Lakers to Win NBA Finals: Playoff Predictions

I think we are in store for one of the best NBA Playoffs ever. The stories, the rivalries and the level of competition are all as strong as ever. The Western Conference will be hotly contested and the Eastern Conference will provide some great games as well. So in honor of what will be a fun next couple of months, here are my playoff predictions, round by round. For an empty NBA Playoffs bracket, click here.


EASTERN CONFERENCE


First Round: Eastern Conference
(1) Boston defeats (8) Atlanta: 4-0

Boston’s defense suffocates the Hawks on offense.
(5) Washington defeats (4) Cleveland: 4-3
With an injured back, Lebron won’t have enough in the tank. Should be the best series in the East.
(3) Orlando defeats (6) Toronto: 4-2
Bosh will have a spectacular series, but the Raptors will be just short.
(2) Detroit defeats (7) Philadelphia: 4-1
The Pistons will nonchalantly roll into the 2nd round with only one bump along the way

Quarter Finals: Eastern Conference
(1) Boston defeats (4) Washington: 4-1
The Wizards will put up a valiant effort, but they will be exhausted from a tough first round series. Defense again will win this series for the C’s.
(2) Detroit defeats (2) Orlando: 4-2
I just can’t see the Magic matching Detroit’s experience in this series. Look for Chauncey to take over (20 and 10 a game).

Semifinals: Eastern Conference
(1) Boston defeats (2) Detroit: 4-2
I think both teams will surprise each other on the road, but in the end the Celtics will pull this one out. Both teams have strong benches, veteran leadership and lockdown defense, but I give the edge to KG and company for being more rested in the first two rounds.


WESTERN CONFERENCE


First Round: Western Conference
(1) Los Angeles defeats (8) Denver: 4-2
I actually A.I. and Melo’ will single handily win a couple games for the Nuggets at home, but win it’s all said and done, Kobe and Pau will take care of business at home.
(4) Utah defeats (5) Houston: 4-2
Should be a low scoring series. I don’t think McGrady alone can will the Rockets to a victory. Expect the tandem of Williams and Boozer to once again emerge as superstars in the playoffs.
(6) Phoenix defeats (3) San Antonio: 4-3
This will be the best series of the first round. Defending champs against Shaq, Amare and Nash. What more could you ask for? (Yeah I guess I want Robert Horry to be healthy enough to play in this series, too) I give the edge to the Suns because the Spurs have been banged up all year and Amare and Shaq look hungrier than ever.
(2) New Orleans defeats (7) Dallas: 4-3
Dallas has shown they can beat New Orleans, so I think this series will be a lot closer than most think. I give it to CP3 though, with homecourt and ‘something to prove’. Expect JKidd to play strongly in this series, and for Mark Cuban to threaten Avery Johnson with his job if he doesn’t make it out of the first round.

Quarter Finals: Western Conference
(1) Los Angeles defeats (4) Utah: 4-2
Remember when Kobe went absolutely off on the Jazz after the Utah fans booed Derek Fisher for no apparent reason? Well I think the anger in Kobe and his teammates will carry on to this series as the Lakers narrowly defeat the Jazz.
(6) Phoenix defeats (2) New Orleans: 4-2
This will be a phenomenal series. Expect New Orleans to come out strong out of the gate, but for the veteran Suns to take care of business by the end. Shaq will play a huge role in this series.

Semifinals: Western Conference
(1) Los Angeles defeats (6) Phoenix: 4-3
Where amazing happens. The NBA will be thoroughly excited if this matchup occurs, as it would pit the four-time champion Shaquille O’Neal against his soon-to-be-named-MVP ex-teammate Kobe Bryant. I have no doubt in my mind that a series like this should go seven games and I only give the Lakers the margin because of their stronger team defense and bench. Lakers won’t be able to contain Amare, but nor will the Suns Kobe.


NBA FINALS


(1) Los Angeles defeats (1) Boston: 4-3

Game 1 (in Boston): Lakers win 88-81
Game 2 (in Boston): Celtics win 95-74
Game 3 (in LA): Lakers win 96-94
Game 4 (in LA): Lakers win 94-87
Game 5 (in LA): Celtics win 91-77
Game 6 (in Boston): Celtics win 103-94
Game 7 (in Boston): Lakers win 94-93
Kobe Bryant drills a dead on three with 2 seconds remaining to give the Lakers the lead. KG takes a turn around 18 footer at the buzzer that just rims out. Lakers are the 2007-2008 NBA Champs.

