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Today’s Fastbreak’s Official NBA Playoff Predictions

The 2015 NBA Playoffs are here, and that means it’s time for predictions. Our playoff crew at Today’s Fastbreak got together and submitted their picks for how this postseason plays out.

Jason Patt

Western Conference First Round

Warriors over Pelicans in 5, Grizzlies over Blazers in 7, Rockets over Mavericks in 7, Spurs over Clippers in 7

Eastern Conference First Round 

Hawks over Nets in 5, Wizards over Raptors in 6, Cavaliers over Celtics in 5, Bulls over Bucks in 5

Western Conference Semifinals

Warriors over Grizzlies in 6, Spurs over Rockets in 5

Eastern Conference Semifinals

Hawks over Wizards in 6, Cavaliers over Bulls in 6

Western Conference Finals

Warriors over Spurs in 7

Eastern Conference Finals

Cavaliers over Hawks in 6

NBA Finals

Warriors over Cavaliers in 7

It’s tough to go against the defending champions, who played some brilliant basketball down the stretch. But the Warriors were historically dominant all season, and I think that home-court advantage at Oracle will be a huge help in boosting them to the Finals. Once in the Finals, it’ll help again against Cleveland. The Cavaliers will face strong challenges from Chicago and Atlanta, but Cleveland’s talent level will win out … until an epic seven-game series that ends at Oracle with a Warriors championship.

Donnie Kolakowski

Western Conference First Round 

Warriors over Pelicans in 5, Grizzlies over Blazers in 6, Rockets over Mavericks in 6, Spurs over Clippers in 7

Eastern Conference First Round

Hawks over Nets in 4, Cavaliers over Celtics in 5, Bulls over Bucks in 5, Wizards over Raptors in 6

Western Conference Semifinals

Warriors over Grizzlies in 7, Spurs over Rockets in 6

Eastern Conference Semifinals

Hawks over Wizards in 6, Cavaliers over Bulls in 7

Western Conference Finals

Spurs over Warriors in 7

Eastern Conference Finals

Cavaliers over Hawks in 6

NBA Finals

Spurs in 5

The Golden State Warriors were one of the best regular season teams ever, but few teams with as little playoff experience as Golden State have won a title. The Warriors are certainly capable, but the Spurs are peaking at the right time and are the only team that seems to match up well with everything Golden State can do. Once in the Finals, San Antonio should have its way with a Cavaliers team that has issues defending secondary offensive action. LeBron James said it would be a process winning a championship in Cleveland, and his first year is a part of that process. But it’ll feel eerily similar to his last year with Miami and last Finals appearance with Cleveland.

Jared Johnson

Western Conference First Round 

Warriors over Pelicans in 5, Grizzlies over Blazers in 7, Rockets over Mavericks in 6, Spurs over Clippers in 6

Eastern Conference First Round

Hawks over Nets in 5, Raptors over Wizards in 7, Cavaliers over Celtics in 4, Bulls over Bucks in 5

Western Conference Semifinals

Warriors over Grizzlies in 4, Spurs over Rockets in 6

Eastern Conference Semifinals

Hawks over Raptors in 6, Cavaliers over Bulls in 6

Western Conference Finals

Warriors over Spurs in 7

Eastern Conference Finals

Cavaliers over Hawks in 6

NBA Finals

Warriors over Cavaliers in 6

The Warriors, led by their rookie coach, MVP-favorite point guard and a deep roster will benefit greatly from their home-court advantage, as they finished 39-2 at Oracle Arena during the regular season. The Cavaliers will put up a strong fight with their supremely talented roster, but don’t have the coaching or defensive personnel to shut down Golden State in a seven-game series.

Michael Wonsover

Western Conference First Round 

Warriors over Pelicans in 5, Grizzlies over Blazers in 7, Rockets over Mavericks in 6, Spurs over Clippers in 7

Eastern Conference First Round

Hawks over Nets in 5, Raptors over Wizards in 7, Cavaliers over Celtics in 4, Bulls over Bucks in 5

Western Conference Semifinals

Warriors over Grizzlies in 6, Spurs over Rockets in 6

Eastern Conference Semifinals

Hawks over Raptors in 6, Cavaliers over Bulls in 6

Western Conference Finals

Warriors over Spurs in 7

Eastern Conference Finals

Cavaliers over Hawks in 6

NBA Finals

Cavaliers over Warriors in 7

Cleveland has been a different team since acquiring Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. The Hawks had an outstanding season, but the Cavs will be tough to stop with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving firing on all cylinders. If Kevin Love ever figures out how to play in David Blatt’s system, just watch out for the Cavs.

Golden State is just too good of a team to not make the Finals. 67 wins and one of the best win margins ever say the Warriors are going to make it out of the Wild West. I’m not about to bet against a team that has the shooting of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and the league’s best defense. Just insane.

