NBA Western Conference Semifinals Predictions
Source: Rick Bowmer/Associated Press
The Western Conference Semis are finally here! The Phoenix Suns knocked off the defending champs in the first round and they will now have to face the MVP favourite Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. The Utah Jazz barely broke a sweat as they swept the Memphis Grizzlies but will have a bigger challenge facing the Kawhi led LA Clippers. What will the Western conference finals look like? Here are my picks!
Denver Nuggets Vs Phoenix Suns
The Denver Nuggets won their first round matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers in six games. It looked like the Nuggets would have to play a seventh game until the Blazers blew it in the 4th quarter. Despite being down by 15 late in the 3rd, the Nuggets rallied back and dominated the 4th quarter to finish off Portland and their star guard Damian Lillard. The Suns' did some ousting themselves, as they sent Lebron and Lakers packing.
Denver came in the playoffs missing their starting point guard Jamal Murray, however they’ve kept the train moving.The Jokers has shouldered the load nicely, but the Nuggets star seems to be just fine, averaging an insane 33 points in their opening round as well as over 10 boards. The Nuggets have gotten some much needed help from their tertiary player. and Michael Porter Jr. has stepped up in a big in light of Murray's absence.
The Suns were in deep water being down 2-1 to the defending champs Lakers, but then Anthony Davis got hurt and it changed the dynamic of the series. Devin Booker also changed the dynamic of the series as well with his three point shooting. He carried the load scoring 77 more points than the teammate behind him, but he will need to get some support, and that's where Ayton and Paul will have to come in.
The Nuggets do have depth. but without Murray the Nuggets can only go so far. Devin Booker might take it another level against the Nuggets. Paul looks good to go and the extra rest should definitely help his shoulder. If Paul is healthy, the Suns have the advantage. Phoenix's backcourt will beat up on the Nuggets role players. The Suns beat the injury riddled Nuggets team.
Suns in 5.
Utah Jazz Vs Los Angeles Clippers
The first seed Utah and the LA Clippers are the second matchup in the West semifinals. The Jazz were stunned in game one against the Grizzlies, losing by three points to the eighth seeded team. However, Donovan Mitchell crushed Memphis from then on out, averaging close to 29 points in the opening round. It took the Clippers a full seven game series against Luka and the gang, but they managed to right their wrong from last year.
The Jazz have some of the best secondary scoring in the league, they have six players averaging double digits in points. Former DPOY, Rudy Robert averaged a double double and produced more than four blocks a game, leading both sides in that category. They’ll need him to continue that production. Utah's offence gave Memphis problems to say the least, and their depth and three point shooting holds up, who knows how far they could go.
The Clippers were down 3-2 to the Dallas Mavericks, and while the internet was ready to roast Kawhi Leonard, but the Klaw managed to carry his team past Luka the god himself. Kawhi Leonard is showing shades of his 2019 season. The two time NBA Finals MVP averaged over 32 points in the opening round and shot an insane 60 percent against the Mavs, and with Paul George clicking, they could cause Utah somes serious issues.
The Clippers fought back against the Mavericks but it took Kawhi some magic to pull it off. The biggest question mark is Paul George, Utah's defence frustrated him all season. The Clippers bench wasn't much of a factor against the Mavs. If Donovan Mitchell should play at the level we are accustomed to Utah should prevail. This series could be a defensive battle, so us as fans should be in for a good one.
Jazz in 6.