So there you have it, I have the Lakers over the Celtics in a return to one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports. I give a push to the matchup between Kobe/Pau/Odom vs. KG/Pierce/Allen and predict that it will be the lesser known players that will determine this series. I think both teams have excellent second units, but that the Lakers will be able to put it together a little bit more. Expect Farmar, Sasha and Radmanovic to have a strong series. Powe, Allen and House will struggle.

Keep in touch with FBP during the offseason as we begin our preparation for the 2008-2009 fantasy basketball season by signing up for our free RSS feed.

To hoops,
Farid

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Top 10 Fantasy Basketball Players, 2008-2009

Now that this fantasy season is finished, it is never too early to look ahead to next year. If you were in a championship matchup this week in a H-2-H league, hope you won!

  1. Lebron James – He may not have finished even close to #1 in Yahoo Rankings, but I still think he is the most complete player. He put up 30/8/7 with almost 2 steals and a block per game with absolutely nothing around him. Everyone knows Cleveland needs to get him help this summer or else King James might leave.
  2. Chris Paul – I think he should win the MVP. Shoots a great percentage and will lead the league in assists and steals. That’s a damn good year. And he should only continue to get better when that Hornets core plays more together.
  3. Kobe Bryant – Is there any doubt that Kobe is the best all-around player in the game right now? His fantasy numbers went down some this year so that the Lakers’ win percentage could go up. With a healthy Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol for an entire year, Kobe should only continue to produce great stats.
  4. Amare Stoudamire – He looked amazing once Shaq came in, and now he will get an entire season with the Big Diesel next year. He is a truly great fantasy player, who will get you a ton of stats (but not too much actual +/- value). He and Nash have perfected the pick-and-roll just like Malone and Stockton.
  5. Kevin Garnett – He has so much value beyond the box score and thus falls this far down the list. His numbers were down this year, but he is now the main reason for the greatest turnaround in the history of the NBA. That being said, he should still be good for about 20/10 and some great percentages and defense next year.
  6. Dirk Nowitzki – Had a bit of a down year but has bounced back with a vengeance since his injury. He should improve on his scoring and rebounding from this year and continue to shoot pretty well. As much as I hated taking him over Lebron this year, I have to say he should be a darkhorse pick in the first round next year.
  7. Shawn Marion – This will be the true darkhorse in the first round next year. With his injury, Marion fell off the map, but he should still be one of the top producers next year. He gives you every category and is a poor man’s version of Lebron.
  8. Marcus Camby – I think I may have this defensive master a bit too high, but with the advantage he gives on blocks and rebounds, he should be a first round pick next year. He finally proved he could stay healthy for a full year.
  9. Allen Iverson – He really jumped back into the superstar picture. Without Chris Paul, we would be talking about this guy as the best point guard. His assists are up, and he is a steals machine. And playing in that Nuggets tempo only helps his value.
  10. Steve Nash – He really disappointed some this year, but he should still be good for percentages, threes, and assists. Has not played too well in terms of fantasy stats recently, but is still a top point guard.

Enjoy the playoffs everyone! We will be posting anything interesting during that run even though there may not be too much fantasy-related.

Keep in touch with FBP during the offseason as we begin our preparation for the 2008-2009 fantasy basketball season by signing up for our free RSS feed.

Mike
Senior Writer

3 More Days, 3 More Tips

There are 3 more days of NBA regular season basketball to be played. This means leagues are coming to an end. If you are close in a H2H league playoff game or in a roto league, employ these tips!

  1. Grab a Memphis Grizzlies player TODAY. The Griz play games the last 2 days of the regular season (Tue, Wed) against Portland and Denver on the road. I don’t have to tell you how many points the Nuggets give up a game, do I?
    Consider these guys: Andre Brown (13 pts, 18 boards in his last game), Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry, Navarro (if available)

  2. OR, Grab a Portland Trailblazer player TODAY. Like the Griz, the Blazers play on the last 2 days of the regular season, squaring off against Memphis and Phoenix. Both teams will give up a LOT of points. No brainer.
    Consider these guys: Channing Frye, Steve Blake, Jarret Jack
  3. Drop your Sac-town players TOMORROW. Sacramento plays its final game on Tuesday, so if you’re in need of statistics on Wednesday and you’re lineup isn’t already filled, be sure to drop a Kings player tomorrow.

