April 18, 2009

Roundball playoff picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball, Picks

With the NBA getting ready to tipoff on Saturday and duel with the NHL playoffs — a duel that roundball surely will win — it’s time to break down the series and give some picks. It kind of sucks that there’s very little standing in the way of the Lakers-Cavaliers final — which will be a remarkable matchup of Kobe vs. LeBron on both ends of the court — after the Kevin Garnett announcement the other day. But, the games still have to be played and anything can happen. Or so they say.

Also, The Intern will have his take here tomorrow, just in time for play.

Eastern Conference
Cleveland vs. Detroit
If you think the Pistons have a chance, you don’t know basketball. LeBron and Co. should make short work of the once great playoff performers. I’d be surprised if the overmatched Pistons take one game.
Pick: Cleveland in four.

Boston vs. Chicago
First off, do you think it’s just a coincidence that Celtics GM Danny Ainge had a heart attack the day we learned his best player is out for the playoffs? That’s something to think about. This series got a whole lot more interesting with KG on the shelf. Can Pierce and Allen lead the team past the pesky Bulls? Probably, but not as easily as Boston fans would like them to. Also, Rose-Rondo is going to be one hell of a matchup.
Pick: Celtics in six.

Orlando vs. Philadelphia
Injuries are the real question mark with Orlando. Can Hedo and Lewis both play through some pain and be effective? It might not matter because of how dominant Dwight Howard will be down low against inferior competition in Samuel Dalembert.
Pick: Magic in five.

Miami vs. Atlanta
When you look at Miami, you almost automatically pencil them into the second round based solely on Dwyane Wade being there. But, the wear and tear of playing in the Olympics and having to singlehandedly carry this Heat team might start to get the best of him. Atlanta is always feisty come playoff time at home so you can’t rule them out, but Wade’s Wade.
Pick: Miami in seven.

Western Conference
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah
Remember last season when everyone thought that the Jazz would be able to rough up the Lakers and be the toughest opponent possible in the West? Well that didn’t happen and there’s no reason to think they’ll even come close when they’re worse this year and L.A.’s better.
Pick: L.A. in four.

Denver vs. New Orleans
It’s a shame that Chris Paul has so light talent surrounding him. Other than David West, who probably wouldn’t be that great without CP3, it’s really just the offensively inept (and hobbled) Tyson Chandler, the shell of Peja Stojakovik and nothing else. Denver is too deep to fall in the first round and Carmelo will finally reach the second round.
Pick: Denver in six

San Antonio vs. Dallas
The battle of the Lone Star state will be interesting since Manu Ginobili isn’t involved. Dallas is good enough to give the battle-tested Spurs a run, but in the end, the better team will win.
Pick: San Antonio in six.

Houston vs. Portland
While it would be ironic that a Tracy McGrady team finally made it out of the first round, I don’t think it will happen. Portland is too good and too deep. This series will be full of great defensive efforts and I see  Brandon Roy coming through in a tight game seven.
Pick: Portland in seven.

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