The NBA Playoffs start on Saturday and since there were no games on Thursday or Friday, here is a playoffs preview Daily Dose, along with the latest injury updates. Follow me on Twitter right here! And if you'd rather listen to a preview than read one, check out Mike Gallagher's podast, which has a DFS slant. This is the Western preview, while the East is coming on Friday.
No. 1 Cavaliers vs. No. 8 Pistons
Game 1 Sunday @ CLE 3 pm
Game 2 Wednesday @ CLE 8 pm
Game 3 Friday @ DET 7 pm
Game 4 Sunday @ DET 8:30 pm
Williams is very iffy for Game 1, while Shumpert has a decent chance of playing.
Key bench players: Stanley Johnson
Injuries: Reggie Jackson (abdominal strain)
Jackson is dealing with an abdominal injury and is a bit iffy for Game 1. However, since it’s the playoffs and he’s had some rest, I’m guessing he plays.
Maybe the Pistons win a game, but this is Cleveland’s series to lose and they’re heavy favorites to win the East. Prediction: Cavs in 4.
No. 2 Raptors vs. No. 7 Pacers
Game 1 Saturday @ TOR 12:30 pm
Game 2 Monday @ TOR 7 pm
Game 3 Thursday @ IND 7:30 pm
Game 4 Saturday @ IND 3 pm
Injuries: C.J. Miles (shoulder)
The Pacers’ lineup isn’t set in stone and Miles, who is expected to play in Game 1, sounds like he’ll be good to go. Whether the Pacers start Miles or Allen remains to be seen.
The Raptors come in healthy, although they’re still trying to adjust to the return of Carroll, and the Pacers will not be an easy out. Look for this series to go deep, and I’m going out on a limb and picking an upset. Prediction: Pacers in 7.
No. 3 Heat vs. No. 6 Hornets
Game 1 Sunday @ MIA 5:30 pm
Game 2 Wednesday @ MIA 7 pm
Game 3 Saturday @ CHA 5:30 pm
Game 4 Monday @ CHA TBD
Injuries: Chris Bosh (blood clot)
Bosh is unlikely to play in the postseason, but anything’s possible. Their chances of doing some damage in the East would be much better with him, although they’re still an imposing challenge for whoever they’re facing.
Injuries: Nicolas Batum (ankle)
Batum says there’s no way he’s going to miss Game 1 so expect to see him out there on Sunday. Jefferson has been coming off the bench, but could start in Game 1 over Zeller.
The Heat simply have more high-powered weapons than the Hornets and should win this series to advance, although the Hornets will put up a fight. Prediction: Heat in 6.
No. 4 Hawks vs. No. 5 Celtics
Game 1 Saturday @ ATL 7 pm
Game 2 Tuesday @ ATL 7 pm
Game 3 Friday @ BOS 8 pm
Game 4 Sunday @ BOS 6 pm
Hardaway suffered an injury in Wednesday’s ugly loss and it sounds like he could miss some time, which would mean more run for Bazemore, Schroder and Sefolosha.
This should be a grueling series and while the Hawks come in reeling after a tough loss at Washington, the Celtics are riding on a cloud after pulling off an amazing 24-point comeback win against the Heat. This series is probably a coin toss, but I’ll take the home team Hawks with the home date for Game 7. Yeah, I’m a homer, but the Hawks are going to need strong play out of Bazemore and Korver if they’re going to advance. Prediction: Hawks in 7.
No. 1 Warriors vs. No. 8 Rockets
Game 1 Saturday @ GSW 3:30 pm
Game 2 Monday @ GSW 10:30 pm
Game 3 Thursday @ HOU9:30 pm
Game 4 Sunday @ HOU 3:30 pm
The Warriors just won their historic 73rd game and should be ready to roll through the playoffs. Harden and Howard will have to play a perfect game for the Rockets to avoid a sweep. Maybe it goes five games and I’ll take the bait, but I don’t feel great about it. Prediction: Warriors in 5.
No. 2 Spurs vs. No. 7 Grizzlies
Game 1 Sunday @ SAN 8 pm
Game 2 Tuesday @ SAN 9:30 pm
Game 3 Friday @ MEM 9:30 pm
Game 4 Sunday @ MEM 1 pm
We won’t see Conley or Gasol in the playoffs and Allen’s hamstring injury should allow him to play in Game 1. The Grizzlies starting lineup is a bit of a mystery from game to game, but I’m guessing they go with the one above in Game 1.
The Grizzlies are in a free fall, losing 10 of their last 11 games and won’t offer much opposition to the Spurs. Meanwhile, lost in all the GSW hoopla is the fact the Spurs had the most wins in franchise history this season with 67, just six fewer than the Warriors. This one should be over quickly and it will be interesting to see if Randolph and Allen can actually stay healthy for all four games. Prediction: Spurs in 4.
No. 3 Thunder vs. No. 6 Mavericks
Game 1 Saturday @ OKC 9:30 pm
Game 2 Monday @ OKC 8 pm
Game 3 Thursday @ DAL 7 pm
Game 4 Saturday @ DAL 8 pm
Key bench players: Enes Kanter
The Mavs are not only missing one of their best players in Parsons, but Barea’s groin injury, Harris’ thumb injury and Lee’s plantar fasciitis are all fairly concerning. It sounds like Barea and Harris will give it a go, but Lee is highly questionable for Games 1 and 2 in this series. They may also go with a small lineup and start Felton or Harris over Anderson.
The Mavericks picked the wrong time of the year and opponent to be this banged up and it’s hard to see them putting up much of a fight against the Thunder. OKC may be the team with the best shot at beating the Warriors in a seven-game series, along with the Spurs, and they shouldn’t have much trouble with the Mavs, if any. Prediction: Thunder in 4.
No. 4 Clippers vs. No. 5 Blazers
Game 1 Sunday @ LAC 10:30 pm
Game 2 Wednesday @ LAC 10:30 pm
Game 3 Saturday @ POR 10:30 pm
Game 4 Monday @ POR 10:30 pm
Injuries: J.J. Redick (heel)
The Clippers could end up starting Green, Pierce or Johnson at SF, so stay tuned to see who Doc Rivers rolls with. Redick’s heel injury is a concern and he’s “hopeful” to play in Game 1, but they won’t miss a beat if he’s out. Jamal Crawford, the likely Sixth Man of the Year (again) would step right into his place if Redick can’t go.
Injuries: Meyers Leonard (shoulder)
Leonard is out for the season, while Harkless, Aminu and Davis have picked up the slack in his absence.
The Clippers finally get a very winnable series in Round 1, but the Blazers will put up a fight. Lillard and McCollum are going to have to be at their best to make it happen, but the Clippers should win in the end. Prediction: Clippers in 6.