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NBA Western Conference first round predictions

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The Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder are both three wins away from advancing to the second round of the NBA playoffs, after winning their games on April 19.

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The sixth-seeded Golden State Warriors overcame a slow start to grind out a 109-105 victory over third-seeded Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday behind 22 points from sharp-shooter Klay Thompson.

The Warriors, who missed their first eight shots and fell behind by 11 early in the game, rallied to tie the game at 52-52 at halftime. The Warriors then outscored the Clippers 35-27 in the third quarter behind strong play from Thompson, David Lee and Jermaine O’Neal. Lee scored eight of his 20 points in the quarter and also recorded a couple of assists in the period. The trio combined to score 24 of the trio’s 35 points in the quarter.

Lee was 8-of-13 from the floor and added 13 rebounds. Harrison Barnes and Stephen Curry each contributed 14 points while O’Neal finished with 13 for the Warriors, who knocked down 11 triples and shot 44.4 percent from the floor.

Chris Paul led the Clippers with 28 points, and J.J. Redick added 22 points in 30 minutes. Blake Griffin who fouled out with 48 seonds left, finished with 16 points, fouling out with 48 seconds left and DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

NBA regular season scoring king Kevin Durant tallied 13-of-his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter as the No.2 Oklahoma City Thunder withstood the No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies 100-86 on Saturday.

The Thunder, who held the Grizzlies to 36.3 percent shooting, came out of the gat strong and led 56-34 at halftime. However, Memphis put together a fantastic third quarter, scoring 31 points and holding Oklahoma City to just 3-of-16 shooting. Tony Allen tallied nine points and Zach Randolph chipped in with eight in the third stanza.

The Thunder regained control in the fourth quarter as Durant scored 11 points in a 5-minute, 21-second surge that stretched Oklahoma City's lead from seven points to 14 and put the game out of reach.

Russell Westbrook had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Serge Ibaka added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder.

Zach Randolph led Memphis with 21 points and 11 rebounds, but he made just seven of 21 shots and got into foul trouble in the second half. Mike Conley had 16 points and 11 assists, Marc Gasol scored 16 points and Tony Allen added 13 points for the Grizzlies.

The rest of the article will examine and predict the four Western Conference series.

No. 8 Dallas Mavericks vs. No. 1 San Antonio Spurs: San Antonio produced a NBA-best 62-20 record this season and four of those wins came against the Mavericks. The Spurs have won nine straight games against their in-state rivals. Prediction: San Antonio in five.

No.7 Memphis vs. No. 2 Oklahoma City: The Thunder leads the series 1-0 and has won four-of-the team’s five meetings this season. Kevin Durant, who tallied 33 in game one, is averaging 28.6 points per game in his playoff career, 4th most all-time. The Thunder has Russell Westbrook and also has a strong frontcourt, Serge Ibaka and Stephen Adams, to combat the Griz’s talented duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Plus, No. 7 seeds rarely win first round playoff series. Prediction: OKC in six.

No. 6 Golden State vs. No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers: While Game One was marred by turnovers and fouls, this series should be exciting as both teams like to get up and down the court and shoot from long-range. The teams split the four regular season meetings but the Clippers have a huge edge in the paint, especially with Andrew Bogut out for the Warriors. Prediction: Los Angeles wins their first playoff series after dropping Game One. Clips in seven.

No. 5 Portland Trail Blazers vs. No. 4 Houston Rockets: This series features two similar teams as they both are one of the top-scoring teams in the NBA as well as one of the top-rebounding teams. Both teams also are in the bottom third in scoring defense. Portland is in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and has not advanced to the second round since 2000. Prediction: Houston, which won the season series 3-1, in six.

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