7 Bold Predictions for the Houston Rockets During 2014-15 Season

The Houston Rockets are preparing to launch their regular season, the fans are ready to watch in enthusiasm and the analysts are ready to predict what happens. What is in store for Clutch City?

Will they be surprisingly good, shockingly bad or about what we expect them to be? Will they regret the departure of Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin, or will Trevor Ariza make a big enough impact to offset their loss?

Here are seven bold predictions for the Rockets’ season. They are ranked in order of the entirely subjective aspect of “boldness” with the more eyebrow-raising projections at the top.

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Season Predictions and Analysis for the 2014-15 Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets will look to claw their way back into contention this year with a healthy Brook Lopez and Deron Williams leading the charge under new head coach Lionel Hollins.

Do the Nets have enough to challenge the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers in the East?

Ric Bucher gives his take when he joins Adam Lefkoe in the video above.

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10 Bold Predictions for the First Week of the 2014-15 NBA Season

With the 2014-15 NBA season rapidly approaching, there’s never been a better time to be bold.

And, really, that is the best type of prediction, isn’t it? No one is going to claim Prognosticator of the Year honors by foreshadowing good things ahead for the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs or putting a team featuring LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving on a pedestal.

In this business, it pays to take risks.

Not outlandish ones, of course. There has to be some substance behind the sizzle, a line of reasoning leading to these bold, yet realistic, forecasts.

So, with both eyes on the first week of the upcoming seasonwhich we’ll define here as extending from opening night on October 28 through the 12-game slate on Saturday, November 1let’s look ahead at what’s in store for the glorious return of the world’s greatest game.

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College Football Picks: Week 9 Predictions for Every Game

It’s a relatively light week in college football, with only 48 games on the schedule between Thursday night and early Sunday morning. And at first glance it doesn’t look like a particularly awe-inspiring slate, with only two games pitting ranked teams.

But we’ve been down this road before. No matter what things looked like going into a weekend, every one so far this season has been wonderful once it’s gone down. That’s what we’re expecting this time around, too.

Four unbeatens, but two of them are on the road this week against five-win teams. And several other games will have major impacts on conference and division standings, not to mention all of the contests featuring teams a win away from bowl eligibility.

Check out our predictions for Week 9 of the 2014 season, then give us your guesses in the comments section.

Last week: 37-16 (.698)

Season: 371-121 (.754)

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5 Bold Predictions for the New York Knicks During 2014-15 Season

This is a transitional season for the New York Knicks, but there will be some bright spots amidst the growing pains.

In Phil Jackson’s first summer as team president, he tweaked the roster to better fit his beloved triangle offense. The hope is that a more cohesive group of players with more compatible skill sets will produce a more harmonious kind of play in 2014-15.

There’s reason to believe in New York’s idealistic goal, but the Knicks are at the beginning of their transformation, not the end. Derek Fisher has his work cut out for him in his rookie season as a head coach, tasked with implementing an unfamiliar offense, as well as replacing last season’s woefully inept defense with a strategically competent one.

How quickly Fisher and the Knicks can push through the growing pains the upcoming season is sure to bring will determine whether New York will return to the playoffs. The Knicks have the talent to do it, but they’ll need a few breaks to go their way.

So let’s go through what to expect from the coming season, starting with the most likely prediction—and a downer at that.

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Howard Beck and Ethan Skolnick Make Their Official 2015 NBA Finals Predictions

The 2014-15 NBA season is almost upon us, with several teams hoping to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the year. Who is in the best position to reach the top of the NBA mountain?

Howard Beck and Ethan Skolnick make their official NBA Finals predictions when they join Ric Bucher in the video above.

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Season Predictions and Analysis for the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors will look to make some waves in the Western Conference this season under new coach Steve Kerr. Can Kerr and the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, lead the Dubs on a deep run?

Howard Beck and Ric Bucher join Adam Lefkoe to give their take in the video above.

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NBA Preseason 2014: Full Remaining Schedule and Predictions for Top Games

The 2014-15 NBA season can’t come soon enough for many teams. For others, they’d probably prefer a couple more weeks.

The regular season is set to begin on October 28 with a trio of games, but it’s more than safe to say that not everyone is ready. A handful of teams will have to start out the 82-game slate still nursing an important player back to health, while other new-look squads are trying desperately to establish chemistry before the games start counting.

With the regular season right around the corner, these final preseason clashes become even more important with only a few chances left to figure things out before the lights go on for real.

Here’s a look at the rest of the preseason schedule along with predictions for games worth tuning in to.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Memphis Grizzlies (Oct. 22, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

By now, the basketball public has been able to get used to LeBron James in the wine and gold once again, but the new-look Cavaliers are just starting to get used to one another along with David Blatt’s new scheme. 

Just like when James joined the Heat some four years ago, the chemistry-building will go on long into the season. But we’ll get one last chance to see the Cavs try to put it together in a preseason game on Wednesday with a trip to face the Memphis Grizzlies.

