Yes, the playoffs are here, and whether your team made it or not probably changes your excitement level for the whole extravaganza. We are doing our second installment of predictions, we already put our baseball picks for the season up, and now it’s time predict how the NBA playoffs will play out. It’s about as competitive of a league as any I can remember,at least in the west, so this should be a great playoff run.
Western Conference Quarter Finals
By: Dallas Mavericks in 6, Phoenix in 4, and Utah in 7, OKC Thunder in 6, what? Yes, I said it. Phil Jackson’s comments on Durantula was just the edge Durant needed to pull off the upset. Kobe has not been himself from the second-half of the season going forward, and despite L.A. having a huge advantage in the paint, their Achilles heel has always been good point guards. Russell Westbrook will give them fits.
Chappy: L.A. Lakers in 6, Dallas Mavericks in 7, Phoenix Suns in 5, Utah Jazz in 7 – It’s amazing how balanced the West is. Every team won 50 games, and it’s tough pick against anyone even the 8th seeded Thunder… The Suns got an easy draw playing the depleted Blazers. The best two series in the first round will be Dallas vs. SA, and Denver vs. Utah. I actually think that the Nuggets will win, but I want to try and jinx the Mormons…
MCeezy: L.A. Lakers in 5, San Antonio Spurs in 7, Phoenix Suns in 6, Denver Nuggets in 7 – I like what’s going on with Phil Jackson and Kevin Durant, because a driven KD could push the series to the limit. The Mavs are stacked, but full of mismatched pieces; SA on the other hand has that familiarity as a unit that plays such a huge role in playoff series. Everyone’s writing off the Blazers without Roy, and rightfully so, but Portland is still good enough to keep it interesting. Denver having home court against Utah will make the difference, plain and simple.
Western Conference Semi-Finals
By: Utah in 6, and Phoenix in 7 - I wouldn’t be surprised if Dallas defeats Phoenix though, as both teams are stacked. I just like Steve Nash a lot, and so I chose Phoenix.
Chappy: LA Lakers in 6, Phoenix Suns in 7 – I’d be really happy if I was wrong and the Jazz upset the Lakers, and I fully believe it’s possible the way the Lakers played down the stretch, but still don’t see it happening. The Suns are my darkhorse this year. Since they decided to start playing a little defense, they’ve looked like champions. Is Amare playing for a new contract? Maybe, and if they get this far he may as well opt out of that last year on his contract, because he will get paid somewhere!
MCeezy: L.A. Lakers in 6, Phoenix Suns in 6 - As much as I don’t want to agree with Chappy here, I don’t see it playing out any other way. The Lakers will be ready for the Nuggets this time, and now that Ron Artest is thrown into the mix, there’ll be so much emotional volatility on the floor that hijinx will certainly ensue. Phoenix vs. San Antonio is going to be a last man standing match. In the second round, I’m willing to bet injuries are going to be the deciding factor – and I’m betting it’ll be on the Spurs’ side. Steve Nash has to be thinking this is his last shot.
Western Conference Champions
By: Phoenix in 6, what!?! Yes, finally Steve Nash gets the trip he deserves to the 2010 NBA Finals. Too bad it’s as far as he gets this season
Chappy: Phoenix Suns in 7 – I’m going to be completely wrong on this, but I’m really hoping that the 8 seconds or less pace of play can actually bring home a championship. I guess it’s the inner Warriors fan in me, that just wants to see it happen. Besides, who else in the league deserves a championship more than the most ridiculous man in the world. Nash will have more than one 20 assist game if they do make it this far. I bet he’d trade all those MVP awards in for one championship!
MCeezy: L.A. Lakers in 6 – I’d love to be wrong on this, but Phoenix vs. L.A. is one of those matchups where the former team is never going to get over the hump. If they’re going to, it will be the result of Nash having the series of a lifetime. Despite his multiple MVP awards, we don’t often mention his name in the same breath as the Kobes and Lebrons. This postseason will go a long way in defining his legacy. ….Assuming they do, in fact, make it this far.
Eastern Conference Quarter Finals
By: Cleveland in 4, Orlando in 6, Atlanta in 4 – (No Bogut out in Milwaukee), Miami (Yes Miami) over Boston in 6. Dwayne Wade is playing at that level again, and we all know how he gets, when he’s at “that” level.
