First Round Playoff Predictions: Western Conference

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The Western Conference Playoff race was intense. So many good teams didn't make the Playoffs, the most surprising being the Oklahoma City Thunder.

With all 8 teams so close to each other in the standings, there are sure to be some great Western Conference battles.

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Golden State Warriors (1) Vs. New Orleans Pelicans (8)

The Pelicans battled hard to earn their spot in this year's Playoffs by defeating the current NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. 

Anthony Davis has been the catalyst for the success of the Pelicans this season, marking the first time the New Orleans team made the Playoffs since the Chris Paul era. 

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Going up against the NBA's best, the Golden State Warriors, will be no small task for the Pelicans. 

Steph Curry is the name on a lot of people's lips right now for the MVP race and is widely considered the best shooter in the NBA. When you add in Klay Thompson to the mix, the Warriors are deadly from three point range and have depth for days on their bench.

Prediction: Golden State Warriors win in 6 games

Houston Rockets (2) Vs. Dallas Mavericks (7)

The Rockets have been an amazing team this season and that is in most part due to the play of MVP candidate James Harden. Harden led this Houston team throughout most of the season without Dwight Howard and they still finished where they are today.

The Rockets have an insanely talented roster, other than Harden and Howard. Josh Smith was a pick up they made earlier in the season, and they have former champion with the Lakers, Trevor Ariza.

Despite the great regular season play of the Houston Rockets many believe that this team isn't capable of making a deep Playoff run. Their first step is defeating the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks have a lot of talent as well as Championship caliber experience with Dirk Nowitzki, Rajon Rondo and Tyson Chandler. They also have scoring machine, Monta Ellis, and Chandler Parsons. With Amare Stoudemire off the bench, this team could do some damage come Playoff time.

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks in 7 games

Los Angeles Clippers (3) Vs. San Antonio Spurs (6)

There is no doubt that the Clippers are the most fun team to watch in the NBA. The dunks of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are incredible and the passes by Chris Paul are sensational.

This Playoff series will not be, and should not be, fun for the L.A. Clippers. They are facing the defending NBA Champions in the San Antonio Spurs and the Clippers will need to focus all of their energy on winning rather than flash for the crowd.

The Spurs struggled a little bit this season, but all that goes out of the window come Playoff time. The experience of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker is incredible and head coach Gregg Popovich provides the NBA with a San Antonio Championship threat every single season.

Prediction: San Antonio Spurs win in 6 games

Portland Trail Blazers (4) Vs. Memphis Grizzlies (5)

The Blazers are a very good team with some solid young players who will only get better. Damian Lillard is incredible at the point and LaMarcus Aldridge is a spectacular power forward. The supporting cast complements the stars nicely and the bench is stocked with some good talent.

Portland will have to face the Memphis Grizzlies. A team filled with defensive ability and if Portland wants to win, they can't let themselves get pushed around by the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies are solid, one of the underrated teams in the NBA, yet they are a Championship caliber one. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph dominate the front court. Mike Conley has been running the point better than ever, and the pick up of Jeff Green from the Celtics will be crucial to the success of the Grizzlies.

Prediction: Memphis Grizzlies in 7 games

Memphis Grizzlies
Southwest Division
Western Conference
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
New Orleans Hornets
LA Clippers
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
James Harden
Houston Rockets
Portland Trail Blazers
Northwest Division
San Antonio Spurs
Dallas Mavericks

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