Apr 16, 2011

Second Round Playoff Preview / Predictions

Continuing from yesterday...
Eastern Conference First Round:
Bulls (1) vs Pacers (8) > Bulls in 6
Magic (4) vs Hawks (5) > Magic in 5
Cetlics (3) vs Knicks (6) > Celtics in 5
Heat (2) vs 76ers (7) > Heat in 6

Western Conference First Round:
Spurs (1) vs Grizzlies (8) > Spurs in 6
Thunder (4) vs Nuggets (5) > Nuggets in 7
Mavericks (3) vs Blazers (6) > Mavs in 6
Lakers (2) vs Hornets (7) > Lakers in 5

Second Round
Bulll vs Magic
Another upset special here, I see the Magic winning this series. Chicago and Orlando’s offensive and defensive efficiency numbers are similar and some would argue that Chicago plays better team defense. However, I do not see this Bulls team winning for two reasons.
1 - They do not have any playoff experience. Year after year we hear writers and columnists talk about having that “extra gear” for playoffs and the bulls haven’t had that yet. Michael Jordan’s bulls lost several years before winning their first one and I see this Bulls team as the same.
2 – Chicago’s offense starts with Derrick Rose’s penetration and in a 7 game series, that becomes very predictable offense for an experienced team like the Magic. Young teams like this year’s Bulls and Heat often find what works in regular season less effective in the playoffs. No one else besides Rose creates their own shots in this year’s Bulls. While you can say the same about the Magic, their offensive style is much more balanced and that stopping one guy (say... Nelson or Dwight) doesn’t halt their entire offense. And honestly, while i know what the numbers about Chicago defensively as a team, Ronny Brewer and Kyle Korver are not 2 guys you’d want to depend on in crunch time.
So, for these reasons above, I have the Magic in 7

Celtics vs Heat
How many championships did Lebron promise? Not 5? Not 6? Not 7? I think hes only in contract for 6 years and it doesn’t seem like he is winning his first this year either. Offensively, I think Lebron and Wade will definitely have their way, the problem comes defensively and it really isn’t any of the big 3’s fault. In year 2011, if the players you have protecting the paint are Ilgauskas, Dampier, and Juwan Howard, then you really are in big trouble. Another thing Miami has going against them was mentioned in the Heat Sixers portion and i think the change in pace & intensity could cost the Heat the first game or two. Lastly, the Heat just seems like a mentally fragile team. I mean, they cried after a regular season loss! This is also a team that... when they lose, THEY LOSE. Every time this Heat team lose, they go on a losing streak. And I haven’t gone on to mention Celtics’ strength yet.
Celtics in 5! Yes! 5!

Spurs vs Nuggets
To be perfectly honest, I don’t watch enough of the Nuggets to comment on this but know this: This is the Spurs’ first 60 win season in 5 years and Popovich / Duncan has won 4 rings together. If that doesn’t make you think the Spurs can and will win, I don’t know what can.

Lakers vs Mavs
Just as Macho Man Randy Savage says “Ooooooh Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” Dirk and Kobe finally meets in the playoffs but i really don’t expect much of a series from it. I rarely use regular season stats to prove a point but the Mavericks are just historically bad against the lakers. Worse yet, the Lakers even shoved the Mavs in their March 31 matchup. If that is the same Mavs team that shows up for this series, then we should prepare ourselves for a sweep. Remember how I had a hard time coming up with reasons for the Mavs to beat the Blazers? Well, its going to be harder with the lakers. I see Lakers in 5.

Let’s see how I do for the first two rounds AND THEN i will decide if i should post a conference final and finals preview. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the playoffs cos we are getting a lockout next year.

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