Despite inevitable growing pains, Cleveland is 5-1 in the preseason. Meanwhile, one of the Grizzlies’ two preseason victories came against Brazilian club Flamengo—the other a five-point win over the Hawks.

The Cavs may choose to rest one of their stars after all three played regularly in a 107-98 win over Chicago on Monday night, but James had no doubt before the game that his team is behind its Eastern Conference foes.

“[The Bulls] are a team that’s much better than us right now just off chemistry,” James told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst. “They’ve been together for a while; we’ve got a long way to go.”

That’s true—the Cavs do have a long, long way to go. But their talent alone has been getting them easy wins this preseason, and that shouldn’t change in Memphis.

It will be a big test for the Cavs‘ questionable defensive frontcourt in facing Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, but Cleveland’s advantage on the perimeter is too strong.

Prediction: Cavs 91, Grizzlies 80

 

San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets (Oct. 24, 8 p.m. ET, NBATV)

The San Antonio Spurs face the tough task of attempting a repeat as NBA champions, while the Houston Rockets are beyond hungry to make a playoff run with a title-contending roster. 

Friday’s preseason finale for both teams may not be much of a precursor with the focus set on being ready for the season opener, but it will be interesting to see how motivated each side is against strong conference opposition.

Last season didn’t go as planned for the Rockets after being bounced in the first round of the playoffs by Portland, but general manager Daryl Morey noted what it will take to make the next step.

“Overall we were an average team, we want to be a top-10 team,” Morey told The Associated Press, via The Washington Post. “If we can be a top-10 team on both sides of the ball that’s the entry card to compete for a championship.”

San Antonio has been a tough team to read this preseason with a loss to Fenerbahce Ulker in Europe. But for a team that rests its starters in the middle of the regular season, preseason results are even less important for the Spurs than they normally tend to be.

The Spurs got back to regular-season form with their 106-99 win over Sacramento on Monday, and they should rise to the challenge against a Rockets team they could very well see again in the postseason.

Prediction: Spurs 106, Rockets 89

 

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Chicago Bulls (Oct. 24, 8 p.m. ET)

Arguably the most impressive team in the preseason regardless of record, the Chicago Bulls will aim to finish the exhibition circuit on a high note against the young Minnesota Timberwolves in St. Louis.

The Bulls are 4-3 in the preseason, but the huge strides they made over the offseason are obvious. Derrick Rose looks healthy and effective, Jimmy Butler is making plays on the perimeter and that newfound depth looks to be building some considerable chemistry.

The future is bright in Minnesota after acquiring Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young and Zach LaVine over the offseason. But against defensive dynamos such as the Bulls, finding offense with a new-look system will be tough.

Chicago may not be at full strength in its final preseason contest, but Tom Thibodeau will still try to get some of his rotation players rolling. The Bulls reserves could probably beat the T-Wolves’ starting lineup at this point, and that will be apparent on Friday.

Prediction: Bulls 95, Timberwolves 80

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5 Bold Predictions for the Los Angeles Clippers During 2014-15 Season

It’s time for the Los Angeles Clippers to go about the business of winning beyond the regular season, so this crop of bold predictions is centered around those aspirations.

Everything the Clips do from training camp through the postseason is focused on obtaining the Larry O’Brien Trophy. 

Head coach and President of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers articulated as much when he agreed to a contract extension through the end of the 2018-19 season. 

“I am motivated by the challenge and thankful for the opportunity to stand together with [Clippers owner Steve Ballmer] as we continue to move toward our goal of winning an NBA title,” he stated. 

It’s no secret the Clippers are built to win now. With bona fide superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin leading the charge in their second year under a coach with winning experience, they have the talent assembled to reach their goals. 

With that in mind, here’s what will develop in Los Angeles this season. 

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5 Bold Predictions for the Washington Wizards During 2014-15 Season

Martell Webster is lost for the first month of the season with yet another back surgery. Then, Bradley Beal was lost for the first month, it not more, with a left wrist fracture.  

And those are just two of the injuries the Washington Wizards have had to deal with this offseason. New acquisition Kris Humphries suffered a laceration on his hand, Glen Rice Jr. sprained his ankle, and veteran Paul Pierce tweaked his knee

Oh, and Nene and DeJuan Blair will miss the season opener for an altercation earlier in the preseason against the Chicago Bulls

If all of that doesn’t sound that bad, there’s plenty more to look forward to as the 2014-15 NBA season goes on. 

The Eastern Conference is wide open once again and is considerably easier than the West. Despite all of these setbacks in the preseason, the Wizards still have a chance to make a statement a year after John Wall made his first postseason, and they upset the Chicago Bulls in the first round in convincing fashion. 

Making the playoffs is expected for the Wizards this season given all of the talent on the roster, even with all the injuries, but there’s still some unknowns about the season. 

To look past these injuries in the immediate future, here’s five predictions that should surprise Washington, and NBA fans in general, before the season comes to an end. 

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