Just because the Pelicans didn’t make the playoffs doesn’t mean that the NBA season is over. So far we have all been gifted with an absolutely terrific first round of action that will include five Game Sevens this weekend.
Because the staff here at Pelican Debrief has been as enthralled with the action as you all have we decided to take a shot at predicting how each of those games would go. Below are the predictions for Saturday. Check back tomorrow for predictions on the two Sunday games.
Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers 4:30 pm CT:
Andrew: 97-91 Hawks. My initial thought is that there’s no way Indiana can come this far and lose Game 7 on their own court. But I started to second guess my own thoughts, and now I have no idea what to think. So just for fun, I’m going to go ahead with Atlanta with the upset as I think they hit their shots from behind the arc and pull out in a close game. The SS Hibbert keeps sinking.
Chris: 97-93 Hawks. This is going to feel like a cop-out answer but I really think the deciding factor for this series will be as simple as the Pacers need to score enough to give them the edge over the Hawks. Of course it could also be as simple as the Hawks making the majority of the insane number of three pointers they have attempted.
Rick: 93-90 Pacers. The Pacers have been here before. Even if they haven’t looked very good, that experience in these kind of games will pay off big time against a young Hawks team. Atlanta is going to be a real threat in the future though with the nucleus they have established. Also, never trust the Hawks.
Matt: 103-102 (OT) Pacers. It is going to be ugly and there will be points that the Pacers seem dead. But I just find it impossible to believe that a team that looked so good for so long this season is going to lose to a team with Macedonian Carlos Boozer (Pero Antic). Also like Rick said, Never Trust the Hawks.
Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7 pm CT:
Andrew: 104-91 Thunder. Z-Bo is gone and more than likely the league isn’t going to turn around and change their minds on that decision. With that in mind, it’ll probably be the worst Game 7 of the weekend, but this series was one of the best of the first round by far.
Chris: 110-105 (OT) Thunder. Zach Randolph is suspended so obviously the Thunder are going to HAHAHAHAHA THIS SERIES HAS MADE NO SENSE FROM THE START AND WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE NO SENSE. I’m predicting triple overtime, Tony Allen scores 25, Kendrick Perkins has 15, Kevin Durant has 4, and Russel Westbrook scores 50 in a Thunder win. The narrative shall shift and the internet will burn.
Rick: 102-91 Thunder. It’s a shame Zach Randolph won’t get the chance to play. Without him, Serge Ibaka should be a huge factor in the Thunder being able to escape the death trap of the Memphis Grizzlies at home. OKC has to improve though to make a real title threat. Kevin Durant avoids a 2007-Dirk-like MVP ceremony for one more round.
Matt: 104-98 Thunder. Zach Randolph hasn’t exactly been great in this series but his presence alone opens up the outside a bit for guys like Mike Miller and Courtney Lee. The bigger problem is the injury to Mike Conley who is going to have issues trying to stay in front of Russell Westbrook with a bad wheel. Really though this comes down to one team having two top 10 players on the roster and one team having just one.
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers, 9:30 pm CT:
Andrew: 119-118 (OT) Warriors. Maybe I am too confident in Stephen Curry, but I have a gut feeling we are going to see something special from him and his splash brother, Klay Thompson. Draymond Green has been playing inspired defense, and the Warriors seem to realize what is necessary to win without their defensive anchor, Andrew Bogut. I’ll take the Warriors to pull this out in another close game.
Chris: 110-98 Clippers. This series has felt underwhelming to me due to the large amount of blowouts. I feel inclined to take the Clippers at home because of how dominant they can be when Blake Griffin isn’t in foul trouble. I don’t expect them to win Game 7 easily, but I’m not expecting a thriller to the end.
Rick: 113-110 Warriors. The Warriors were my pick before the series, so I feel inclined to stick with them. If Curry, Klay and Andre Iguodala can get hot, it will tricky for the Clippers. Blake Griffin has to stay out of foul trouble and DeAndre Jordan will have to be huge again for them to win. Just don’t see that happening. Splash brothers dive into the West Semis.
Matt: 107-100, Clippers. This was tough but ultimately I went with the team with two of the three best players in the series. Blake Griffin has been a monster and I think tonight he solves the Draymond Green defense. With Jermaine O’Neal unlikely to play I don’t see the Warriors being able to even slow Blake down when Green isn’t on him. And if is close late, which it should be, I have all the faith in the world in Chris Paul. He is the Point God for a reason.
What do you think happens today? Leave your picks and some reasoning in the comments below and see if you can out pick the Pelican Debrief staff.