The NBA playoffs are set to begin on Saturday with four games on the basketball betting card. But right now, we’re looking at futures and path to the finals, and the following two teams have the toughest road to get there.
The good news for the Chicago Bulls is that Derrick Rose is back and healthy for the playoffs, Joakim Noah’s minutes limit is ending and the team looks like they’re ready for a playoff run. Finally, right? The only problem is that they have one heck of a difficult path to get to the Finals.
It’s going to start off with a first-round matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks, who are probably going to be an easy out but this team is not a cupcake. Head coach Jason Kidd milks the most out of them and they’re young and on the rise. The Bucks finished eighth in defense (97.4 points per game allowed) and this series figures to be a real grind.
And once that’s over, assuming Chicago survives, they’re going to earn the right to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in Round 2. And by the way, NBA odds makes have the Cavaliers as the favorites to win the NBA Championship as of right now. On top of that, the Cavs won three of the four meetings between the teams this season.
And if the Bulls manage to survive that series, they’ll probably get to face the 60-win Atlanta Hawks in the conference final before facing some titan from the Western Conference. Sure, Chicago could win a title but they’re going to have to walk on coals to get there.
Los Angeles Clippers
The good news for the Los Angeles Clippers is that they enter the playoffs on a hot streak having won 14 of their last 15 games. As a result, they managed to climb up the standings and finish third in the conference. However, that may not be the best scenario for them.
They’ll start off as an underdog to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round even though the Clippers had more wins and have home-court advantage. That’s what happens when you’re facing the defending champs, though, and the Spurs have been very hard to beat over the last couple of months.
Those placing NBA picks know that if the Clippers get past that matchup, they’ll likely face the Houston Rockets in the second-round. That’s going to be one heck of a titanic tilt as the two sides are both fully loaded and split the regular season series 2-2. And after that, if the Clippers survive, they’re probably facing the Golden State Warriors in the conference final or maybe the Memphis Grizzlies. A matchup with the Grizzlies would be ideal as they’ll have home court advantage for it but realistically, they’re probably facing the Warriors.
So Spurs, Rockets, Warriors and then someone like the Cavs in the final…good luck to you, Clippers. If you can win a title running that gauntlet, you deserve it.