Opinion: NBA Playoffs 2018 First Round Predictions – Western Conference

James Harden with Houston Rockets in 2016. Photo by Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock (5613421g)

NBA Playoffs 2018 are finally here. Regular season wrapped up on Wednesday and now we know who made it to the postseason, and who will spend their time planning vacations.

We decided to use this small window between the end of the regular season and start of the first round of the playoffs on April 14th to think hard about everything we have seen in the past 82 games and enter the “predictions business.” We made our picks for the winners of all the NBA Playoffs 2018 first-round series and we shall stick with them until the very end. This time we are predicting Western Conference. (You can check out our Eastern Conference predictions here.)

Even the regular season in the Western Conference was crazy and exciting. We didn’t know whether Minnesota Timberwolves or Denver Nuggets will make the postseason cut, while only top two seeds were locked. The first round of the NBA Playoffs 2018 will be even crazier, but there can only be one winner per series. Here is what we think who that will be.

(1) Houston Rockets vs. (8) Minnesota Timberwolves

Prediction:
Houston Rockets win 4-1

Why:
Since Jimmy Butler is coming from an injury, he won’t have a great impact on the series. However, he will manage to win one game for the Minnesota Timberwolves at home, under the condition that both Karl Anthony Towns and Andre Wiggins bring their A game. The rest of the series will be blow-out wins from the Houston Rockets.

(2) Golden State Warriors vs. (7) San Antonio Spurs

Prediction:
Golden State Warriors win 4-2

Why:
Why won’t the Golden State Warriors sweep the series? Because they don’t have Stephen Curry, and the San Antonio Spurs have Gregg Popovich. There will be a couple of close games, and this will be overall uncomfortable series for the Warriors. Note: In case that Kawhi Leonard finds his way back before the tip-off of the first game in the series, we take the Spurs.

(3) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (6) New Orleans Pelicans

Prediction:
Portland Trail Blazers win 4-1

Why:
No one expected the Portland Trail Blazers to be the third seed in the Wild West, and somehow they did. Damian Lillard has been phenomenal this season, and he is the type of player who can drop 50 on you in a heartbeat. But so is Anthony Davis, you will say. Well, Davis doesn’t have a capable supporting cast like Lillard and never won a playoff game. He will now, but that will be all.

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (5) Utah Jazz

Prediction:
Oklahoma City Thunder win 4-1

Why:
First of all, hat down to Quin Snyder for taking Utah Jazz to the fifth seed with a rookie point guard, defensive specialist, and group of outcasts. Donovan Mitchell has absolutely balled this season, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he was to win the Rookie of the Year award. With all of that said, there is no way Jazz takes the Oklahoma City Thunder to six games or more. Despite all of their ups and downs during the season, the Thunder are a team built for the postseason and have tons of playoff experience. This and the sheer will of Russell Westbrook is taking OKC to the second round.