NBA Playoffs Predictions
Just some quick thoughts and predictions on the upcoming first round of the NBA Playoffs.
#1 '''Cleveland''' vs. #8 Detroit: These are not your older brotherís Detroit Pistons. The Pistons have some major questions heading into the offseason as the core of their championship team from 5 years ago continues to break up. Detroit still has enough dislike for the Cavs to steal game, but thatís it. LeBron and company in five games.
#4 Atlanta Vs. #5 '''Miami''': Well, for those of you who like to accuse the NBA of being fixed, hereís a test. David Stern must be salivating at a potential second round matchup between King James and D-Wade. Wade seems to get enough calls as it is, so a few more should certainly ensure that matchupÖ In all seriousness though, the Heatís superior talent and experience will get them past the Hawks in seven.
#3 '''Orlando''' Vs. #6 Philadelphia: Despite the lovely Elton Brand signing, the Sixers still put up a nice season. Yet Philadelphia just wonít have an answer for Dwight Howard in this one. The Magic get it done in five.
#2 '''Boston''' Vs. #7 Bulls: The likely loss of Kevin Garnett for the series all the sudden makes this an intriguing 2-7 matchup. The Cís are still stacked, even without KG, but wonít have it easy against the Bulls. Look for Chicago to extend this series and put a bit of a scare into Boston. Ultimately, the Celtics will take it (in six), but watch out for the Magic in the second roundÖ
#1 '''Los Angeles''' Vs. #8 Utah: In an earlier [[link|url=http://wvbr.com/sportsblog/346]]post[[end-link]] , I asserted that the Lakers would make the NBA Finals, and only possibly be challenged in the conference semifinals and finals. I stand by that prediction. LA will just be so tough with Kobe, Bynum, Gasol, Odom, etc, etc. Heck, even Trevor Ariza is very solid. The Jazz, meanwhile, just never really broke out this year, struggled towards the end, and will be eliminated in five.
#4 Portland Vs. #5 '''Houston''': The Blazers had a fabulous regular season, but they are still a year or two away from making a serious run in the postseason. Houston finally has Yao, which leaves an elusive playoff series win well within reach. Ron Artest has been playing at a high level, and no T-Mac will be good news for the Rockets, who were 22-8 without him this season. Houston in six.
#3 '''San Antonio''' Vs. #6 Dallas- With the talk recently of Texas possibly [[link|url=http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1656315/will_texas_secede_from_the_united_states.html]] seceding from the Union[[end-link]], I have tried to find a reason to be sorry for the Lone Star State leaving. But, hey, as long as the Spurs can stay in the NBA, I canít really think of any drawbacks. San Antonio is hurting with the loss of Ginobili and the wear and tear of several years with deep playoff runs. However, San Antonio should have just enough to fend off the rival Mavs, whose championship clock seems to be ticking, ticking towards midnight. San Antonio in 7.
#2 Denver Vs. #7 '''New Orleans''': Chris Paul is an absolute beast; David West is a solid scorer. Peja and Posey are playoff veterans still capable of contributing. The Nuggets have lost in the first round five consecutive years, and arenít huge fans of defense and rebounding. Sounds good enough to me for an upset. Hornets in six.
(April 16, 2009)