Predicition #1 - Western Conference 1st round - OKC vs Rockets
This is what ESPN writes about its prediction:
When Oklahoma City has the ball: Omer Asik better get his rest between now and Sunday. He is going to be busy throughout this series dealing with Thunder players driving the paint against Houston's porous perimeter defense. During the regular-season series, the Rockets held Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook near their typical production but allowed too many kickouts for open 3s. Kevin Martin and Thabo Sefolosha were the beneficiaries, knocking down a combined 18 triples in the three games. If the outside shots aren't falling, Houston might be able to hang in on defense by keeping the Thunder off the line. The Rockets rarely foul, and Oklahoma City shot free throws on 8.8 percent of its plays against them as compared to 11.1 percent overall.
When Houston has the ball: Welcome to the James Harden show. The former Thunder star is likely to show his old team what it's missing, as he did during the regular season, averaging 29.3 points in head-to-head matchups. Harden was able to find his way to the line, helping Houston shoot more total free throws than Oklahoma City in the three games. The Rockets' next two leading scorers against the Thunder were forwards Marcus Morris and Patrick Patterson, both of whom were traded at the deadline. But Houston's lone win over Oklahoma City came the day of that trade, when the short-handed Rockets had little choice but to go small and spread out the Thunder defense.
Prediction: Oklahoma City can't be excited about drawing Houston, one of the strongest 8-seeds in recent memory. The Rockets had a better point differential than Golden State, the L.A. Lakers and five of the eight playoff teams in the East. Consistency was Houston's problem throughout the regular season, which is to be expected from a team that relies so heavily on the long ball. That's a bad thing when it means losing to Phoenix in a game that would have made the Rockets the seventh seed but a good thing in a series like this where Houston can win a game or two by getting hot.
Oklahoma City in 6.