NBA 2015/16 Playoffs – Conference Finals

Eastern Conference Finals

Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Hawks

Like most people I’m pretty underwhelmed about this series. I’m expecting an easy Cavs series victory and for Lebron to get to the finals for the 6th year running. That is one hell of achievement.

Toronto don’t have Valanciunas and are going to rely heavily on Biyombo at the center position. I’m expecting the Cavs to have the advantage on the boards, especially with when Thompson’s on the floor. Lowry & DeRozen haven’t had a great playoffs overall, but have been better towards the backend of the Heat series.

It’s be interesting to see who the Cavs put on DeRozen. They could put Lebron on him, Lebron’s not the defender he was year ago. Part of the reason is that he gives a lot less effort on D. When you’ve been to the Finals 5 straight years and have already played more NBA minutes than Bird and Magic you can be forgiven for being efficient and saving yourself for when it matters. Paul George shut down DeRozen this post season, and Lebron can too. Unless the Lebron guards someone like Carroll to save his energy for the other end.

Cavs in 5


Western Conference Finals

Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder

Last preview I said how I fully expected the Spurs to proceed…I was wrong! I managed to at least draw even on this series thanks to a large bet on Thunder to win game 6 at home. The market bizarrely (to me) still had the Spurs as slight favourites considering what had occurred in the series till that point.

About those Spurs…what the hell happened?

The Spurs weren’t helped by some dodgy calls. It’s not good when there’s 2 L2M reports that say you were hard done by. There’s been a lot of focus on the Waiters inbound decision in game2, but that whole game OKC were allowed to beat up the Spurs. (And in game 1 last night the Thunder were allowed to beat up the Warriors).

But the main reason, as every at least semi-astute watcher knows, is that the Spurs struggled to score. In 2014 they won the title playing beautiful basketball, 2 years later their offense was basically isoball and dump it into the post for Aldridge. There’s been some chat that with the league shooting more & more 3s, that there’s an inefficiency in the lack of the midrange game…but the fact is that the midrange is inefficient! Everyone knows Kanter is a bad defender as he gets blown by easy. The Spurs had success attacking him in the PNR but didn’t do it that often against him. Kanter’s fine on the defensive end when all he has to do is defend postups and rebound. Kanter got destroyed last night as he had to defend space.

Another problem for the Spurs is the lack of athleticism that they have. Which is probably the main reason they’ve left the 2014 style of play…which brings me on to Kyle Anderson. Mr Anderson played around 60 minutes in the series for a combined -26. Even in the first game that the Spurs won by 32 points he played 23 minutes and was only +1! He’s not long and his nickname is slow’mo, so why the hell was he guarding Kevin freaking Durant when he was on the floor?! Madness. When he leaves the Spurs he’s going to be another one of those players than people wake up to how shit they really are.


So OKC beat the Spurs, who were a good matchup for them, but now play a polar opposite team in the Warriors. The Spurs play slow and shoot a lot of long 2s (and far too few 3s) while the Warriors play fast and shoot loads of 3s. Spurs had terrible spacing and the Warriors don’t have that problem. The Warriors don’t rely on PNR like OKC but have more offball screen and cuts. Plus it helps when Curry can just dribble around for a bit, get a little bit of space then drain a 3.

The Warriors lost the first game last night, and it was one of those games that they really should have won. Their health is an issue. Curry’s not back to 100% yet. Green has an ankle injury and Bogut only managed 17 minutes. Despite losing game1 at home and these injury concerns, GSW are still rightly the favourites to quality.

Last point: its becoming a total joke the way that the refs have been favouring OKC these playoffs. Again last night they could beat up GSW and not get called. Small ball won’t work when the other team can beat the shit out of you. Also how did Iggy not get FTs for that foul late on, and there’s the obvious Westbrook travel…

It's a conspiracy!

I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, unlike some fools on twitter going on about the Lebron v OKC ratings, it’s just incompetence.

GSW in 7

NBA 2015/16 Playoffs – Second Round

NBA 2015/16 Playoffs – Second Round

I recommended 4 bets in the first round. Unfortunately only one was a winner so far. The Spurs swept the Grizzlies 4-0, while OKC managed to lose a game to the Mavs, Clippers got the worst luck with injuries and I’m holding out for an Indiana victory tonight.

Ok let’s have a look at the second round

The East

Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks

I don’t like Atlanta’s chances here. It’s bad matchup for Atlanta, I can’t see them having an advantage in any area. The Cavs have played the Hawks 3 times this season, and have 3 wins. They swept them in the playoffs last year, so that’s 7 straight victories.

Cavs in 5

Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat

At the risk of stating the obvious, this series has the biggest chance of an upset, and I like Miami’s chances to do so.

Toronto were pretty unimpressive in the previous round against Indiana. Lowry isn’t 100% and has been shooting poorly, his elbow is said to still be a problem. His BFF DeRozen didn’t have a good series either. Obviously the main reason is that he had Paul George guarding him, but Miami can put Deng or Winslow on him. DeRozen’s one of the most overrated players in the league IMO and is easy to guard compared to true quality players; as he has no 3point range players guarding him can go under screens with no fear. Toronto’s offense at times just boils down to him making tough long 2s. Toronto’s offense down the stretch in that game 7 was centred around using up the full shot clock then just jacking up a shot. Casey had another poor series so with Spo Miami have the coaching advantage.

Toronto have HCA, so this series is going 6 or 7 games but I like Miami to meet Lebron in the conference finals. I’ve even put some hard-earned on the Heat advancing at 2.50.

The West

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers

Portland were supposed to be a lottery team, yet here they are in the 2nd round. Yeah I’m still seething about my Terry Stotts COY bet!

GSW will be without Curry for an uncertain number of games. But even if he doesn’t play at all in this series, GSW will still progress. They’ve got plenty of top quality defensive players to put on Dame & CJ.

Warriors in 5

San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder

I’m writing this after the Spurs destroyed OKC in the first game. But I did tweet out that i expected a Spurs victory & for them to win in 5 games. This series isn’t going to be as close as casual fans would expect:

  • Billy Donavan isn’t exactly a coaching wizard.
  • Enes Kanter sucks on D, and will get abused in any PNR
  • OKC have a few guys not worth guarding so the Spurs can focus all on KD & Russ.
  • OKC have well documented 4th Q struggles in crunch time
  • While the Spurs have HCA & are an all time great team with possibly the greatest coach of all time.

Spurs in 5, there may be value in backing the Spurs on the road, we’ll see.