Congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers, your 2015-16 NBA champions!
2016 NBA FINALS:
(1W) Golden State Warriors 3-4 Cleveland Cavaliers (1E)
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers 4-2 Toronto Raptors (2)
(1) Golden State Warriors 4-3 Oklahoma City Thunder (3)
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0 Atlanta Hawks (4)
(2) Toronto Raptors 4-3 Miami Heat (3)
(1) Golden State Warriors 4-1 Portland Trailblazers (5)
(2) San Antonio Spurs 2-4 Oklahoma City Thunder (3)
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0 Detroit Pistons (8)
(2) Toronto Raptors 4-3 Indiana Pacers (7)
(3) Miami Heat 4-3 Charlotte Hornets (6)
(4) Atlanta Hawks 4-2 VS Boston Celtics (5)
(1) Golden State Warriors 4-1 Houston Rockets (8)
(2) San Antonio Spurs 4-0 Memphis Grizzlies (7)
(3) Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1 Dallas Mavericks (6)
(4) Los Angeles Clippers 2-4 Portland Trailblazers (5)
Obviously I am rooting for the Raptors, but I really think they will make it to at least the Eastern Conference Finals. Lots of criticism, by fans, media, myself included, about their playoff performances (two first round exits previous two seasons, including a series sweep by the Wizards), so I just want to take it one series at a time. But the Raptors are a completely different team, and have filled the holes to their game that resulted in two early exits in the playoffs. Finished the season only 1 game behind the "team to beat" in the East, Cleveland, and have a winning record against every Eastern Playoff team, and the second best record in the league against +.500 teams (after GSW)
Most of the series look clear-cut, the imbalance between the top teams and bottom teams is crazy. GSW, Spurs, OKC all predicted to have easy wins in the West (Although I wouldn't count Dallas out, but OKC just has too many options). Cavs and Raptors predicted to win comfortably (although there are very few naysayers on the Raptors side).
Most exciting (as in competitive) series will probably be at in the east, with Hawks/Celtics and Heat/Hornets. The lack of playoff experience does put Celtics and Hornets at the disadvantage, but don't count them out. Hornets have made a complete 180 this season, and went from a no-shooting team to a decent 3pt shooting team. If they get it going, they can be a threat to the Heat. The Heat's major rim defender is Hassan Whiteside, but with Hornets shooting abilities, it might require him to stretch the floor and play more towards the perimeter, leaving the lane open to penetrate for the Hornets. The Celtics and Hawks are a defensive matchup. Celtics have stability through their bench, and have a great coach. The Hawks big men (Horford and Millsap) will be the biggest problem for the Celtics, but this should be a good matchup as well.
Don't let the standings in the East fool you, teams 3-6 all finished with the same record.
If I was going to predict an upset in the West, I'd say the Trailblazers have the greatest chance (although I wouldn't bet on it). But if their backcourt, Lilliard and McCollum, can't get it going, then it's over for them. Where LAC has the advantage is on the inside, Portland has no good answer for two of the great big men in the league, Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan. LAC's backcourt of Chris Paul and JJ Reddick also neutralizes Portland's.
LET'S GO RAPTORS.
Which matchups are you excited to see or which team are you rooting for?