Western Conference Playoffs...

Photo By: Andy Clayton-King

Photo By: Andy Clayton-King

-Houston Rockets (1) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (8). Rockets swept season series.

The front runner for MVP this season James Harden averaged 27.5 ppg against the T-wolves during the regular season and the Rockets as a team averaged 122.8. The Rockets were put together this season for this time of the year. The addition of point guard Chris Paul to join Harden was to compete for a championship and the time starts now.

The Timberwolves were led by Karl Anthony-Towns and All-Star Jimmy Butler this season. Butler who missed most of the second half of the season with a injury. Towns averaged 23.5 against the Rockets this season. Butler who is now healthy will be looked to slow down Paul and Harden all series, which will be a tough task.

What To Watch For: Can T-Wolves be effective in the paint against a smaller Rockets team?

Photo By: hornfm.com

Photo By: hornfm.com

-Warriors (2) vs Spurs (7). Warriors won season series 3-1.

The defending champs head into this year’s playoffs without one of their stars in Stephen Curry (26.4 ppg). They will still have fire power with reigning Finals MVP Kevin Durant (26.4 ppg) and Klay Thompson (20.0 ppg). Durant averaged 23.5 against the Spurs during the regular season.

San Antonio Spurs have still been a effective team even without the services of their superstar Kawhi Leonard who was limited to just nine games this season. They were led by All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge (23.1 ppg) he averaged 26.8 points against the defending champs this season. The Spurs still have Coach Greg Popovich who is still regarding as the best coach in the association so he will have his team ready.

What To Watch For: Can the Spurs take advantage of no Curry?

Photo By: Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports

Photo By: Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports

-Portland Trailblazers (3) vs New Orleans Pelicans (6). Teams split season series.

The Blazers have been led by their backcourt of first year All-Star Damian Lillard (26.9 ppg) and former Most Improved Player in CJ McCollum (21.4 ppg). Lillard averaged 26.5 points against the Pelicans this season.

The Pelicans who probably had the most dominating frontcourt with Anthony Davis 28.1 points and 11.1 rebounds this season and DeMarcus Cousins 25.2 points a game and 12.9 rebounds a game. Cousins who they lost for the season back in late January due to a foot injury will be with Davis leading the playoff run. Davis averaged 36 points and 11.5 rebounds against the Blazers this season. The Pelicans will need all of that this series vs the Blazers.

What To Watch For: Will Blazers get consistent help from others outside of Lillard and McCollum?

Photo By: Gene Sweeney Jr. / Getty Images

Photo By: Gene Sweeney Jr. / Getty Images

-Oklahoma City Thunder (4) vs Utah Jazz (5). Thunder won season series 3-1.

The Thunder have been led by Russell Westbrook who once again averaged a triple-double for the season: 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 10.3 assist. He averaged 22.5 points, 10 assist, and 11 rebounds against the Jazz this season on the way to leading them to three victories. He was provided help this past offseason with the additions of Paul George (21.9 ppg) and Carmelo Anthony (16.2 ppg). These two were brought to Oklahoma for this reason to give Westbrook the help he desperately needed once Kevin Durant departed two summers ago.

The Utah Jazz were led by possible rookie of the year Donavon Mitchell (20.5 ppg) and one of the frontrunners for coach of the year in Quin Snyder. They surprised everyone this season by making the playoffs. They lost their best player from a year ago in Gordon Hayward (Bos) who left in free agency and one of their clutch players in Joe Johnson (Hou). The coming of rookie Mitchell has everyone in Utah excited about this year and years to come so it starts this year for the Jazz.

What To Watch For: Can Jazz one of the better defensive teams contain Westbrook?

 

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