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Summarizing the NBA Western Conference Playoffs First Round and Analyzing the Semifinals.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Summarizing the NBA Western Conference Playoffs First Round and Analyzing the Semifinals.

The first round of the Western Conference playoffs produced three great series that went six games. And the Semifinals won’t be a letdown at all with the two matchups we have. Let’s quickly review the 4 first round groupings and see what we learned.

No.1 Phoenix vs No.8 New Orleans: The Suns won the series 4 games to 2. Phoenix was pushed to the limit by the upstart New Orleans Pelicans in the first round, surprising a lot of us. Was that a sign that the Suns are vulnerable down the road, or are the Pelicans the up and coming team that they showed? Phoenix had an excuse with the absence of Devin Booker for most of the series and they need to get some credit for winning some tough games. Next up the Dallas Mavericks come to town for Round 2 on Monday.

No.2 Memphis vs. No.7 Minnesota: The Grizzlies won the series 4 games to 2. Arguably, this was the most exciting series of the first round. Memphis showed a lot of guts and resiliency in coming back to win 3 games, after being down in the 2nd half by double digits. Minnesota is getting ridiculed for blowing those leads, and they should, but the Grizzlies deserve some credit for making the plays to win. They host Golden State in the first round of the Semis today, May 1st.

No.3 Golden State vs. No.6 Denver: The Warriors won the series 4 games to 1. Golden State was probably the most impressive first round winner in the West. They disposed of the Nuggets in five games and are as healthy as they have been all year. This is a team that nobody wants to play. They head to Memphis for Game 1 on Sunday.

No.4 Dallas vs. No.5 Utah: The Mavericks won the series 4 games to 2. Dallas was very impressive in Round 1 as they ousted the Jazz despite not having Luka Doncic for the first three games. They are going to be a handful in the next round starting Monday in Phoenix.


No.1 Phoenix vs. No.4 Dallas: The series begins Monday in Phoenix. This is shaping up as a nip and tuck battle between these two teams. The Suns survived a tougher than expected first round challenge from New Orleans, and they didn’t look like the team that won 64 games in the regular season. The Pelicans took it to them and they are going to see more physicality from Dallas in the next round. To their credit, they played without a healthy Devin Booker for most of the series, and he should be close to normal for Round 2. Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges all played well against New Orleans and Paul was a perfect 14 for 14 from the field in the deciding Game 6. Meanwhile, Dallas showed that they can overcome adversity by playing the first three games against Utah, without superstar Luka Doncic and his 29 points and 11 rebounds per game. Jalen Brunson was brilliant and took up the slack averaging 28 points for the six games.

Dallas showed they can play defense as they held the Jazz to 100 points or less in 4 of the 6 games. They are physical and will give the Suns a lot of trouble inside. Doncic is a handful and Phoenix will have to come up with an answer for him. The Suns know how to win and had to reach deep to beat a gallant effort from New Orleans. That should help them in the long run. I like this one to go 7 and I’ll flip a coin on the winner.

No.2 Memphis vs. No.3 Golden State: The series begins Sunday in Memphis. This is a short turnaround for the Grizzlies, who will be coming off an emotional 114-106 Game 6 win, to clinch the first round series against Minnesota. That series was grueling and now they take on a red-hot and experienced Golden State team. Memphis is led by Ja Marant, but he has plenty of help from Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, and Brandon Clarke. They won 56 games in the regular season, but struggled getting control of the Timberwolves in that first round series. On the other hand, Golden State took care of Denver and Nikola Jokic fairly easy in their series. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole are as healthy as they have been all year and they are in excellent form heading into Round 2.

This will be another very good series between two of the league’s most exciting teams. The question for me will be how much was taken out of Memphis in that Minnesota series. I think Golden State is going to pull off the upset. I like the Warriors in 6.


  • #2 DALLAS
  • #3 PHOENIX
  • #4 MEMPHIS


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