• The season ended on a high note on Wednesday night and set the table for what looks to be a fantastic postseason. We will get into some of the highlights from the last night of the regular season and get you all geared up for the playoffs with some predictions. A lot of meaningless games were played in the NBA on this night but the ones that mattered as well as some of the ones that didn’t matter did not disappoint. Let’s start off by looking at the Eastern conference and then taking a look at the Western conference to see how the playoff pictures shaped up.

    Eastern Conference Run to the Finish:

    Hawks 98, Wizards 109 

    The Wizards rested most of their starters on this night and yet were still able to come away with a win. Ramon Sessions lead the way with 22 points, four rebounds and six assists and Nene Hilario finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The Hawks had all their starters playing but could not get the job done. A win for the Hawks combined with a Heat loss would have locked up the third seed in the East for them as well as the division title. Unfortunately that did not occur as they couldn’t manage to beat the Wizards’ bench squad.

    Heat 88, Celtics 98

    It was a simple situation for the Miami Heat as a win would have ensured that they clinched the Southeast division and the third seed in the East. Things did not work out for them as planned though as the Celtics came through with a big win in their final regular season game. Isaiah Thomas and his 21 points propelled the Celtics to a win over the Heat.

    Magic 103, Hornets 117

    A Hornets win and a Celtics loss would have meant the Hornets got the fifth seed. Charlotte did their part by beating the Magic, led by a 26-point effort from Al Jefferson, but the Heat weren’t able to help them out in Boston. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing for the Hornets — with a first round win they would be facing the Raptors or Pacers in the second round instead of facing the Cavs.

    Eastern Conference Playoff Picture:

    Due to the results of these games the playoff picture shapes up as follows:

    1 vs. 8: The Cavs will be playing the Pistons in Round 1.

    My prediction: Cavs win this series at home in five games. Series MVP: LeBron James averages 30 points a game and scores over 40 in one of them.

    2 vs. 7: The Raptors face off with the Pacers.

    My prediction: This series is harder fought then one might think and the Raptors barely come out alive with a win in Game 7 at home. Series MVP: Kyle Lowry takes over averaging over 25 points a game

    3 vs. 6: The Heat were still able to hold on to the third seed because of a Hawks loss and will be facing the Hornets in their first round tilt.

    My prediction: The Hornets stun the Heat and take them out in seven games. Series MVP: Kemba Walker shocks the world and averages over 28 points a game on them.

    4 vs. 5: The Hawks still manage to come away with home court advantage against the Celtics here but were probably hoping for a first round battle with the Hornets. Life will only get harder for either team after the first round as a second round matchup against the Cavs is almost a certainty.

    My prediction: The Hawks win in 7 games in what turns out to be the best of the four first round playoff series. X-Factor: Kent Bazemore shines for the Hawks averaging 20 points a game.

    The schedule for the Eastern Conference first round matchups can be seen right here in the link.

    Western Conference Run to the Finish

    Kings 81, Rockets 116

    The Rockets had their fate in their own hands in this one as a win or a Jazz loss would ensure a playoff berth. It didn’t take long for the Rockets to take control as they ended up smashing the Kings’ bench squad. Led by James Harden’s 38 points the Rockets were able to lock up their ticket to the playoffs for a first round matchup with the Warriors.

    Grizzlies 104, Warriors 125

    With a win and a Mavericks loss the Grizzlies would have been able to take the sixth seed in the West to avoid the Spurs and take on the Thunder. That did not happen for them. The Warriors won their 73rd game of the season to break the record of 72 wins set by the 95-96 Bulls.

    Jazz 96, Lakers 101

    With the Jazz already eliminated due to the Rockets win, the only thing that remained to be seen was Kobe Bryant’s final game of his career. No one could have expected what would happen next as Kobe went on to give the people a vintage performance for his last hurrah. With plenty of celebrities in attendance in a sold out Staples Center, he lit up the scoreboard to the tune of 60 points (highlights of very basket that Kobe made are in the link).

    In a night that was supposed to be a celebration for the Warriors and their attempt at making history it seemed that Kobe stole the spotlight and gave the people a memorable performance for one last time. You could not have scripted a better ending to a fantastic career for one of the all-time greats.

    Western Conference Playoff Picture

    1 vs. 8: The Warriors play the Rockets in Round 1.

    My prediction: Warriors sweep the Rockets and win in four games. Series MVP: Stephen Curry puts up 35 points a game averaging six three-pointers.

    2 vs. 7: The Spurs face the Grizzlies.

    My prediction: The Spurs beat the injury-riddled Grizzlies in four games.  Series MVP: Tony Parker puts on a show and averages over 20 points a game.

    3 vs. 6: The Thunder play the Mavs.

    My prediction: The Thunder win this series in six games as Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs put up a decent fight against the Thunder. Series MVPRussell Westbrook goes off on the Mavs averaging a triple-double.

    4 vs. 5: The Clippers play the Blazers in what should be an interesting and exciting matchup.

    My prediction: The Clippers win this one in a hard fought seven game series. Series MVP: Blake Griffin returns to form and averages over 25 points a game.

    The schedule for the Western Conference first round matchups can be seen in the link.

    Aside from the predictions above there is one thing that is for certain — there will be more surprises than people think. Although I only have one lower seeded team coming out of the first round, you never know how it will go down.

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