Sunday, May 3, 2009

NBA Playoff Predictions: Round Two

I am usually a bigger fan of the NHL Playoffs than the NBA Playoffs, but few can argue that the NBA has had the better second season so far. The Bulls/Celtics series was epic, the kind of series that draws in even casual fans who have little rooting interest in either team. With the second round of the playoffs set to begin, now we will see if what the NBA has in store for an encore. We still appear headed for a Cavs/Lakers final, hopefully there will be some drama along the way.

After going 5 for 8 in my Round One predictions, here are my predictions for the second round of the NBA Playoffs:

Western Conference
Lakers (1) vs. Rockets (5)

Lakers in 5

Congratulations to the Rockets for finally getting out of the First Round. Don't celebrate too much, however, because you are about to get whipped by the Lakers. Some are arguing that Ron Artest will be able to get in Kobe Bryant's head and make him have a bad game or two, but if you think Kobe is going to just back down when Artest jaws at him you are crazy. The great players like Kobe use the jabs and insults as fuel to dominate entire games. As for the rest of the players on the floor, the Lakers will have issues trying to guard Yao Ming, especially with Andrew Bynum not fully healthy. That said, the Lakers are the better all-around team and they should make quick work of the Rockets.

Nuggets (2) vs. Mavs (6)
Mavs in 7
While I did pick the Nuggets to beat the Hornets in the first round, I didn't expect the series to be that lopsided. Somehow, Denver has gone from one of the most unstable teams in the league to one of the most consistent. Most of the credit for that has to go to Chauncey Billups, who should be getting MVP consideration for leading the turnaround. The Mavericks also surprised me in the first round, the way they disposed of the Spurs was impressive. I am going back and forth as to who will win this series, but it's safe to say it will probably go seven games. I like the Mavericks in the end because they have more guys that have done it before and I don't think Denver has anyone that can stop Dirk.

Eastern Conference
Cavs (1) vs. Hawks (4)
Cavs in 5
The Hawks just finished off the Heat with a blowout win, but for their troubles they now have to face the Cavaliers, a team that steamrolled past the Pistons in the first round. The Hawks have no shot against LeBron James, although I will give them a game to avoid the sweep. If the Heat had beaten the Hawks, Dwyane Wade would have stolen two games.

Celtics (2) vs. Magic (3)
Celtics in 6

The only guarantee about this series is that it won't nearly be as good as the Celtics/Bulls matchup. After that epic series, we should get an idea of whether that series was good because both teams were so evenly matched in a good way or in a bad way when the Celtcis play the Magic. Orlando isn't that strong of a team, so if the Celtics have trouble here, then we know the Bulls really aren't that good. If the Celtics breeze through in 5 or 6 games, then we know we saw an epic series and that Chicago was really a top team in the East. The only thing that should stop the Celtics here is if they are out of gas after having to play all those overtime games. For the Magic, Dwight Howard should be rested and ready to wreak havoc.

So those are my predictions. Let's see if we get another round of great games!


Anonymous said...

Dwayne would have taken two? Do you realize how stupid that is to say. I'm not a Hawks fan, but that being said I'm also not a blatant idiot. The Heat, well, suck. Atlanta has more players that can at least put together a chance to take two games. Heat would have been swept out the building! Yeah D-Wade is the sickness but it showed that he can only do too much. Plus the Heat are beaten up with J O'Neal playing mere seconds, and Wade's back an issue. Heat a better shot at taking some games than the Hawks? Absolutely, indubitably, ridiculously erroneous!

Michael Ware said...

I have to disagree with your logic involving the Bulls as a top team if the Celtics breeze past Orlando. Some teams just match up perfectly. Honestly I believe any other top seed in the East would have raped them.

allthingsphilly said...

Anonymous: D Wade steals games on his own, he doesn't need a supporting cast. The Hawks have no one that can do that.

Michael Ware: My point is the Bulls might be better than we think. They do match up perfectly with the KG-less Celtics, though

periantari said...

It does'nt make sense that you said that the Celtics would breeze through Orlando if they were as good as people think they are. That logic is so erroneous. If they were as good as people think they are, they shouldn't have that many issues shutting down Chicago in 5 games... but OT just tells them that they can't play down the stretch and let that team close. Chicago just stepped up when it counted the most, showing people that they are for real when it comes to challenging the defending champs.
IF Celtics beat Orlando, they'll surely not match up to the Cavaliers who showed how amazing they were in the regular season and how they showed no mercy in the first round against the Pistons. (granted, the PIstons sucked but still...if they had let up, they would have given one game to them but they didn't)

JFein said...

I disagree with you big time on what sport has had the better second season. The NBA may have had the Bulls-Celtics series, but other than that, what do they have? The only games that I can recall that were remotely compelling with drama were the Sixers 2 wins against the Magic. Meanwhile, games in the NHL have been fairly tight on a nightly basis. We had triple overtime today in Anaheim and one could make an argument that the Hurricanes-Devils series was as good if not better than Bulls-Celtics. Of course it will never be portrayed as such because the national media refuses to give hockey national attention, especially a series that is not picked up by Versus and/or NBC (I saw the epic series through online streams so I can personally atest to its greatness). There was a literal game-winning buzzer beater in that series and 2 goals in the last 1:20 to win a game 7 is just unheard of and unbelieveable (plus, it happened to the Devils, which made it that much better ;-)).

I like your blog, but except for Bulls-Celtics, the NBA playoffs have been dull, boring, and predictable this year, whereas the NHL has been unpredictable with numerous close games that have featured a post-season record of 4 game-winning goals in the last minute (and keep in mind that we are only in the 2nd games of the conference semifinals!). And then there was yesterday which a). marked the start of a Crosby vs. Ovechkin series and b). Simeon Varlamov made arguably the save of the decade.

The NBA just had one of its greatest series on record, but the NHL is currently having one of its greatest post-seasons on record (and I'm a Flyers fan!!!)

allthingsphilly said...

Quite a firestorm of lengthy responses!
periantari: The Celtics should get by Orlando with few problems, did you see them play against the Sixers? I am a Sixers fan, but what kept Philly in the series was how bad the Magic played, not how well the Sixers played. I completely agree with you that the Cavs will roll over Boston.

JFein: Love the pic, but I gotta disagree. That Bulls/Celtics series was the best first round NBA series of at least the last decade. Can you say the same about any of the NHL series? The Caps/Rangers and Canes/Devils series were great, but not epic.