Finally, the playoff seedings have been decided. And it's time to make some predictions for the opening round.
1) Los Angeles Lakers v. 8) Denver Nuggets Even without Bynum, the Lakers are still as fearsome as it gets. Kobe can smell a championship with this team. No way he lets Iverson and 'Melo get in his way. PREDICTION: Lakers in 5
2) New Orleans Hornets v. 7) Dallas Mavericks The Hornets are one of the more inexperienced squads in this year's playoffs, outside of Peja. The Mavs want to avenge last year's monumental collapse and they've been playing hot basketball to end the season. It'll be a long series, but I think Dallas pulls it off. PREDICTION: Mavericks in 7
3) San Antonio Spurs v. 6) Phoenix Suns This series was the exact reason that Steve Kerr dealt for Shaq. Shaq is still a huge defensive presence, if not also somewhat of an offensive albatross. The Spurs are banged up, though, and there is no worse possible time to lose Robert Horry. This is a tough call, but I think I'll err on the side of the champs. PREDICTION: Spurs in 7
4) Utah Jazz v. 5) Houston Rockets Houston gets home-court by virtue of a better record and they'd better thank their lucky stars they do, because the Jazz have been murderous in Salt Lake. It's gonna be another long series and nobody's betting on the Rockets. Of course, I think that's just how they like it. This is the series where Tracy McGrady finally gets that huge monkey off his back. At this point, he kinda has to. PREDICTION: Rockets in 7
1) Boston Celtics v. 8) Atlanta Hawks The Hawks have no business in the playoffs whatsoever with that putrid record. This will be the first time in recent memory that a team can actually rest their starters during the first round. Boston wins easily. Fun fact: While it may seem like the Hawks have screwed themselves out of a lottery pick by making themselves shark bait for the C's, the joke isn't on them, because their 1st round pick actually goes to Phoenix. PREDICTION: Celtics in 4
2) Detroit Pistons v. 7) Philadelphia 76ers This doesn't look compelling on paper, either. But the Sixers have actually given the Pistons some trouble in the regular season. It'll turn out more interesting than it seems. PREDICTION: Pistons in 6
3) Orlando Magic v. 6) Toronto Raptors The Raptors have been pretty unimpressive, but they'll give the Magic a good run. In a season where Dwight Howard has been making his presence felt, this postseason will be the one where Howard makes himself a superstar. PREDICTION: Magic in 5
4) Cleveland Cavaliers v. 5) Washington Wizards Memo to Gilbert Arenas: Open mouth, insert foot. Why anyone would want to piss off LeBron James is beyond me. PREDICTION: Cavaliers in 4
Lakers in 6, as Denver is able to outscore them a few times and actually make them work in the series. Hornets in 5, as Paul makes Kidd look like a statue. Suns in 6, payback plus just a bad match-up for San Antonio. Jazz in 6, as the McGrady failure continues. Celtics in 4, Hawks are just made for them. Pistons in 5, regular season is one thing, Pistons know how to grind out a game in the playoffs. Raptors in 6, need an upset pick, plus the Raptors could get on a roll deep and steal the series. The old Bullets in 5, yes 5, over the Cavs. Cavs were mediocre post deadline trade. Cavs are better player 1, but Bullets are better 2-12.
Originally posted by It's False 1) Boston Celtics v. 8) Atlanta Hawks The Hawks have no business in the playoffs whatsoever with that putrid record. This will be the first time in recent memory that a team can actually rest their starters during the first round. Boston wins easily. Fun fact: While it may seem like the Hawks have screwed themselves out of a lottery pick by making themselves shark bait for the C's, the joke isn't on them, because their 1st round pick actually goes to Phoenix. PREDICTION: Celtics in 4
Going to the playoffs is the worst that happens to the Hawks in the near-future. I would've actually wanted Indiana to be eighth while the Hawks could've had an opportunity to get a real head coach.
Even if one believes that both starting lineups' talent are roughly equal there's coach Woodson to sink any hope at a competitive series. The Hawks, even with a losing record, should never enter the playoffs with a season-ending losing streak. The starters had significant minutes against the Wade-less and Marion-less Heat and still lost. As much as I want to see a hard-fought series at least the Hawks could become the biggest embarrassment to playoff basketball since this team.
