Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NBA Playoff Predictions

I've got stones. These were made before the playoffs but I neglected to post them here..

Lakers v Nuggets
The Lakers are a very balanced and solid team all-around, while also possessing the best SG in the league. The Nuggets have a big time offense but are horrible on the other end (Camby is painfully overrated in that regard). They also have no designated defensive stopper to slow down Kobe.. And don't have anyone who will make Gasol work on the defensive end. With a healthy Nene, Denver could have made this a series.. As it stands though, I can see the Nuggets winning one before getting closed out.
Lakers in 5

Jazz v Rockets
Houston got nailed by the basketball gods and not only go into the playoffs without Yao, but without Rafer Alston as well. While they have a great complement of role players around T-mac, he is about 4 years and a back injury removed from being able to carry a team to wins that way. Utah should close out in either 4 or 5.
Jazz in 5

Suns v Spurs
I'm not in love with the results of the Shaq trade so far, but I do think the Spurs will be showing their age, and that it will be Amare and not Nash that holds the key to finally beating San Antonio.
Suns in 6

Hornets v Mavericks
I'm a Hornets fanboy so this is an easy call for me. I am really tempted to say it'll be a sweep, but I'll give the Mavs enough respect that they are only a year removed from winning 67 games in the regular season. I basically feel that Paul is too dominant a force at the point for Dallas to handle, and that acquiring Kidd to help against the big guards that have tormented them in the past (Wade, Davis) backfired since he isn't quick enough to keep up with Paul--or good enough offensively to make him pay on the other end.
Hornets in 6

Celtics v Hawks

Boston is too experienced, too deep, too good both offensively and defensively for the young Hawks. Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce is a wash at best, and I don't see where else Atlanta's points are going to come from.
Boston in 4

Cavs v Wizards
This is an interesting pick for me because I feel Washington has the better team and is also the hotter team towards the end of the season. The Cavs have been banged up and never really got to gel after their big trade, while the Wizards have had lots of success playing without Arenas. However, Lebron James is an absolute monster. He's the NBA's most dominant force and can singlehandedly rip apart just about any team in his path. My brain says Washington, but my gut says never bet against the guy averaging better stats than Michael Jordan.
Cavs in 7

Magic v Raptors

I am a huge fan of Orlando this year. They have had a lot of ups and downs and generally lost their media darling label from earlier in the year, but they have solid plays and are probably the most difficult team in the league to match up against. Their one weakness is that they have the worst distributing starting PG in the league in Jameer Nelson--and Toronto happens to have one of the best in Jose Calderon. The Raptors have no one to stop Dwight Howard, which basically means a lot of putbacks and open shooters for the Magic. I foresee some close games mostly thanks to Toronto's solid point guard play. (Also off topic note: If Calderon were traded for Jameer Nelson right now, I'd pick the Magic to win the East)
Magic in 6

Pistons v Sixers

Pistons are too big and too experienced to get knocked out by Philly. Their team defense will prevent Iguodala from any kind of Kobe-like offensive explosions. Obligatory Sixers win for when the Pistons become lackadaisical/bored.
Pistons in 5

These are my other predictions, but I'll hold off on rationale til the 2nd round is set for real.

Lakers def Utah 4-3
Hornets def Suns 4-3
Celtics def Cavs 4-2
Magic def Pistons 4-2

Celtics def Magic 4-1
Hornets def Lakers 4-3

Hornets def Celtics 4-2


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