NBA Playoffs: 1st Round Outlook
With this being posted almost a day through the first day of the playoffs and a few major injuries later, my predictions have not changed through the first round. The regular season played out, for the most part, exactly how the experts picked and lead to all playoff match-ups being any teams series for the most part.
Bulls vs 76ers
With or without Derrick Rose the Bulls can handle a young and inexperienced team. They have shown throughout the regular season, they can win without Rose. In my opinion I think that this could be almost a blessing in disguise for them. They were playing fantastic when Rose was out during the year and with him out, they do not have to try to work him back into the flow of the game. The only thing that hurts them is not having that proven, closer that a team needs.
Pick: Bulls in 5
Heat vs Knicks
This series is going to be interesting, the Heat proved today that they can flick on that defensive switch and lock down any and all players on the opposing team. They will not be able to do that every game, but look for them to give the opposing team fits. With two of the top superstars in the league, its easy to pick them. I think that the shortened season, injuries and a new coach, hurt the Knicks. With LeBron being able to lock down Melo and him and Amare trying to figure each other out still, they don’t have a chance this year.
Pick: Heat in 5
Pacers vs Magic
This is probably the most intriguing series in the playoffs, both teams are inexperienced. The Magic do not have their go to guy, and the Pacers are young and aren’t proven yet. This should be a back and forth series and I look for Danny Granger and Jameer Nelson to be the most important guys in this series.
Pick: Pacers in 6
Celtics vs Hawks
The Celtics are old and everyone knows that, and with Ray Allen injured it could be tough for them. However, the Hawks have Tracy McGrady on the squad, i can just leave it at that. T-Mac hasn’t made it out of the first round in his career.
Pick: Celtics in 6
San Antonio vs Utah
This is an easy pick, say what you want about the Spurs but hey can play. No matter what their age is, Parker is an MVP candidate, Duncan is well, the same Timmy that has played since the Twin Tower days, and Ginobili is still one of the best European players in the league. The Jazz are in a position where no one thought they would be, and ill give them credit, they fought tooth and nail to get the 8 seed and the deserve it. They will still have a tough time with the Spurs.
Pick: Spurs in 4
Oklahoma City vs Dallas
This could potentially be the best first round series in the playoffs, the best 1-2 scoring punch in the league against the defending champs. I think that OKC is more skilled at the guard positions with Westbrook, Sefolosha and Harden coming off the bench then the Mavs are, and i would say its a push in the front court. I would say that everyone cancels each other out, however Ibaka will be a huge problem for the Mavs not being able to get into the lane. The Mavs have been the most inconsistent team in the NBA this year and I look for them to be them same way in the series.
Pick: OKC in 6
Lakers vs Nuggets
This is going to be probably my favorite series of the playoffs. So much drama going on with the Lakers and the ultimate TEAM in the Nuggets. When i say the ultimate team, i am referring to their ability to share the ball, not care who is the leading scorer and my favorite part, not have the “superstar” that most playoff teams have. I think that the suspension of the man formally known as Ron Artest, will definitely hurt the Lakers. It wont hurt their chances of moving on though. I look for the Black Mamba to be his usual self and dominate the game without a primary defender to lock him down. It will be a long series though, and Metta World Peace will be back just in time to help close out the series.
Pick: Lakers in 7
Clipper vs Grizzlies
This will definitely be the best 5 on 5 team match-up of the playoffs. It will be interesting because both teams have good players at each position and anybody on the team can score. The Grizzlies have been here before, whereas the Clippers are a first time playoff team together. I look for Rudy Gay and Chris Paul to carry their teams. However any player on either team can have a huge night.
Pick: Clippers in 7
Check back after the first round is over to see not only if these picks are right, but for the second round picks as well.
Author: Zach Tanton