Friday, April 17, 2009
The ultimate appitizer to the main course playoffs.
There is a feeling that this year's NBA playoffs are particularly anti-climatic, now that Kevin Garnett looks to be done for the year. The two players above are almost locks to make the NBA Finals. So does that make the NBA Playoffs a complete waste? As a basketball fan, I say no because in the 1st round, we have six series that are going to be interesting to watch and you can even see what to expect from the Cavs when they play Detroit. So lets start with them in the East.
#1 Cleveland vs #8 Detroit- If the Cavs are serious about winning, they will destroy the floundering Pistons. If the Pistons take this series to a sixth game, the Cavs failed and only make the road to the Finals tougher. This isn't like Boston last year who were thrown together and needed to learn to go through adversity, the Cavs have been able to roar through the 1st round before. I don't see any way LeBron let's them lose and the Cavs sweep.
#2 Boston vs #7 Chicago- So you have the KG-less Celtics taking on the 10th straight edition of the Baby Bulls. The Bulls had a golden opportunity to avoid this matchup on Wednesday and face the shaky Magic, but they embarassed themselves against the Raptors. Now, they get the champs who are much discussed without Kevin Garnett (as well as GM Danny Ainge, who had a heart attack). The Bulls will push the C's with ROY Derrick Rose, but the championship experience of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen will lead the Celtics in 6.
#3 Orlando vs #6 Philadelphia- Once again, the Magic are this year's honorary NBA TV series as they take on a Sixers team that stopped playing until the Cavs sat out their stars and beat them in Cleveland. Orlando has a great draw now that it's Philly and not Chicago. The best case for the Sixers is they have a third game at home. Unfortunately, the Sixers aren't important in Philly anymore so the Magic ride D-Ho and will win easily. And yes, I meant to write D-Ho for Dwight Howard. Magic in 5.
#4 Atlanta vs #5 Miami- The best series in the East features Dwyane Wade against the lovable Hawks who pushed the Celtics to 7 last spring. Atlanta has plenty of things you like: young, Joe Johnson is a legit go-to-guy at the end of games. If all things are equal, Atlanta beats Miami. Unfortunately for them, when Dwyane Wade is healthy and dominant, things aren't equal. He is the best player in the series and you don't go against the best player without a REALLY, good reason. Add the fact that Wade draws fouls when he's breathed on wrong, I see Heat in 7.
Western 1st Round
#1 L.A. Lakers vs #8 Utah- The only series in the West that you're pretty sure of the result. The Jazz are however, the last team the Lakers should be playing in the 1st round. The concede the PG advantage to Deron Williams, the coaching matchup is a push and the Jazz have a bench. Plus, they have a better home-court than either NO or Dal. If the Lakers had played Dallas or New Orleans, they beat them in at most five games. I think the Lakers win in 6 as Utah will steal a couple in Salt Lake City.
#2 Denver vs #7 New Orleans- Where I don't see the Hornets able to beat the Lakers in the 1st round, I certain think they will be in this series against the Nuggets. The good thing for the Hornets is that Tyson Chandler is starting to get healthier and might be a factor in this series. Of course, they have Chris Paul and they have an underrated roster, with James Posey, David West, etc. As for Denver, they rode their way to the 2nd seed behind Chauncey Billups stabilizing this team and giving Carmelo Anthony a legit chance to exit the 1st round. They also have many people who think they aren't a real contender in the West. If Chandler isn't healthy in this series, Denver will win. I think Chandler will be effective enough and last year's playoff run helps CP3 and the Hornets win in 6.
#3 San Antonio vs #6 Dallas- All year, the Mavs have been in my eyes the only one and done team in the West playoffs. All of a sudden they get the 6th seed and will get to play a Manu-less San Antonio team. The Spurs were on my short list back on April Fools Day, but the loss of Ginobili knocks them out of any title hunt. As for this series, the Spurs you would think should have no trouble with the Mavs, but remember, Dallas is playing their best basketball right now, they split the series with the Spurs and beat them in a Game 7 in San Antonio back in 2006, when Dirk Nowitzki had his greatest game. Unless Tim Duncan averages 25-15 in this series, Tony Parker could average 30 and the Mavs still win in 7.
#4 Portland vs #5 Houston- As good as the Mavs finished, the Rockets gave up home-court in that final game loss to them and now have to go on the road to take on a very good Trail Blazers team. The Blazers when they had the chance to win home-court crushed the Nuggets and are everyone's sleeper. What's not to love, Brandon Roy is going to be the next superstar in this league, they have depth everywhere and are young to boot. They will be fighting the Lakers every year pretty soon. As for the Rockets, they are in the same boat as Denver, needing to win a series. Houston can get a game early using the experience they have, but in the end, Roy's the best player and the Blazers win in 7.
Based on these picks, you would have Cavs-Heat, which would be interesting to see how many games Wade can take; Celts-Magic, where we find out if the Magic are for real and if the Pierce and Allen can carry the C's. The West would have Hornets-Mavs, where we find out if the Mavs can handle Paul or if the Hornets blow them out again and Lakers-Blazers, which could be the Lakers toughest series. Eventually, it will be Lakers-Cavs in the NBA Finals and I think the Cavs win in 6 and King James gets his crown.