Congrats to all for making it this far. I am in a H2H league finals match right now and it’ll probably come down to the wire–wish me luck!

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To hOOps,
Farid

Don’t Pick up Luke Walton!

Please don’t tell me you picked up Luke Walton last night after he had a pretty good game against the Clippers. Luke went for 18-5-4 (pt, reb, ast) with a steal and a block, which is a damn good line, but consider the following 3 points:

  1. The Clippers are terrible, he won’t replicate this performance against the likes of New Orleans, San Antonio or Sacramento (the Lakers final 3 opponents).
  2. Luke Walton has been injured recently (just missed two games because of a strained right hamstring)
  3. There are much better free agents out there. Think about players on these teams.

So don’t pick up Luke. But do watch this amazing Nike commercial: did Kobe Bryant really jump over a car (Aston Martin)?

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To hoops,
Farid

Fantasy Basketball Pickups of the Night: Charlie Villanueva and Tyrus Thomas

CHARLIE VILLANUEVA

The rule is that if a guy shows up in this spot twice, he’s a good bet to be a decent pickup. So what happens when someone shows up three times? My guess is that he’ll be a star the rest of the year (all 4 games). CV scored 38 points on 56% from the field (although only 60% from the line) and added 12 rebounds and 7 threes. 7 THREES!!??? Yeah, he plays like a big man too. Should be a lot of potential for next year.

Second Best: TYRUS THOMAS

Only 10 points and 6 rebounds. His team (and my Bulls) get blown out by the Magic (I’m actually very happy about that). But when you add 2 steals and 5 blocks, it really doesn’t matter what else you do. I’ve been hyping up Thomas for a bit now, but I think he can only hit his potential with a different team (see Chandler, Tyson). That’s a shame. The Bulls can pick’em but can’t develop’em.

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Mike
Senior Writer

If I Were You, I’d Pickup a Rocket, Grizzly or Blazer

OK guys we’ve been talking about it for a while, but now it really is that time of year. All leagues will be completed on the last day of the NBA regular season, April 16th.

With that being said, I would like to recommend 3 teams that have favorable matchups the last 7 days (10th-16th) of the year: the Houston Rockets, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trailblazers. Here’s how their schedules are looking the rest of the way:

Rockets: PHO, UTA, DEN, LAC
Grizzlies: MIA, MIN, POR, DEN
Blazers: SAC, DAL, MEM, PHO


*I’ve highlighted those games that I believe will be high scoring and very favorable for fantasy owners.

So start scouring the waiver wires and look for players on these teams. It’s the final stretch so max out your games played in roto leagues (assuming you don’t need to worry about TO’s, FG% and FT%) and drop big name players if necessary. Don’t be afraid to drop a big ticket player if he is going to be rested until the playoffs. Make intelligent, rational decisions and have no regrets.

Correction
Contrary to what I stated yesterday, you probably do not(!) want to pickup a Knicks (Wilson Chandler) or a SuperSonics player, as each of those teams have unfavorable schedules through the 16th.

Good luck and let me know if I missed a team you think is going to be dangerous. For daily pickups and other fantasy basketball advice, sign up for our free RSS feed.

To hoops,
Farid

I Don’t Like Milkshakes, but I’ll Take a Frye.

That’s right, tonight’s pickup of the night is the one and only:

CHANNING FRYE

I’ll be the first to admit that this guy is definitely a stretch in terms of fantasy potential, but you gotta admit, the title was catchy, right? But seriously, Frye had the fourth best line of the night last night according to basketballmonster.com–and they know their stuff. So consider him wisely. Last night he put up 22 points, 11 rebounds 2 assists and 3 (!) steals in 38 minutes and led the Blazers to a 112-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers 😦


WILSON CHANDLER

Saying that the Knicks aren’t in disarray is like saying In-n-Out Burger isn’t delicious (full disclosure–I worked there for a year). So it’s not a surprise that a Knickerbocker has landed on our Pickup of the Night list. To be honest, I’m not sure what the heck is going on with the Knicks other than Isiah is going to have a meeting with his new boss soon (ooh!). In terms of Chandler, the man put up 19 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks last night and put up 23 and 8 the other night, so he definitely should be looked at. Give it some thought and only pick him up if you need someone in his position.

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To hoops,
Farid