(1) LOS ANGELES LAKERS vs. DENVER NUGGETS (8) Game 1: SUN 3PM @LA Game 2: WED 10:30PM @LA Game 3: 4/26 5:30PM @DEN Game 4: 4/28 10:30PM @DEN * Game 5: 4/30 @LA TBD * Game 6: 5/2 @DEN TBD * Game 7: 5/4 @LA TBD
(2) NEW ORLEANS HORNETS vs. DALLAS MAVERICKS (7) Game 1: SAT 7PM @NO Game 2: TUE 7PM @NO Game 3: 4/25 8PM @DAL Game 4: 4/27 9:30PM @DAL * Game 5: 4/29 @NO TBD * Game 6: 5/1 @DAL TBD * Game 7: 5/3 @NO TBD
(3) SAN ANTONIO SPURS vs. PHOENIX SUNS (6) Game 1: SAT 3PM @SA Game 2: TUE 9:30PM @SA Game 3: 4/25 10:30PM @PHX Game 4: 4/27 3:30PM @PHX * Game 5: 4/29 @SA TBD * Game 6: 5/1 @PHX TBD * Game 7: 5/3 @SA TBD
(4) UTAH JAZZ vs. HOUSTON ROCKETS WITH RICK RICK RICK RICK RICK (5) Game 1: SAT 9:30PM @HOU Game 2: MON 9:30PM @HOU Game 3: 4/24 10:30PM @UT Game 4: 4/26 10:30PM @UT * Game 5: 4/29 @HOU TBD * Game 6: 5/2 @UT TBD * Game 7: 5/4 @HOU TBD
(1) BOSTON CELTICS vs. HOLY SHIT THE ATLANTA HAWKS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS (8) Game 1: SUN 8:30PM @BOS Game 2: WED 8PM @BOS Game 3: 4/26 8PM @ATL Game 4: 4/28 8PM @ATL * Game 5: 4/30 @BOS TBD * Game 6: 5/2 @ATL TBD * Game 7: 5/4 @BOS TBD
(2) DETROIT PISTONS vs. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (7) Game 1: SUN 6PM @DET Game 2: WED 7:30PM @DET Game 3: 4/25 7PM @PHI Game 4: 4/27 7PM @PHI * Game 5: 4/29 @DET TBD * Game 6: 5/1 @PHI TBD * Game 7: 5/3 @DET TBD
(3) ORLANDO MAGIC vs. TORONTO RAPTORS (6) Game 1: SUN 12:30PM @ORL Game 2: TUE 7:30PM @ORL Game 3: 4/24 7:30PM @TOR Game 4: 4/26 3PM @TOR * Game 5: 4/28 @ORL 7:30PM * Game 6: 5/1 @TOR TBD * Game 7: 5/3 @ORL TBD
(4) CLEVELAND CAVALIERS vs. WASHINGTON WIZARDS (5) Game 1: SAT 12:30PM @CLE Game 2: MON 7PM @CLE Game 3: 4/24 8PM @DC Game 4: 4/27 1PM @DC * Game 5: 4/30 @CLE TBD * Game 6: 5/2 @DC TBD * Game 7: 5/4 @CLE TBD
Originally posted by It's False1) Boston Celtics v. 8) Atlanta Hawks The Hawks have no business in the playoffs whatsoever with that putrid record. This will be the first time in recent memory that a team can actually rest their starters during the first round. Boston wins easily. Fun fact: While it may seem like the Hawks have screwed themselves out of a lottery pick by making themselves shark bait for the C's, the joke isn't on them, because their 1st round pick actually goes to Phoenix. PREDICTION: Celtics in 4
Gosh, that's a lot of hostility there. I, on the other hand, will congratulate my Hawks for ending the league's longest playoff drought. It's been a fun season, losing record and all.
I'm gonna ramble a little, but I'll try and keep it short.
Boston vs. Atlanta
I was thinking that Atlanta might take Game 3 with the crowd being fired up for the first playoff game in 10 yrs, but then I realized that there will probably be about 8,000 people there and that Boston killed them in their last meeting. Boston in 4.
