So, it’s mid-April, and that means one thing: The NBA Playoffs are here. The time where rivalries are born, teams suffer heartbreak and triumph, and NBA moments are etched into the minds of fans everywhere.
And this year, for 2016, Fadeaway World will be giving you an in-depth guide to every matchup of every round, starting off with the First Round matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Detroit Pistons.
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (8) Detroit Pistons
Regular season series: Pistons won 3-1
Key matchup: LeBron James (25/7/7) vs. Tobias Harris (15/7/2)
The Cleveland Cavaliers locked up the number one seed in the East with relative ease this year, only falling out of the top spot twice the whole season. The Toronto Raptors gave a valiant effort towards the end of the season to catch up, but LeBron and Co. finished one game ahead after game 82.
Detroit on the other hand had a hard time making it into the top eight. They finished two games ahead of the ninth placed Chicago Bulls, setting up this first round matchup.
What’s interesting about this particular series is that the lower seeded Pistons actually won the season series in convincing fashion, 3-1, with their final win coming on the last day of the season, beating the Cavs 112-110 after OT. That bodes well for us fans, as close contests are what every NBA fan loves to see, but it isn’t so good for the Cavs, as there must be some worries within the organisation that they could be upset in the first round.
The Key Matchup
The key matchup here is between the two starting Small Forwards, LeBron James and Tobias Harris, who was traded mid-season to the Pistons from Orlando. LeBron has been having a stellar year as usual, posting numbers of 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.8 assists a game on the season.
He’s also been very efficient from the field as of late, shooting 62% from the field and 52% from 3-point land after unfollowing the Cavs on Twitter. Tobias Harris on the other hand, has come into his own since being traded, as his scoring, minutes, and all his shooting percentages have increased. It’ll be interesting to see if Harris can contain the monster that is Playoffs LeBron James.
As we all know, LeBron turns his game up to 11 when the post-season comes along. With that in mind, and a healthy Kyrie and Kevin Love on the squad, I’m fairly certain Cleveland will be able to put the Pistons away in convincing fashion.
Prediction by Brad Stevenson: Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 Detroit Pistons