Chappy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 5, Orlando Magic in 7, Atlanta Hawks in 5, Miami Heat in 7 – I really want to pick Charlotte. Especially since SJax lead the W’s to a playoff upset of their own, but I think the Magic will be too much for them. Pierce will need to have a huge series if Boston has any hope. I’m hoping D-Wade is just too much and he takes over the series because nobody can guard him. Who knows, Sheed might even tip a few in for them. I’d love to see Lebron vs. Wade in the second round. The Hawks will take advantage of their deer in the headlights opponent.
MCeezy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 5, Orlando Magic in 5, Atlanta Hawks in 6, Boston Celtics in 5 – Chicago always plays the Cavs close, but Cleveland is going to be too driven to let up against the Bulls. I’d love to have seen the Bobcats draw someone like the Cavs or Celtics, because then they could really embrace the underdog role and play inspired ball a la the 2007 Warriors. Instead, they’ll relax and subsequently get eliminated by Dwight Howard and Co. The Bucks are far from playoff tested, but they’ll find a way to steal a game or two from Atlanta. Everyone expects a long series from Boston and Miami, but Dwyane Wade is going to be held to 35ppg while the rest of the Heat are held in check.
Eastern Conference Semi-Finals
By: Cleveland in 7, Orlando in 6 - I love Josh Smith so much, but he can’t match up against LeBron alone. No one can, and as good as the Hawks are, LeBron is that much better. Dwight Howard will ultimately be too much in the battle of Florida.
Chappy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 6, Atlanta in 7 – I REALLY like the Hawks this year, and hope they can put together a solid run in the playoffs. They along with the Magic are probably the most complete teams in the eastern conference. I’ll find it funny if my prediction works out, because the only real reason the Cavs got Shaq was to have someone to guard Dwight, and I don’t even have them in the conference championship!
MCeezy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 6, Atlanta in 6 – These two series are nearly impossible to predict. You never know what you’re going to get with Boston, and you could say the same about Orlando, although they did dominate the season series against the Hawks. Some how, some way, though, you don’t see a whole lot of repeat series from year to year in the NBA. It’s amazing how we get new matchups each postseason. Instead of Cavs-Magic, it’ll be the Hawks’ turn to to stand on the brink of the NBA Finals.
Eastern Conference Champions
By: LeBron in 6 – The Cavs will exact revenge against everyone’s favorite pick in Orlando. I know there are a lot of similarities in how Cleveland entered this season’s playoffs to last season’s, but the differences will be the turning point. Shaq & Antawn.
Chappy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 – Atlanta might be a more complete team, but there’s just no way to knock Lebron out this year. He’s somehow better than last year, and will average a triple double in the series if that’s what it takes. If the Lakers get knocked out like I predicted, the NBA will force the refs to get the Cavs in the finals. Look for a poorly officiated series, and Lebron to finally get the cockiness that Jordan had. He’s already molding that arrogance if you haven’t noticed!
MCeezy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 5 – Just can’t see the Hawks hanging in a series this big. They will have flown under the radar to this point – first taking on the Bucks in front of 30,000 or so viewers. Then, their matchup with the Magic will play second fiddle to a Cavs-Celtics series. They’ll be thrust into the spotlight and forced to try to stop Lebron from getting to Kobe.
By: LeBron James. It’s simply his time.
Chappy: Phoenix Suns in 6 – I don’t really think they will win it all, but I’d love to see a winner come out that wasn’t Lebron or Kobe. I’d also like to see Lebron latch onto another team for next year, which would in turn make the current Cavs team into a 7th or 8th seed next season. Reiterating a previous point, I really would like to see the Suns win to prove that the Warriors playing the style can get it done in the playoffs. Plus, how can you root against Grant Hill and Nash getting a title!?!
MCeezy: Utah Jazz in 4 – How did we get here? you’re asking yourself. When was the last time I hit a 14 team parlay? Never. So why should I expect to predict correctly the first 14 series? Therefore, although the Jazz don’t get out of the first round in my scenario, I’m predicting that Jerry Sloan coaches his heart out to win that elusive NBA title and perhaps the respect of my grandfather, Roy, UT resident Jack Christensen; who adamantly maintains that Jerry Sloan has been the one thing holding the Jazz back all these years.