This is the post where I pick all the winners of the NBA playoffs and then you guys post comments about how stupid I am, but I don't see any of you putting yourself out there with any predictions. You can see last year's post here, but I only did an OK job with my picks. This year I hope to get everything right, including how many games. Let's start in the East:
Cleveland (1) vs. Detroit (8)
Everyone thinks that the Cavs will cruise in this series, and it is true that the Pistons are broken and need to be rebuilt for next year. The one good thing for the Pistons is that they know how to flip the switch and I think they can do that for a couple games. I am not going to pick the Pistons, but this will be more hard fought than anyone else is predicting now. The one thing the Cavs have that no one else does is LeBron and he will be the difference, like he is every game.
Cavs in 6
Atlanta (4) vs. Miami (5)
DeWayne Wade is the second best player in the NBA right now. He is a monster. The rest of his team sucks so hard they blow. If Beasley can get 20 and 10 for a couple games the Heat will win a couple games, if he does not show up in the playoffs the Heat will be dead quick. I know that Wade can get 1 or 2 wins all by himself, but the Hawks have a team that is long and athletic and they can switch defenders on Wade and have quick double-teams. The Heat's best chance is that the refs think this is the Finals against the Mavs and Wade gets a whistle every time he drives the lane.
Hawks in 6
Boston (2) vs. Chicago (7)
If KG is really out for the Celtics they are in trouble. Chicago is a new team with Brad Miller and John Salmons on the floor and the Bulls are not afraid of anyone in the East. Boston will be a tough out but they should be able to slide past the Bulls with Allen and Pierce. Pierce can still take a team on his back for a series, plus if things get real bad the Celtics would probably bring out KG for the emotional lift for one game. If KG is actually healthy and plays don't count this prediction against me.
Celtics in 7
Orlando (3) vs. Philly (6)
Philly is the team that everyone wants in the playoffs, they are just not that good. I don't know how they make it to the playoffs every year. Philly is a team that if they played in the West they would get between 10 and 20 wins a year (mostly against Eastern teams). Philly has a style of play (running and gunning) that works well in the regular season, but in the playoffs Orlando will take their time, slow down the game and should have an easy time with this series.
Magic in 5
Now for the West:
Los Angeles Lakers (1) vs. Utah (8)
The Jazz have no defense and give up over 120 points a game the past few games. The Jazz do not have a good enough offense to score over 120 points a game. This is bad. The Lakers have a great offense and have four players that are better than anyone on the Jazz right now (Bryant, Gasol, Odom, and Bynum). The Jazz have no answer for the Lakers, but they have a great home court and will be able to pull one out when the refs get behind the Jazz for a game in SLC.
Lakers in 5
Portland (4) vs. Houston (5)
The Blazers have a good young team but they have not been to the playoffs. Does that matter? I don't think it does in the first round. The Rockets are good, but not great. The best thing that happened to them all year was McGrady going out and hence losing someone that dominates the ball for 15 of the 24 seconds. Yao cannot lead a team by himself out of the first round of the playoffs. The Blazers have enough weapons that they can frustrate the Rockets defense. This will be a good series and very competitive. I just don't think the Rockets have what it takes to win this.
Blazers in 7
Denver (2) vs. New Orleans (7)
This is a great match up for New Orleans. Every team in the West wanted to get Denver in the first round. Denver winning is a mirage. The Nuggets beat the teams they should and lose to all the better teams in the league. New Orleans knows what it takes to win in the playoffs and their team is rounding into shape right in time. I am going out on a limb with this pick.
Hornets in 6
San Antonio (3) vs. Dallas (6)
This series comes down to the fact that Dallas has no one that can check Tony Parker and he will go off in every game this series goes. Dirk and Duncan will match each other with some good games and other not good games, but either way they fight to a draw and Parker makes the difference. The Spurs will not win the title this year (they have won the last 3 odd numbered years) but they will put up a fight in this series and the next.
Spurs in 6
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