Detroit vs. Philadelphia
Everyone is talkinga about Danny Ainge being the Exec of the Year, but didn't he just get lucky? Who knew McHale would accept Al Jefferson and junk for Garnett? Who knew that Seattle wanted to kill their team before they left of OK. Boston was TERRIBLE for 4 yrs, then they get 2 trades landing them hall of famers for basically nothing and now Ainge is a genius? To me, Joe Dumars is the Exec of the Year for staying the course with a good team, resiging Billups to a not outrageous contract and repleshing his bench with really good young players and foisting Brezec and Delfino on Toronto. Now THAT'S the mark of a good exec. Detroit in 5.
Orlando vs. Toronto
I can't even explain Toronto. I watched every game and I'm suprised they won 41 games. Their wings are just so terrible. Everyone talks about Calderon, but he's not good defensively and notice his numbers dipping playing with that second unit. Magic Johnson in his prime couldn't do anything with that bench. Orlando in 5.
Washington vs. Cleveland
I though Cleveland would win, but Pavlovic is out and Ben Wallace is officialy dead. If it goes 7, LeBron might go to the line 783 times, but I can't see this going more than 6. This is offically the series that will drive James to Brooklyn in 2010. Washington in 6
LA vs Denver
I actually think LA isn't as good as they've look and can be beaten, but not by Denver. I can see a 160-135 game somewhere in this series. LA in 5
NO vs Dallas
I read that 4 out of the 6 'experts' on espn.com are picking Dallas, but I just don't see it. How in the world can Kidd guard Paul? Who's coverning Bonzi Wells off the bench? Are they expecting Dampier and the guy formally known as Jamaal Magloire to guard Chandler? NO in 7
San Antonio vs. Phoenix
This is the toughest and closest series. But this is going 7 and San Antonio isn't losing Game 7 at home. SA in 7
Utah vs Houston
If they couldn't beat them with Yao, how can they beat them without him AND Alston (BTW, that's one of the biggest stories of the year. Rafer Alston being an integral piece to a playoff contender. Watching him go crazy in TO, no one could have predicted that). Utah in 5
Kevin Kelly: "Mr. Austin, would you like to comment on Wade Keller's Take that endorsing the XFL hurts your anti-authority character?"
Steve Austin: "Oh shit, he actually said that? I thought the boys in the back were ribbing me!"
Kelly: "No, he really said that. Did they tell you the part about you sitting in the stands, looking all skeptical?"
Austin: "AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah... oh man that was too much."
Lakers in five - I'd probably still take Iverson over anybody other than Lebron and Kobe so I think he wins one at least, but the defense is just not going to stop anybody.
Mavericks in six - For those asking how Jason Kidd guards Chris Paul then watch the last game of the season. Jason Kidd doesn't guard Chris Paul, they trap him at half court. Then he has to give the ball up and nobody else on the team creates even half as good as Paul. Paul still got 20 points, 10 assists but it's effective enough to beat them.
Spurs in five - I guess I like the Suns even less than everybody else. In trading Marion for Shaq all the Suns did is switch which Spurs they can't guard. Maybe it's a better idea to try and stop Duncan but they can't guard Ginobili and Parker now. Ginobili and Parker might be better at this point anyway and I'm not totally convinced Shaq is going to stop Duncan either.
Rockets in seven - I'll take defense in this one. The Jazz defense is so bad that Jerry Sloane had to change his philosophy. The Rockets only gave up 91 points per game even after Yao was injured.
Celtics in six - I'll guess I'll be one of the few optimistic about the Hawks. Bibby is the better point guard. Johnson/Smith are one of the best offensive/defensive combos not talked about and Horford hasn't backed down from any challenge this season.
Pistons in four - Even though I think the Celtics ultimately win the East I think Detroit gets to the Eastern Conference Finals a lot easier. Maybe even sweeps in both rounds.
Magic in six - I like Howard better than Bosh. I like Orlando's supporting cast better than Toronto's.
Wizards in six - Lebron wins two games but the Cavs are dreadful.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAWSHEN There was a pretty good interview with Kings head coach Rick Adelman in Sunday's Sacramento Bee which really covered the whole range of topics about beloved NBA franchise Sacramento, their players, and their coach.