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The 2017 Western Conference Playoff: Breakdown of the First Round Of The NBA Playoffs Out West!
- Updated: April 15, 2017
2017 Western Conference Playoffs:
The 2017 western conference playoff bracket should be interesting! Wednesday night concluded the NBA regular season. This Saturday the 2017 NBA playoffs will commence. As you gear up for Saturday take some time to observe the 2017 western conference playoff bracket.
Despite an odd NBA season filled with blow outs, lack luster trades, and tanking, the playoffs should still be interesting.
When you think of competition from top to bottom most people believe that the western conference has more talent than the eastern conference. Let’s flash back to last year’s NBA playoffs in the western conference.
Who would have thought that the Golden State Warriors would survive a 3-1 deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder when Forward Kevin Durant and Guard Russell Westbrook were still playing together?
Last season we witnessed Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan say farewell to the NBA. In addition to two of the greats retiring we witnessed Chris Paul and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers suffer season ending injuries at the beginning of the playoffs.
Also, to add insult to injury the Grizzlies were without their star center Marc Gasol due to a foot fracture. Injury played a huge part in last year’s post season, but let’s not forget that the Portland Trail Blazers managed to advance to the second round of the playoffs and the Houston Rockets managed to make it into the post season despite a mediocre season.
A lot has changed in a year, Durant decided to take his talents to the Bay area to capture the elusive first ring. Will this be the year KD receives his first ring or will this be the return of the wild west? Let’s go through the first-round match ups and see if there are any upsets brewing, potential seven game series or blow outs. The 2017 Western Conference playoffs will be a beast to say the least.
Golden State Warriors Vs. Portland Trail Blazers:
Even though the (66-15) Warriors are the heavy favorite in this series, this could affect Dub Nation long term. The 2015-2016 Western Conference Champions have the edge over the Trail Blazers in 3 pointers made, total points and rebounds.
However, Dub Nation needs to protect KD from himself. Remember the (41-40) Trail Blazers have a strong one two punch in Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum. Granted the Trail Blazers are going to have to generate more offense, but the two guards will put pressure on Durant’s recovering knee.
Now Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts is going to have to move the two guards around constantly through pick and roll and make sure that they do not make isolation basketball a staple of their offense. The Blazers could potentially get the GSW in foul trouble by making them switch on defense.
Warriors Head coach Steve Kerr stated that his team goes through stretches where they reach on defense entirely too much. Again, an upset may not happen, but this series will be interesting to watch. What will happen when the Warriors quad squad is on the bench?
Remember the 2015-2016 roster averaged 40 points. The 2015 NBA champions will win this series in 5 games due to the Blazers lack of offense.
Utah Jazz Vs. Los Angeles Clippers:
The matchup between the 4th and 5th seed will be interesting considering both teams are evenly matched. People may not agree, but the winner of this series can push the Warriors to a game 7.
Consider this the (50-31) Clippers lost both of their star players in the first round of the playoffs last year. The year before that Lob City ran out of gas against the Houston Rockets. Will this be the year that the franchise lives up to the expectations around the league?
My money is on the (51-31) Utah Jazz for several reasons. The Salt Lake City Franchise has a 50% field goal percentage and they play team basketball. Forward Gordon Hayward gets it done on the offensive and defensive end of the floor.
The current roster is complete with the likes of Rudy Gobert, George Hill, Derrick Favors, Dante Exum, Joe Johnson, Rodney Hood Joe Ingles, Boris Diaw and Alec Burks. A lot of these names may not be superstars, but there is a perfect balance roster wise.
The Jazz can beat you in the post, on the perimeter, on the fast break and stop you on defense with the lankly arms of Gobert. The team has bought into the culture and vision of Head coach Quin Snyder. The Jazz are exceptional with ball movement and beating teams with the extra pass.
This series could go either way, but the Jazz will win this series in six due to their bench depth, ability to move the ball and getting defensive stops. This game will conclude the first night of the 2017 Western Conference games.
Houston Rockets Vs. Oklahoma City Thunder:
Somebody please give Westbrook the MVP trophy already. The argument that Rockets guard James Harden should win is fair. However, Harden has a better team that was built just for him, while Westbrook received hand me downs.
Westbrook did less with a roster that was thrown together last minute in the hopes that KD would still be playing in Oklahoma City. Now let’s get back to the series and how it could have multiple outcomes.
The Rockets (55-27) should win this series unless they have a major meltdown like Bobby Brown in New Edition. Houston averaged 46.2% from the field, 35.7% from three, and scored 9458 points this season.
Come Saturday this will be a fun series to watch, but the (47-35) Thunder do not have enough to compete for 7 games. Outside of Westbrook, Victor Oladipo and Enes Kanter there is no offensive stability. Westbrook has the tendency to shoot his team out of a game, but what choice does he have.
This will be an interesting series, but Houston will win in 6 games.
San Antonio Spurs Vs. Memphis Grizzlies:
Finally, the (61-21) San Antonio Spurs taking on the (43-39) Memphis Grizzlies. Originally, I had the Grizzlies challenging the Warriors in the playoffs, but that was before Chandler Parsons suffered a tear in his knee.
Memphis could run with the Spurs, but loosing guard Tony Allen does not help their chances. Allen may not give you 20 points a game, but he provides toughness on both ends of the floor, a leader and someone who can guard the opponent’s best player.
The Grizzlies have shot less then 50% from the field all season, but they take efficient shots. If Gasol and Zach Randolph can dominate the boards they may be able to hang in the series. The key concern for the Grizzlies is where will their points come from when Michael Conley is on the bench.
The tempo of the game slows down come playoffs, but is there such thing as to slow. To keep up with the Spurs you must be able to score on the fast break. If you ask me I don’t see the Grizzlies scoring enough points.
Spurs long time coach Greg Popovich can easily, put Kawhi Leonard on Conley which could disrupt the Grizzlies offensive scheme.
I love Memphis, but loosing Parsons is going to cost you, Spurs in 5 games.
Get your popcorn ready for the 2017 Western Conference playoffs.
Look out for the eastern conference first round playoff breakdown by Austin Grad.
Follow me on twitter or Instagram @Zack_Rogers5.
If you liked this playoff preview, please check out Austin Grad’s article on the eastern conference playoffs.