Saturday, April 28, 2012

NBA Playoff Preview

The abbreviated NBA regular season has come to a close, and after a sloppy start, it's been a pretty good one. The 16 teams qualified for postseason play are all above .500 (even in the Eastern conference), the rugged play has leveled off to mostly quality basketball and there is really no clear cut favorite to win it all. Call it parity or simply a watered down league, but there are at least 5 teams with a legitimate shot at the title. There are also subplots aplenty this go round: Can Dirk's Mavs regain their championship form or will the Thunder get their revenge? How will LeBron react in crunch time and will Kobe have enough juice left in his German engineered knees for a title run? Will anyone watch the Magic Pacers series? Lots of questions will be answered over the next 4 months or however long it takes to play these games. Let's get down to the matchups.

Eastern Conference:
1)Bulls vs 8) Sixers

For the second year in a row the Bulls are saddled with the opening game time slot the NBA relegates to the Sixers every year. Aside from Derrick Rose (the NBA's number one jersey seller) this series is seriously lacking in star power. Nevertheless, the games must be played so we can set up a rematch of last year's ECF. These are the 1st and 2nd ranked defenses in the league respectively so on top of the boring lack of stars, expect really low scoring games. Despite their epic fall off after an easy early schedule, I think the Sixers are good enough to get a game or two off the Bulls, but that's about it. Bulls in 5

2)Heat vs 7)Knicks

Now this is more like it. This series has it all. Superstars, a historic rivalry, the Heat trying to atone for last year's collapse in the Finals against a Knicks team hungry for any type of playoff success. Why did the NBA and ABC schedule this game at 330 on a Saturday when most people are either grocery shopping or watching the Rangers game? You're guess is as good as mine but it seems like they figure that Saturday night is a dead zone ratings wise (hence the Orlando vs Indiana matchup at 7) and they still want the Lakers in the golden time slot Sunday afternoon. Regardless, this should be a fun series, especially for us beleaguered Knicks fans at PTU. It will at least give us many opportunities to hate on LeBron. Heat in 6

3)Pacers vs 6) Magic
Ugh. Even with Dwight Howard this series was nearly unwatchable, now I'd rather watch a Downton Abbey marathon in Spanish.

4)Celtics vs 5)Hawks

Even though the Celtics are the higher seed by virtue of their division title, the Hawks had a better record and will enjoy home court advantage in front of thousands of fair weather Hawks fans. A few years ago, these two teams produced one of the more exciting 7 games series in a while and this series should be close as well. The Hawks are missing Al Horford, but the Celtics are banged up and frankly not that good. They still have that veteran moxie and annoying old man game that should get them a victory though.

Celtics in 7

Western Conference:

1) Spurs vs 8) Jazz

Ugh again. The two most historically boring teams of the past 20 years face off. If you don't follow the league too closely (or even if you do) you might be surprised to hear that the Spurs actually score a ton of points, which doesn't prove much besides the fact that you can have a high powered offense and yet still be as boring as The Tree of Life. Spurs in 5

2)Thunders vs 7) Mavericks

This matchup is pretty cool as the bloated, lazy champs try to get that ol' 2011 magic back against Durant and Westbrook. The Mavs just haven't had that same fire they did last season when they took over the playoffs and I see no reason to believe they're suddenly going to wake up now. Dirk came out of the lockout badly out of shape and the loss of Chandler has been a bigger deal than I guess Mark Cuban ever envisioned. Expect a win or two at home for Dallas but I think this is OKC's time.Thunders in 5

3) Lakers vs 6) Nuggets

No MWP shouldn't matter too much against the starless Nuggets. While Denver's gotten by this season with Knicks castoffs and Ty Lawson and Aaron Afflalo, that's not enough to really give Kobe and them a run for their money. This isn't to say that the Nuggets aren't a decent team but Gallinari and Al Harrington aren't going to get more than 2 games off the Lakers.

Lakers in 6

4) Grizzlies vs 5) Clippers

My picks are really boring. I realize this. The only series in which I see the lower seed winning is this one. Chris Paul keeps his MVP type season going by leading the Clips to only their second playoff series victory ever (yes ever). That's about as far as they'll go though.Clippers in 7Let's get it on.


  1. I'm back to predict winners

  2. Yo, who ready to make some kentucky derby money and drink coors light cans this sat??