The 2010 NBA Playoffs began this past weekend and though we are a little behind on making our predictions on the first round none of Game 1′s effected our predictions. How far will your team go this year?
Cleveland Cavaliers (1) vs. Chicago Bulls (8)- This one is easy. LeBron James has Cleveland sitting pretty with the top seed in the NBA with homecourt throughout. Cleveland is a team that has been together for a few years and has added a few pieces (our friend Shaquille O’Neal) this past offseason to get them over the hump (presumably). Chicago is a young team with a lot of potential. We thought that Chicago would have put things together by now with their talent but Ben Gordon is long gone and Deng and Henrich seem to be out of favor with the front office. Derrick Rose is the lone bright spot and he promises many years of success to come, but this isn’t their year. The Cavs have too much firepower and meat down low. Cavaliers in 5
Orlando Magic (2) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (7)- Orlando is a team that is just waiting to explode. Dwight Howard is a beast down low and though he is a force he hasn’t completely “GOT IT” yet. The pro game that is. He can be dominate at times and a can completely disappear at times. Will he take the next step forward? That’s what makes this prediction so tricky. Charlotte is scrappy and full of young players who want to win. What else would you expect from a team coached by Larry Brown. Brown finds a way to stay in the hunt no matter who’s on the court for him. We think that Charlotte will put a scare into the Magic, but in the end they are too young and inexperienced to handle Orlando. This one will be fun to watch. Brown gives them one extra win. Magic in 6
Atlanta Hawks (3) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (6)- We like the Hawks…….a lot. This is a team that we can see as a sleeper to get to the Finals if the Cavs slip up. (We said “if”) The Bucks don’t really do anything for us. Maybe that’s because they are on TV 3 times a year and get 40 seconds on Sportscenter every other night. They must not be overlooked though. They do have young talent and when youth gets involved in the playoffs they tend to have a “no fear” attitude. Which makes for a dangerous opponent. The Bucks really don’t have the fire power to take a 7 game series from the Hawks though. Atlanta’s starting lineup is flat-out solid and they have the possible “sixth-man of the year”, Jamal Crawford, coming off the bench. This one could be over quickly if the Hawks keep their mind on business. Hawks in 5
Boston Celtics (4) vs. Miami Heat (5)- Does Boston have the formula to reclaim their championship magic from a few years ago or has their run come to and end. Paul Pierce is set to become a free agent, Ray Allen has been shopped around, and Kevin Garnett has been hampered by injury. This is just the recipe to spark the inner flame to compete. And the Celtics know how to compete. They won’t back down from anyone and they truly believe they can win it all this year. That is a good attitude to have. The Miami Heat are an interesting team to us. Obviously if Dwyane Wade is playing well they will always have a chance, but we aren’t sure they can beat a determined Celtic squad. Barring any injuries and meltdowns (oops Kevin Garnett is suspended for Game 2) the Celtics should come out victorious. This will be a physical series. Boston in 7
Los Angeles Lakers (1) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (8)- Even though the Lakers have not looked sharp as of late, they should dispose of the Thunder with ease. This series is all about experience. The Lakers with an abundance and the Thunder with zilch. This will be a good learning experience for the young Thunder squad and valuable for the maturation of superstud Kevin Durant. The Thunder may find a way to sneak one game in this series if the Lakers take their foot off the pedal, but if Phil Jackson has this team on a championship course they put the young Thunder in the ground quickly. Lakers in 4
Dallas Mavericks (2) vs. San Antonio Spurs (7)- Now this is where our predictions get interesting. The West is LOADED with teams that can go all the way and from here on out the predictions can get cloudy. This should be the most hard fought of the Western Conference series. The IH-35 matchup has become one of the best rivalries in the NBA and this one won’t lack excitement. The Dallas Mavericks have paid their dues and have gained the experience necessary to make a run at their first title. The San Antonio Spurs have the experience backed by 4 World Titles. Back a few years ago this would be the Spurs series to lose, however, in recent years there has been a changing of the guard. The Mavs have won the last two series they have faced against the Spurs. Last year winning in 5 games. It’s no secret that the Mavericks are built to beat the Spurs, but the question remains which Spurs? The Spurs who have found trouble finding a rhythm this year or the Spurs who closed the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the NBA. We must admit…..the Spurs are our home team. If the Spurs can bottle what they were doing in the last 3 weeks of the season and find a wait to assert Parker by attacking the rim this could be a long series. Factor in that Manu Ginobili has been playing out of his mind. We have a recipe for another chapter in this salty rivalry. Expect it to be physical. Does the Black and Silver have what it takes to rise once again? Stay tuned……Spurs in 7
Phoenix Suns (3) vs. Portland Trailblazers (6)- Big news right off the bat……Brandon Roy is out for the first round. The Blazers go-to guy is going to have to sit out due to an injury at the end of the regular season. This is big news! But not the kiss of death for the Blazers. Sometimes an animal fights best when it’s injured. The Blazers have seemingly lost players to injury all season and inserted a replacement with no problem. The Phoenix Suns on the other hand are desperate. Steve Nash’s window of winning a championship is rapidly closing and you can see the urgency in the rest of the team. This really is not the best matchup for the Suns because the Blazers gave them trouble during the regular season. They probably would’ve been better suited dropping their last game to Denver and securing the 4 seed to meet Utah in the first round. But that didn’t happen and we won’t dwell. We like the Suns in this series and feel that the Roy loss is too big for the Blazers to overcome. Suns in 7
Denver Nuggets (4) vs. Utah Jazz (5)- Both of these teams could’ve been the #2 seed. Which just proves how crazy the Western Conference is. A month ago we really liked the Denver Nuggets to challenge the Lakers for the Western Conference title, but they fell off a bit. Enter the Utah Jazz, who played lights out to close the regular season. Besides the San Antonio Spurs, Utah was the hottest team coming out of the West at the end of the regular season. If you’ve watched both of these teams play you know one thing is certain….THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Either of these teams can win because of their tremendous ability to win at home. The Nuggets have a great leader, our boy Chauncey Billups, and the Jazz have a wizard of a coach in Jerry Sloan. The first team to lose at home could very well be the first team booking their vacation plans for the summer. The absence of George Karl, recovering from cancer treatment, could play a huge role in determining how far the Nuggets can go. We are going with an upset. Utah Jazz in 7
Let us know what you think of our predictions in the comment section below. Were we spot on or just plain delusional? Sound off!!