Thursday, April 19, 2007

NBA Playoff Preview

Strange days in the NBA right now, as the power is clearly centered in the Western Conference. Conventional Wisdom seems to dictate that whichever team survives the East playoffs will be little more than a bump in the road to a title for the Western Conference champ, but they've decided to play the games anyway.

BIMRVM agrees.

Let's look at how we see the First Round playing out, starting in the East.

(1) Detroit vs. (8) Orlando

Pistons are the class of a bad conference, and should cruise, possibly right to the Finals. Pistons in 4.

(2) Cleveland vs. (7) Washington

Oh, what might have been. This could have been the most entertaining series of the round had Gilbert Arenas been healthy. Without Agent Zero, The Wiz just can't keep pace with King James and the Cavs. Cavs in 5.

(3) Toronto vs. (6) New Jersey

Sub-plots galore, as Vince Carter returns to face his old team. Nets have been a tough team to figure all year, and might have enough tricks to keep this entertaining against the young Raptors. My hunch is Raptors in 7.

(4) Miami vs (5) Chicago

Heat won it with mirrors last year, and Dwayne Wade is still not at 100%. I feel the need to pick at least one lower seed to advance, and the Bulls will be the selection, though this one is a tossup. Bulls in 7.

Over in the West:

(1) Dallas vs. (8) Golden State
Mavs have all the pressure squarely on themselves now. Top seed, defending Conference Champ, you name it. The Warriors grabbed the #8 seed on the last day of the season, and have given the Mavs fits this year. Dallas will advance, but not without having the crap scared out of them. Mavs in 6.

(2) Phoenix vs. (7) Kobe Bryant
See what I did there? The Lakers have since given up on the whole "share the ball" thing, and are letting Kobe run wild. Fun to watch, but certainly not a recipe for playoff success. Kobe will average 38 in the series, but it will be Suns in 5. Nash and Co. are primed to make a run at this thing, provided they don't collapse from overuse thanks to Mike D'Antoni's 8 man rotation.

(3) San Antonio vs. (6) Denver
Spurs are almost the forgotten team here, but are playing well heading into the playoffs. Nuggets also hot, but do not have enough to get by Duncan and Co. Too bad Denver didn;t cool off and face Phoenix, as that could have been a dynamite show. Spurs in 5.

(4) Utah vs. (5) Houston
With T-Mac and Yao at full strength, Rockets will be a tough out. Despite the closeness of the seed, Houston is much better and should be able to take this one. Jazz seemed to have peaked in December, and will not have enough to get it done here. Rockets in 5.

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