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.
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.
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.
(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.
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