Friday, April 22, 2005

NBA Playoff Predictions

Quick playoff thoughts:

Eastern Conference:

Miami/New Jersey: Much harder series for Miami than many will think, especially if the Daddy is limping; New Jersey's perimeter strength could overwhelm the Heat at times--still, Dwyane Wade is a bad man, and Miami's just a little better. Miami in 7

Detroit/Philadelphia: This is the worst of all the first round series--the Pistons will be rollin' easily over Philly, and A.I. will shoot under 35% for the series with Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince all over him. Next. Detroit in 4

Boston/Indiana: Despite Boston's improvement since bringing back 'Toine, I still like Indiana to pull the upset. Rick Carlisle gets my vote for NBA Coach of the Year--did you know that the Pacers have missed 421 total games due to injury or suspension? That's the equivalent of 5 players' entire seasons plus 11. Carlisle's great--and Reggie's got some magic left in him. Indiana in 6

Chicago/Washington: I'm really looking forward to this series--these are two up-and-coming teams with a lot of effective youth. I think the loss of Eddy Curry hits Chicago hard, though. Without he and Luol Deng, Chicago will have problems inside. Arenas, Hughes, and Jamison advance. But it will be tight. Washington in 7

Western Conference:

Phoenix/Grizzlies: I wish I could tell you the Grizzlies will shock the world and win this series. But I would be lying to you, and I don't want to do that. For some reason, people are too quick to downplay the Suns--they are the most talented team left still playing from 1-7. After that, it's thin--but the Grizzlies won't be able to force the Suns to go deep in the bench. For the Grizzlies to survive, Pau has to be aggfressive and effective, Ren has to pull double-doubles every time out, and Mike Miller has to continue being aggressive with the jumper and with the penetration. Get the Suns into foul trouble, and you have a chance. The Grizzlies won't. Suns in 5

San Antonio/Denver: Wow. This could be explosive. Two of the best frontcourts in the NBA go at it. Denver has to be the best 7 seed in the history of the NBA Playoffs--what George Karl has done with this squad is truly remarkable. Still, San Antonio turns it up several notches in the postseason--the Spurs are such a smart team on and off the court. The acquisitions of Nazr Mohammed and Glenn Robinson will prove crucial in the postseason. I can't pick against Tim Duncan. San Antonio in 6

Seattle/Sacramento: I am not into this matchup at all. Seattle has struggled mightily down the stretch due in large part to injuries, while Sacramento has struggled to find consistency all season long. Nate McMillan has done a phenomenal coaching job, but it's over now. Sacramento will put it together enough to upset the Sonics. Sacramento in 7

: Great matchup. Will Dallas continue its impressive play under Avery Johnson (16-2), or will Houston's defense shut them down? Will it be McGrady or will it be Dirk? A lot of good questions there--this series will be fun. Quick answers: Houston's defense will be suffocating at times, but Dallas is underrated defensively (especially under Avery) and they will get theirs on offense. Houston will be very tough, but I think Dallas edges it. Home court advantage will be key. Dallas in 7

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