The NBA playoffs are right around the corner, and with that in mind, we can start to speculate what some of the potential matchups in the postseason might look like as we truck towards April.
We already know some of the matchups we definitely want to see — An epic 7-game series between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals springs to mind, as well as Houston facing off against the Boston Celtics in the Finals, however unlikely it is — but there are a few potential matchups on the card that no one wants to tune into, especially if they pan out in the worst way possible.
Join us as we run down five playoff results no fan would be happy with come the NBA postseason.
5. The San Antonio Spurs Not Making The Playoffs
I'm calling my shot!!! San Antonio Spurs will miss the playoffs for the first time in 20 years
— Jeff McAdam (@JeffMcAdamTV) March 4, 2018
Okay, so technically this isn’t a specific series per se, but it’s still a playoff result.
The San Antonio Spurs are a legendary franchise, and currently hold the longest playoff streak in the entire NBA, making the postseason every year dating back to 1998. With Tim Duncan leading the charge for the Spurs, San Antonio won 5 championships, three of them coming in different decades.
Unfortunately for coach Pop and the rest of the Spurs, this season had been a rollercoaster, with the team having to deal with multiple injuries all year, the biggest being the one to Kawhi Leonard, which has sidelined him almost all season.
Without Kawhi, the Spurs sit sixth in the West with a 36-27 record, only a game and a half above ninth-placed Clippers. They also own the hardest schedule out of any team for the rest of the season and run a real risk of missing the playoffs for the first time in two decades.
4. The Raptors Bow Out Early Once Again
The Toronto Raptors are having perhaps their best season as a franchise ever, as they currently sit atop the Eastern Conference, boasting a 45-17 record and are two games ahead of the second-placed Boston Celtics.
Despite their excellent play over the past few seasons, the Raptors have never been able to perform in the postseason. It’s gotten so bad, perennial All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have been labeled the ‘Trash Bros.’ due to their choking habits once they reach the playoffs.
Toronto’s best playoff finish came in 2016, when they took the eventual champs the Cleveland Cavaliers to six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Even though the Raptors are having their best regular season of all-time at the moment, it’s hard not to ignore their terrible track record in previous postseasons, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Raps have another early exit this year.
3. LeBron And The Cavs Get Bounced In The First Round
Believe it or not, LeBron James has never lost in the first round of the playoffs his entire career. Crazy right? That doesn’t mean there’s not a first time for everything though, and 2018 may just be the year it finally happens.
James is currently 11-0 in first-round playoff matchups, dispatching every team that has come his way from the seventh or eighth seeds. But with all the drama surrounding the Cavaliers, and recent trades that went down during the trade deadline this season, Cleveland may still be trying to figure things out when the first round rolls around.
If the unthinkable does happen, it would spell disaster for the rest of the postseason on the Eastern side, as it would pretty much guarantee another Warriors championship.
2. The Warriors Sweep The Rockets
Don’t lie. We all want to see it. The Houston Rockets, led by MVP James Harden and Chris Paul, going up against the behemoth that is the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. The matchup is pretty much confirmed, as both Houston and Golden State are head and shoulders above any other team in the Western Conference this season.
Each of the past three matchups between these two squads have been barn-burners, decided by an average of 6 points per game, forecasting that a series between these two teams will be epic.
But what if the Warriors have been coasting this entire time, and turn it up to 11 for the postseason, absolutely demolishing any and all comers just like they did last year? It’d go down as one of the most disappointing West playoff brackets of all-time, that’s for sure.
1. Cavs vs. Warriors IV
Honestly, apart from Golden State Warrior fans, Cleveland Cavalier fans, and LeBron James fans, who wants to see a fourth installment of these two teams going at it in the Finals?
These two have faced off against each other every year since 2015, with the Warriors holding a 2-1 lead over the Cavs during that period, and I’ve been led to believe we’ve seen almost every conceivable basketball outcome that these two teams have to offer.
It may still be the biggest rivalry the NBA has to offer as of right now, but after three straight Finals series between LeBron James and Steph Curry, it’s starting to feel a lot like a boring high school cafeteria menu, where they serve the exact same meal every day of the week.