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Bright Side of the Sun 2015 NBA Playoff Prediction Contest: We have a winner

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A brief Conference Finals round has led to an extended hiatus in playoff basketball, but the excitement won't be building to a rumbling crescendo in the Brightside Playoff Prediction Contest as one of our sage soothsayers has already clinched the 2015 honors.

To the winner...
To the winner...
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
I had plenty of time to write this article before the NBA Finals starts someday. Not really sure when.

The intractable nature of the NBA playoff scheduling has at least allowed the Cavaliers and Warriors some extra time to rest up. That means we should get an opportunity to watch a healthy/healthier Kyrie Irving make a pitiful effort to guard Stephen Curry. Get it. It's because Irving sucks at defense.

Oh yeah. Austin Elmer has clinched the title of Bright Side of the Sun NBA Playoff Prediction Contest Champion.

I'm pretty sure he probably cheated somehow.

His name will now be indelibly inscribed on this webpage. It's kind of like being etched on a trophy... except not really like that at all.

Congratulations, Austin! You nearly ran the table.

Here is the full list of champions.

2012 - Jim Coughenour
2013 - MMotherwell
2014 - jack's complete lack of surprise
2015 - Austin Elmer

It's like the Mt. Rushmore of the site (don't tell Dave he's not on it).

Of course, for every first place finish there must also be a last place finish.

Since I've already spent some time ridiculing Kellan and suns68 on their atrocious picks I'm not going to bother to point out that this is a de facto indictment of their lack of basketball knowledge. Or that in light of this we should all probably take anything they write from here on out with a grain of salt. Or a big ass sack full of salt.

I wouldn't do that.

I want to thank all of you for participating again this year. I will update the final standings after the Warriors take down Cleveland in five.

On to my dated analysis...

Cavaliers over Hawks 4-0


It sure seems like LeBron James and four warm bodies would be enough to make it to the Finals out of the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for him, 30 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists a game probably isn't going to be enough against Golden St.

I get a kick out of the proliferation of nonsense by people claiming that James may be starting to "slow down"... at 30.

30.

Jordan won his last three title at 32, 33 and 34... playing at an MVP level. Even Steve Nash was just kicking the tires at age 30. But LeBron is "slowing down" at 30.

Sure.

An upset win for LeBron would be huge for his legacy, but I think in his first year back in Cleveland getting this far has to be considered a win. The team will still have some time to retool in the next couple years and a loss to the Warriors will allow Kevin Love to look like less of a schmuck.

The Hawks were what I thought they were. They gave paper tigers a bad name with their roll over job. All the equity the Hawks built up as a team that was contending without a star player dissolved in all but the most delusional. This is yet another testament to the imbalance of the conferences in the NBA. The Spurs would have mopped the floor with Atlanta, but couldn't even make it out of the first round in the West.

When LeBron James was stepping on their collective throat I couldn't help but watch and think the Hawks probably wished they had their own star player to step up... but all they had was Jeff Teague.

Oh well, J.R. Smith is a sideshow and he still had more impact on the series than any player on the Hawks. Let that simmer.

Warriors over Rockets 4-1


Before the playoffs started I thought the Rockets were going to push Golden St. in this series. By the time the matchup came to fruition, though, I knew Houston was in trouble.

After the way the Warriors responded to adversity against the Grizzlies it really reinforced my belief that Golden St. was going all the way. Some people's captious reviews of the Warriors performance struck me as odd. Pundits declaring that Golden St. would need to play better to beat the Cavaliers...

In the series Golden St. had a 110.7 ORtg and 102.4 DRtg.

During the regular season it was 111.6 ORtg (#2) and 101.4 DRtg (#1).

So Golden St. nearly matched their historic regular season levels... playing against a very good Rockets team... and not getting to stat stuff against worse teams like the Suns (shots fired).

Ok.

I was pretty disappointed that Curry was only able to make 27 of 55 from three point range in the series. Really? He can't even make half of them? Curry now has a record 6,324,987 made threes in this year's playoffs.

At least we'll probably get to see ex-Suns at nearly every organizational level win rings. I know that makes me feel better the Suns decided to move on.

Sadly, much of James Harden's outstanding play was tarnished by a botched final play in the second game and a godawful performance in his last outing of the season.

Harden was unstoppable for long stretches, including tallying 45 points in the Rockets sole win. His isolation plays from the top of the key were indefensible. Interestingly enough, Jared Dudley also praised his ability as a facilitator on the national stage... sounds like a guy other players may want to play with.

13 turnovers and 2-11 shooting in a game is also indefensible, though, and for some reason I couldn't help but think of his disappearing act against the Heat when he played so poorly in the Finals I think it was at least partly the impetus for OKC's decision to trade him.

For shame, James.

Third Round Standings


Playoff Standings