Friday, April 15, 2011

2011 NBA Playoff Predictions: Round One

While the NBA Playoffs don't have the same excitement level as the NHL Playoffs, we are still in store for some intriguing series in the coming weeks. Especially interesting will be seeing just who gets out of the Eastern Conference, whether it be the upstart Bulls, the ancient Celtics, or the hated Heat. Here are my first round predictions with a quick thought on each series:

Western Conference
Spurs (1) vs. Grizzlies (8)

Spurs in 5

The Grizzlies did everything in their power to face the Spurs in the first round. They must be seeing something I don't because the Spurs not only play their usual great defense but they are also hitting three pointers at a ridiculous rate, making them a difficult team to knock off.

Lakers (2) vs. Hornets (7)
Lakers in 5

I'm being generous and giving the Hornets one game simply because of Chris Paul. This one could very easily be a sweep as the Lakers big men dominate inside.

Mavericks (3) vs. Blazers (6)
Blazers in 7

Wait, who is the favorite in this one? Maybe we are all too used to seeing the Mavs bow out early in the playoffs but this one has upset written all over it. No matter what, this one goes at least 6 games between two evenly matched opponents.

Thunder (4) vs. Nuggets (5)
Thunder in 6

This is potentially the best series of the first round with two highly entertaining teams. The Nuggets have been shockingly good since shipping Carmelo Anthony out of town, but I think they will be exposed in the playoffs when they have no go-to guy to feed the ball to down the stretch. The Thunder need to take the next step and get out of the first round.

Eastern Conference
Bulls (1) vs. Pacers (8)

Bulls in 5

The Bulls have made quite a jump, going from the 8th seed in the East last year to the 1st seed this year. Their reward is getting to spank the mediocre Pacers.

Heat (2) vs. Sixers (7)
Heat in 5

I went into greater depth on this series in my breakdown, but the Sixers just don't match up with the Heat. Best case scenario for the Sixers will be to stretch this out into a 7th game, but their lack of a clutch shooter at the end of the game will kill them in the end.

Celtics (3) vs. Knicks (6)
Celtics in 7

This one should be a fun, an old-fashioned Atlantic Division battle. The Celtics should get past the Knicks, but the longer the series goes, the more worn out they will be for their inevitable showdown with the Heat.

Orlando (4) vs. Hawks (5)
Magic in 6

With the way the Hawks stumbled into the playoffs, losing their final 6 games, there is almost no chance they pull off the upset over the Magic. It's funny how the Magic are suddenly an afterthought in the East this season, although they don't have much depth this time around.

Those are my picks for the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Let me know if you agree or disagree!

1 comment:

Gambling Rob said...

Can't wait for the Bulls game, they're still a classy team, amazingly, after all these years!