First Round NBA Preview

April 16, 2009 |

 

     Well, the NBA playoffs are here. After the grueling 82 game season it is always fun to get to the point where every game matters and the stars play their best basketball. Here are my thoughts on the first round matchups.

 

                                           EASTERN CONFERENCE

  #1 Cleveland Cavaliers            vs.    #8  Detroit Pistons                         

season series     3                                                       1                                                      

The Cavs are playing tremendous basketball and have been unbeatable at home. The playoff experience of the Pistons will not allow them to be swept, but no way does LeBron James let Cleveland slip up here. In Detroit after what seems like forever as a contender, the rebuilding will have to begin.

             Cavaliers in 6

    #2 Boston Celtics              vs.           #7  Chicago Bulls

season series     2                                                             1                                                

Boston will have a difficult time competing with Orlando or Cleveland if Garnett does not come back from his knee injury. In this series though, I think Pierce and Allen, with some help from Perkins and Davis will score enough to keep the Bulls at bay. The Bulls will never excel in the playoffs until they get some more interior scoring.

           Celtics in 5

     #3 Orlando Magic                   vs.              #6 Philadelphia 76ers

season series    3                                                                                  0                                  

I think the 76ers are a team to be reckoned with in the future. If Brand can ever make it back, teaming him with athletes like Iguodala and Thaddeus Young could be explosive. But in this series I think Orlando is on a mission. With Garnett’s health in question, I feel that Orlando thinks this could be their year. Dwight Howard will not let them stump their toe in this series, and get ready for Courtney Lee’s coming out party.

               Magic in 5

    #4   Atlanta Hawks                 vs.                     Miami Heat

season series       3                                                                      1

The only real toss-up type series in the Eastern conference. Although I believe that Atlanta has the better overall squad, I did say that the playoffs are for the stars. I see Dwayne Wade having a huge series and Michael Beasley stepping up big.

                  Heat in 7

                                        WESTERN CONFERENCE

        #1   Los Angeles Lakers        vs.          #8     Utah Jazz

season series         2                                                                     1

  Utah is tough to beat at home, but can’t seem to buy a win on the road. In addition after the return of Carlos Boozer to the lineup thay have been playing worse, not better. The Lakers, well they have Kobe. Utah will be able to sneak a home win out this but not much more.

                        Lakers in 5

      #2 Denver Nuggets                vs.    #7  New Orleans Hornets

season series       2                                                             2

 I think this is a series that is ripe for an upset. I like the balance the Hornets have with interior scoring (West and Chandler), outside shooting (Stojakovic), and point guard play (Paul). Although I admit it won’t be a normal 2/7 upset since they were only separated by a few games in the standings. I think George Karl finds some way to mess up this series and Chris Paul dominates Chauncey Billups.

                 Hornets in 6

   #3  San Antonio Spurs       vs.            #6  Dallas Mavericks

season series           2                                                           2

This is a tough one. These two teams are evenly matched and know each other inside and out. There isn’t alot to distinguish between the two other than past playoff performances. In that case I take Duncan over Nowitski, Parker over Kidd, and Popovich over Carlisle.

                        Spurs in 7

   #4 Portland Trail Blazers    vs.   #5  Houston Rockets

season series            1                                                       2

  Like the 76ers in the east, I feel that Portland is on the verge of being a major player for years to come in the NBA. If they can keep Aldridge and Oden and Roy together for awhile look out. I just think that this is a year too early. I don’t think these young stars are quite ready for the glare of the playoff spotlight and the grind that Artest and Yao will put them through. How ironic that the Rockets might finally get to the second round….without Tracy McGrady

                     Rockets in 6

                                My  2008-09 NBA Awards

                   MVP                                Coach                                  Rookie              

1. LeBron James, CLE   Nate McMillan, PORT     Derrick Rose, CHI

2. Kobe Bryant, LAL              Stan Van Gundy, ORL         OJ Mayo, MEM

3.  Dwayne Wade, MIA           Mike Brown, CLE              Russell Westbrook,OKC

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