April 16, 2010

NBA first round preview

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

The NHL playoffs might have started already, but we all know that the NBA playoffs are the ones that really matter. With some series starting on Saturday,

Eastern Conference

If you seriously think a well-rested LeBron James can’t dismantle a team that barely squeaked into the playoffs in four games, you might be high. Even if he shows rust and Shaq slows down the team, the Bulls simply aren’t good enough.
Pick: Cavaliers over Bulls in four.

The Bobcats are a great story, making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, but can’t match up against the defending Eastern Conference champs. With their big man, Tyson Chandler, getting hurt in season finale, there’s just no defending Dwight Howard in this series.
Pick: Magic over Bobcats in five.

If the Bucks still had a healthy Andrew Bogut, this might actually be a very interesting series. But since he’s injured, there’s no need to “fear the deer.”
Pick: Hawks over Bucks in five.

The Celtics are getting really old, really fast.  Couple that with the way they’ve played this season and can we really be sure that they have that extra gear needed to survive in the playoffs? I’m not so sure. Rasheed Wallace weighs down this squad horribly. But, when Dwyane Wade is the only real threat Miami has, it can get easy to shut down their offence.
Pick: Celtics over Heat in seven.

Western Conference

The defending champs draw the young guns with the hottest young scorer in the league. This is a match made for television ratings. The Lakers will have a tough time defending Kevin Durant, but the Thunder have their hands full with Kobe Bryant. This series will come down to secondary scorers and Oklahoma City won’t be able to stop Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom down low.
Pick: Lakers over Thunder in six.

The battle of Texas won’t be as easy for the Mavs as it was in the season finale when the Spurs big three rested. These two battle tested teams will give it their all, but the Mavs have the younger legs and home court advantage in their favour.
Pick: Mavericks over Spurs in seven.

Portland has been getting it done with a great deal of smoke and mirrors this season to go with some ridiculous performances from their depth guys. The Suns have been playing better and better while peaking at the best time. Will the ancient Juwan Howard really be able to stand up to Amare Stoudemire? I doubt it in the end.
Pick: Suns over Trailblazers in six.

This is the most interesting series of the entire first round. The Nuggets are largely the same team they were last year when they went to the conference finals, but the Jazz have probably the best home court advantage in the league. This series could seriously go either way, but I feel that Game Seven’s home court advantage favours Utah.
Pick: Jazz over Nuggets in seven.

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