should be intriguing, even though Lillard has been inconsistent this year--especially on the defensive end. With all that said, I'm giving the slight edge to Memphis in a deciding game on their floor. Grizzlies in 7.


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