The regular season is over and it’s time to make that money. Can LeBron James finally capture his first NBA championship? Do the Lakers have enough to compete in the West? What about the Griz? Spurs? How about the Bulls in East? Is D-Rose healthy? Check it out! In 1,000 words or less, I give my playoff predictions and pick the NBA champion. Let’s go!
Let’s start in the Eastern Conference, where things seem just as clear as things in the Western Conference.
Chicago Bulls v. Philadelphia 76ers – A lot of people thought that the Sixers were going to win the Atlantic Division until they collapsed in the last month and change of the season. They dropped all the way to 8th in the East after being in the top four most of the season. Meanwhile, the Bulls won 50 games while Derrick Rose missed a bit more than 1/3 of the season. If he is even 75% healthy, I think the Bulls win this series in six games. Bulls advance.
Boston Celtics v. Atlanta Hawks – Despite Ray Allen’s ankle injury, the Celtics have stifled opponents on defense and come playoff time, defense always wins. I like the Hawks a little more this year than in previous years, but I feel if they were playing any team other than the Celtics, they would advance. In the end, the Celtics score just enough points to get the job done and advance in six games.
Indiana Pacers v. Orlando Magic – The Pacers are one of the deepest teams in the league. George Hill is their backup point guard and he is just as good as Darren Collison (their starting point guard until he got hurt). Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Paul George and David West are just a few more names on this team. Also, the Magic doesn’t have Dwight Howard and they are reeling. I got the Pacers over the Magic in six.
Miami Heat v. New York Knicks – Without a doubt, this will be the most entertaining series in the first round. I like what the Knicks have done since Mike Woodson took over as head coach. But I think, at the end of the day, Heat is too much for the Knicks. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will carry them past the Knicks in a very entertaining series. Heat in five.
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Chicago Bulls v. Boston Celtics – This is where is gets tough because I like a lot of players on both teams. Chicago has more depth but Boston has more experience. I like the way Avery Bradley plays defense and I think he can slow down Derrick Rose some, not to mention Rajon Rondo is a pretty good defender too. I am taking the Celtics in six.
Miami Heat v. Indiana Pacers – Despite all the depth that the Pacers have, they don’t have a legit superstar. LeBron James will take this series over with his MVP-like play. But the Pacers won’t go quietly. I think this series win go six and almost every game will be competitive. Heat wins in the end.
Eastern Conference Finals
Miami Heat v. Boston Celtics – LeBron’s oldest foe: Boston. He has had some memorable games against Boston in his playoff career. I think he adds a few more to his memory bank. Boston is drained from their six game series with the Bulls and don’t have enough to stay with the Heat. Miami in six games.
San Antonio Spurs v. Utah Jazz – I am going to tell you right now: I am rooting for the Jazz. But that doesn’t mean I think they will win. Al Jefferson is a “player to watch”, as he makes his first playoff appearance of his NBA career. The Spurs are too deep and talented for the Jazz. But that doesn’t mean the Jazz won’t make it interesting. I got the Spurs in six games.
Memphis Grizzlies v. Los Angeles Clippers – I wrote in an earlier post that the Grizzlies were my dark-horse to make it to the Western Conference Finals. Their road starts against the Clippers. I like Memphis’ size and that they have Rudy Gay back. Blake Griffin is going to find out what playoff basketball is all about. Grizzlies in six game.
Los Angeles Lakers v. Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets have more depth than the Lakers but they don’t have one go-to player. Kobe Bryant is on a mission after an early round exit last season. I like the way Andrew Bynum is playing, too. Lakers in six games.
Oklahoma City Thunder v. Dallas Mavericks – The Thunder is going to be too much for the Mavericks. I like Dirk Nowitzki, but last year he played at a different level and isn’t at that same level this season. Thunder in five games.
Western Conference Semifinals
San Antonio Spurs v. Memphis Grizzlies – I like a lot of matchups in this series: Mike Conley v. Tony Parker, Tony Allen v. Manu Ginobili, Zach Randolph v. Tim Duncan and I could go on but I won’t. I picking an upset here: Grizzlies in seven games. I like Rudy Gay as the X-factor.
Oklahoma City Thunder v. Los Angeles Lakers – I think James Harden gets the better of Metta World Peace in Round 2. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant won’t play as bad as when they last met. I got the Thunder rolling in six games.
Western Conference Finals
Oklahoma City Thunder v. Memphis Grizzlies – I think Durant, Westbrook and Harden will play better than Gay, Randolph and Marc Gasol. I like Serge Ibaka to shut down Randolph, too. Thunder wins in six games.
Miami Heat v. Oklahoma City Thunder – I think the younger Big Three takes it to the older Big Three. Heat has no one to guard Harden and Durant out-plays James. I got the Oklahoma City Thunder bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy to Oklahoma City in late June.
(Sorry if there are errors, I whipped this up quick!)
- NBA Playoff Preview (guidoandthefrog.wordpress.com)