The 2014-2015 NBA season is underway and we got a nice trio of matchups on opening night the other night as the we saw Anthony Davis and the rising New Orleans Pelicans take care of the Orlando Magic. We also saw the defending champion San Antonio Spurs narrowly beat the retooled Dallas Mavericks in a fantastic game, 101-100. And last but not least, we saw the Houston Rockets defeat the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center 108-90. Unfortunately, we saw One of the most young promising players in the league get injured in that Rockets-Lakers game as Lakers PF Julius Randle fractured his right tibia in a collision with two Houston players. Randle was the Lakers’ seventh overall pick in this years draft out of Kentucky. Randle is expected to turn into a Lakers franchise cornerstone player and is only 19 years old. Sadly, Randle will miss the rest of this season.
The rest of the NBA action tipped off last night as we got some great games to open the season. We saw the Bulls take care of the Knicks at Madison Square Garden as Derrick Rose made his much-anticipated second return with the Bulls. We got to see the LeBron-less Miami Heat in South Beach narrowly beat the young, rising Washington Wizards in a great Southeast Division clash. And the late night, nationally televised game we saw the rising Portland Trailblazers knock off the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were without Kevin Durant who is expected to miss at least the first month of the season with a broken foot.
So what’s the start of the NBA season without my yearly predictions? Last year I had the Miami Heat over Golden State Warriors as my Finals pick and I ended up being dead wrong. Instead, we got the San Antonio Spurs laying the smack down on the Miami Heat in five games. I was also wrong on my pick of LeBron James winning the MVP award again as that award went to the Thunder’s Kevin Durant. So let’s see how I do this year with my picks.
* Indicates a playoff team who did not win their division. Division winners are noted in bold.
1. Toronto Raptors (49-33)
2. New York Knicks (43-39)*
3. Brooklyn Nets (42-40)*
4. Boston Celtics (33-49)
5. Philadelphia 76ers (15-67)
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25)
2. Chicago Bulls (55-27)*
3. Detroit Pistons (41-41)
4. Indiana Pacers (39-43)
5. Milwaukee Bucks (19-63)
1. Washington Wizards (53-29)
2. Miami Heat (48-34)*
3. Charlotte Hornets (45-37)*
4. Atlanta Hawks (37-45)
5. Orlando Magic (22-60)
1. San Antonio Spurs (59-23)
2. Dallas Mavericks (51-31)*
3. Houston Rockets (50-32)*
4. Memphis Grizzlies (44-38)*
5. New Orleans Pelicans (30-52)
1. Oklahoma City Thunder (52-30)
2. Portland Trailblazers (49-33)*
3. Denver Nuggets (36-46)
4. Minnesota Timberwolves (28-54)
5. Utah Jazz (17-65)
1. Los Angeles Clippers (55-27)
2. Golden State Warriors (54-28)*
3. Phoenix Suns (44-38)
4. Sacramento Kings (26-56)
5. Los Angeles Lakers (23-59)
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals:
1 Cleveland Cavaliers over 8 Brooklyn Nets 4-1
2 Chicago Bulls over 7 New York Knicks 4-2
3 Washington Wizards over 6 Charlotte Hornets 4-2
4 Toronto Raptors over 5 Miami Heat 4-3
Eastern Conference Semifinals:
1 Cleveland Cavaliers over 4 Toronto Raptors 4-2
2 Chicago Bulls over 3 Washington Wizards 4-3
Eastern Conference Finals:
1 Cleveland Cavaliers over 2 Chicago Bulls 4-3
Western Conference Quarterfinals:
1 San Antonio Spurs over 8 Memphis Grizzlies 4-3
2 Los Angeles Clippers over 7 Portland Trailblazers 4-2
3 Golden State Warriors over 6 Houston Rockets 4-3
4 Oklahoma City Thunder over 5 Dallas Mavericks 4-3
Western Conference Semifinals:
4 Oklahoma City Thunder over 1 San Antonio Spurs 4-3
3 Golden State Warriors over 2 Los Angeles Clippers 4-3
Western Conference Finals:
4 Oklahoma City Thunder over 3 Golden State Warriors 4-3
NBA Finals Pick:
1 Cleveland Cavaliers over 4 Oklahoma City Thunder 4-3
Finals MVP: LeBron James, Cleveland.
NBA MVP: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers.
Top Five With LeBron: Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder – Chris Paul, PG, Clippers- Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans – Steph Curry, PG, Warriors.
Defensive Player Of The Year: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans.
Top Five With Davis: LeBron James, SF, Cavaliers – Chris Paul, PG, Clippers – Dwight Howard, C, Rockets – Joakim Noah, C, Bulls.
Rookie Of The Year: Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves.
Top Five With Wiggins: Jabari Parker, F, Bucks – Marcus Smart, G, Celtics – Nerlens Noel, PF, 76ers – Elfrid Payton, PG, Magic.
Most Improved Player: Harrison Barnes, Warriors.
Top Five With Barnes: Reggie Jackson, PG, Thunder – Andre Drummond, C, Pistons – Steven Adams, C, Thunder – Eric Gordon, SG, Pelicans.
Sixth Man Of The Year: Jamal Crawford, Clippers.
Top Five With Crawford: Reggie Jackson, PG, Thunder – Draymond Green, F, Warriors – Amar’e Stoudemire, PF, Knicks – Isaiah Thomas, G, Suns.
Coach Of The Year: David Blatt, Cavaliers.