In the Finals, I’m going to stick with my preseason selection and go with the Cavs in an all-time great series. Irving and Curry essentially cancel each other out while LeBron meets no equal on the Warriors. Draymond Green will play him tough, but ultimately LeBron’s Finals experience will win out. The Cavs also benefit from a much easier path than the Warriors, meaning Curry and Co. could be exhausted come Finals time.

Jake Weiner

Western Conference First Round 

Warriors over Pelicans in 4, Blazers over Grizzlies in 7, Rockets over Mavericks in 6, Spurs over Clippers in 7

Eastern Conference First Round

Hawks over Nets in 4, Wizards over Raptors in 6, Cavaliers over Celtics in 5, Bulls over Bucks in 5

Western Conference Semifinals

Warriors over Blazers in 5, Spurs over Rockets in 6

Eastern Conference Semifinals

Hawks over Wizards in 5, Cavaliers over Bulls in 6

Western Conference Finals

Warriors over Spurs in 7

Eastern Conference Finals

Hawks over Cavaliers in 7

NBA Finals

Warriors over Hawks in 6

The Conference Finals were hands down the hardest series to pick. Ultimately, I felt more comfortable betting on the superior coach and system in the Eastern Conference than the best player. James is trying to make his fifth consecutive Finals, something that hasn’t been done in decades. In the West, I badly wanted to pick the Spurs, who have looked as good as ever lately. But that ignores the fact that they still might be inferior to a historically great Warriors squad. The Dubs outscored opponents at a rate only matched by the 07-08 Celtics since the Jordan Bulls. Stephen Curry is a glitch in the system. I’m riding Kerr and company all the way.

Trenton Jocz

Western Conference First Round 

Warriors over Pelicans in 6, Grizzlies over Blazers in 7, Rockets over Mavericks in 7, Spurs over Clippers in 6

Eastern Conference First Round

Hawks over Nets in 5, Wizards over Raptors in 6, Cavaliers over Celtics in 5, Bulls over Bucks in 5

Western Conference Semifinals

Warriors over Grizzlies in 6, Spurs over Rockets in 6

Eastern Conference Semifinals

Hawks over Wizards in 6, Bulls over Cavaliers in 7

Western Conference Finals

Spurs over Warriors in 7

Eastern Conference Finals

Bulls over Hawks in 6

NBA Finals

Spurs over Bulls in 5

It’s tempting to pick against San Antonio due to the last-minute drop in seeding that’ll force them to win without home-court, but as historically great as the Warriors have been, I’m going to pick the Spurs until they tell us that their run is over.

Adam Lukach

Western Conference First Round 

Warriors over Pelicans in 6, Grizzlies over Blazers in 7, Rockets over Mavericks in 7, Clippers over Spurs in 7

Eastern Conference First Round

Hawks over Nets in 4, Raptors over Wizards in 7, Cavaliers over Celtics in 5, Bulls over Bucks in 5

Western Conference Semifinals

Warriors over Grizzlies in 6, Clippers over Rockets in 6

Eastern Conference Semifinals

Hawks over Raptors in 5, Cavaliers over Bulls in 7

Western Conference Finals

Warriors over Clippers in 6

Eastern Conference Finals

Cavaliers over Hawks in 7

NBA Finals

Warriors over Cavaliers in 7

The Warriors came within five games of the 95-96 Bulls’ greatest record of all time, and they did it in a totally loaded Western Conference that saw six of its eight playoff seeds shift on the final day of the season.”Jump shooting team” be damned, this is one of the greatest shooting teams to ever exist, and they can bring the wood at the defensive end as well. They have both the versatility and skills to match up with any type of team and still not miss a beat on offense either.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers seem like a good bet to come out of the East as long as LeBron stays healthy. They seem to be peaking at the right time, and for all their lack of experience, they still have more than Atlanta. Maybe the Hawks can regroup and shoot their way out of the East, but they’ve looked very beatable during the last couple months.

Andy Liu

Western Conference First Round 

Warriors over Pelicans in 5, Grizzlies over Blazers in 7, Mavericks over Rockets in 7, Spurs over Clippers in 6

Eastern Conference First Round

Hawks over Nets in 4, Raptors over Wizards in 7, Cavaliers over Celtics in 5, Bulls over Bucks in 6

Western Conference Semifinals

Warriors over Grizzlies in 6, Spurs over Mavericks in 5

Eastern Conference Semifinals

Hawks over Raptors in 6, Cavaliers over Bulls in 7

Western Conference Finals

Warriors over Spurs in 7

Eastern Conference Finals

Cavaliers over Hawks in 7

NBA Finals

Warriors over Cavaliers in 7

Home-court advantage might not mean much to certain teams, but for the Warriors, it means everything in a series between two of the best offenses in the league. The Warriors play almost an unstoppably frenetic brand of defense at home, and that’s just enough to overcome a LeBron James-led Cavs squad.

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