Saturday, April 16, 2011

NBA Playoffs Preview 2011

Although this blog hasn't seen a new post since September, it still gets a steady stream of hits. Nothing exorbitant, but I think a few hits daily is pretty OK for an inactive blog about nothing. virtually all of those hits are a result of one thing: my 2010 NBA Playoffs Preview. Particularly, the reference to Kevin "Durantula". And the hits are coming from all over the world. I'm not sure if it's a result of internationals not knowing how to spell Tarantula and ending up on my page, or if it's truly a worldwide desire to see Kevin Durant as a gigantic arachnid.

Since I measure self-worth in blog hits, I figured I'd better reprise my most popular post ever. Without further ado... (by the way, it bugs me when people write 'without further adieu', because it's wrong. So now, really, without further ado...)

Eastern Conference

1 Chicago Bulls vs 8 Indiana Pacers

Full Disclosure: This post is actually a partial playoff REview because Chicago and Indiana have already tipped off. The score is 20-15 for Indiana in the first quarter. Chicago has been a really fun team to watch this season, partially because they employ 3 recent contributors to my Utah Jazz. Derrick Rose will get the MVP award and he deserves it. Indiana lost 8 more games than they won this year and they don't stand a chance against the 62-win Bulls. Chicago in 4.

4 Orlando Magic vs 5 Atlanta Hawks

The Magic have been a big disappointment this season, and may have their hands full with the Hawks. The Magic were on the verge of the Finals but personnel changes have bumped them back a tier. Dwight is still an elite talent, but the surrounding pieces won't be enough to carry the Magic past any of the top three seeds in the East. I do see them reaching the second round, though. Orlando in 7.

2 Miami Heat vs 7 Philadelphia 76ers

When LeBron and Bosh joined the Heat, I wrote that they will win multiple championships. They had their struggles, but I still believe they'll win more than one chip. Talented veterans have shown their willingness to play with the triumvirate for minimum pay for a shot at a title. Miami is still vulnerable, and I'm not picking them to get out of the East this year, but they should have little trouble with Doug Collins and the Sixers. Miami in 5.

3 Boston Celtics vs 6 New York Knicks

This should be the most exciting series in the East. The Knicks have struggled since they picked up Carmelo Anthony to team with Amar'e Stoudemire, but with just those two guys and Chauncey Billups, they're loaded with talent. Boston has continued to impress me after their most recent championship run in 2008. They picked up a big name in playoff basketball, Shaquille O'Neal, but he (and the other O'Neal) will be a non factor. It's boring to pick no upsets (SPOILER ALERT: I have all the top seeds winning in the West too), but in a 7-game series, that's just how it goes. Boston in 6.

Western Conference

1 San Antonio Spurs vs 8 Memphis Grizzlies

As a Jazz fan, I started the season rooting against San Antonio, hoping Utah could surpass them for playoff seeding. I finished the season wanting Memphis to lose, so the Jazz could sneak into the playoffs. Both teams showed resiliency that was absent in Utah. Manu Ginobili will miss at least a little bit of time, but San Antonio has the experience, the coaching and the talent to eliminate the upstart Grizzlies. I do see the Grizzlies picking up their first-ever playoff wins in franchise history. San Antonio in 6.

4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs 5 Denver Nuggets

Durantula carried the Thunder within 2 points of a game 7 vs the eventual-champion Lakers last year. This year, he has a vastly-improved Russell Westbrook, as well as other talented young pieces (James Harden, Serge Ibaka, and new pickup Kendrick Perkins). The Thunder are growing up together and they are legitimate challengers to the Lakers. Denver has overachieved since dumping the Melodrama, but they can't match the Thunder. Oklahoma City in 5.

2 Los Angeles Lakers vs 7 New Orleans Hornets

The NBA-owned Hornets suffered a blow when David West went down. Carl Landry is a legit stopgap, but not enough to push Chris Paul and spare parts past Kobe Bryant and the perennial contenders. The Lakers have had their share of trouble down the stretch (including a 5-game losing streak), but they are ready to challenge for Phil Jackson's final championship, even if Andrew Bynum has to miss some time. Los Angeles in 5.

3 Dallas Mavericks vs 6 Portland Trailblazers

Every time I've watched the Mavs this year, I've been impressed with their defense and their passing ability. These teamwork elements can earn a team a lot of frequent flyer miles in the postseason. Portland's Brandon Roy has battled injury and hasn't produced as much as he has in recent years. This should be a walkover. Dallas in 5.


2nd Round
Bulls over Magic 4-1
Heat over Celtics 4-3


Thunder over Spurs 4-2
Lakers over Mavericks 4-3


Semifinals
Bulls over Heat 4-3
Thunder over Lakers 4-3


Finals
Bulls over Thunder 4-2

3 comments:

  1. Love it! Glad you're back. Thunder over Spurs, huh? And Miami over Boston? And Dallas taking LA to seven?? Hmm...we shall see, my friend. We shall see.

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  2. Thanks for posting, I always enjoy hearing your thoughts. I don't think Chicago can win it all this year, despite Rose's greatness. I don't think they have the experience to knock off the teams they'll have to just to get out of the east.

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