Predictions for the 2013 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference

The Western Conference features some very interesting match-ups in this year’s edition of the playoffs. But who will emerge to be the favorite to face the predicted NBA Finalist Miami Heat.

Strongest Contenders: 1 Oklahoma City Thunder, 4 Los Angeles Clippers

Kevin Durant and crew are back at it again. They are flexing their muscles and showing why they are the number one seed this season compared to being a two last year. Despite being without James Harden this season, they were able to find a replacement in the trade for Harden in Kevin Martin, the new Thunder sixth man.  If Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook keep doing their thing, and the supporting cast fill into their team roles, Oklahoma City could have a great shot at becoming this year’s NBA championship.

Although they are only a four seed, the Clippers are a very legitimate team. Led by Chris Paul, the Clippers are a great team with amazing players who can step up to the plate and fulfill their supporting roles. If Blake Griffin gets the ball in his hands, don’t expect anything pretty. With players like DeAndre Jordan and Jamaal Crawford backing this dynamic duo, the Clippers are set to make a very deep playoff run.

Underdog: 6 Golden State Warriors

Golden State is really only an underdog because of the number of their seeding. They have played well all season and are deserving of a fair shot in the playoffs They will face the 3 Denver Nuggets in the first round. The shot the having of pulling out the upset is likely, due to the ACL tear of the Nuggets’ Danillo Gallinari. With Stephen Curry leading the team, a relatively no name Warriors team could have a chance to survive the Nuggets of Denver.

Non-Contender: 8 Houston Rockets

Honestly, no team in the west deserves to be considered a non-contender. The only reason  I have listed the Houston Rockets is because they are facing the powerful OKC Thunder. Houston actually has quite a solid team. Led by Jeremy Lin, James Harden, and Chandler Parsons, the Rockets may be able to steal a win or two from the Thunder at home, but the chances of them winning the entire series is highly unlikely, and this is why they are listed as the non-contender.

-Ricky

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