Basketball Daily Dose

Dose: NBA Playoffs Preview

Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

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. 

 

EAST

 

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

 

Cavs starters: Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson

Key bench players: Matthew DellavedovaIman Shumpert, Channing Frye, Timofey Mozgov

Injuries: Mo Williams (knee), Iman Shumpert (knee)

 

Williams is very iffy for Game 1, while Shumpert has a decent chance of playing.

 

Pistons starters: Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond

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

 

Raptors starters: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, DeMarre Carroll, Luis Scola, Jonas Valanciunas

Key bench players: Norman Powell, Terrence Ross, Patrick Patterson, Bismack Biyombo

Injuries: None

 

Pacers starters: George Hill, Monta Ellis, C.J. Miles, Paul George, Ian Mahinmi

Key bench players: Ty Lawson, Lavoy Allen, Myles Turner, Jordan Hill

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

 

Heat starters: Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Luol Deng, Hassan Whiteside

Key bench players: Amare Stoudemire, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Gerald Green

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.

 

Hornets starters: Kemba Walker, Courtney Lee, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, Al Jefferson

Key bench players: Jeremy Lin, Frank Kaminsky, Cody Zeller

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

 

Hawks starters: Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Kent Bazemore, Paul Millsap, Al Horford

Key bench players: Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway Jr., Thabo Sefolosha, Kris Humphries

Injuries: Tim Hardaway Jr. (hamstring/groin)

 

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. 

 

Celtics starters: Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Jared Sullinger

Key bench players: Marcus Smart, Evan Turner, Kelly Olynyk

Injuries: None

 

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.

 

West

 

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

 

Warriors starters: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut

Key bench players: Shaun Livingston, Brandon Rush, Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights, Festus Ezeli

Injuries: None

 

Rockets starters: Patrick Beverley, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Donatas Motiejunas, Dwight Howard

Key bench players: Jason Terry, Corey Brewer, Clint Capela, Michael Beasley

Injuries: None

 

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

 

Spurs starters: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan

Key bench players: Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili, Kyle Anderson, David West, Boris Diaw, Boban Marjanovic

Injuries: None

 

Grizzlies starters: Jordan Farmar, Lance Stephenson, Tony Allen, Matt Barnes, Zach Randolph

Key bench players: Xavier Munford, Jarell Martin, JaMychal Green

Injuries: Mike Conley (Achilles), Marc Gasol (foot), Tony Allen (hamstring)

 

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

 

Thunder starters: Russell Westbrook, Dion Waiters, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams

Key bench players: Enes Kanter

Injuries: None

 

Mavericks starters: Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Justin Anderson, Dirk Nowitzki, Zaza Pachulia

Key bench players: J.J. Barea, Raymond Felton, Devin Harris, David Lee

Injuries: Chandler Parsons (knee surgery), J.J. Barea (groin), Devin Harris (thumb), David Lee (foot)

 

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

 

Clippers starters: Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Luc Mbah a Moute, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan

Key bench players: Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, Jeff Green, Wes Johnson, Paul Pierce, Cole Aldrich

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.

 

Blazers starters: Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Moe Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, Mason Plumlee

Key bench players: Gerald Henderson, Allen Crabbe, Ed Davis

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.


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