April 16, 2011

2011 NBA playoffs preview

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball, Picks

Hey, look at that: I managed to churn out a playoff preview with only one game underway as opposed to my NHL playoff preview where five games had already been completed. Do I get kudos for that? Sure, why not.

Following the NBA regular season that we just went through, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to expect one of the best playoffs we’ve seen in years, if not ever. The West is stacked from top to bottom and the elite in the East are going to be brawling in round in two. It’s not a stretch to think that there are at least six teams that can walk away with the title – about three more than usual.

The league is just so heavy with superstars right now that it’s simply a joy to take it all in.

Eastern conference
Bulls over Pacers in four.
Indiana made the playoffs while being eight games under .500. If they don’t get swept, we can seriously question Chicago’s title chances.
Heat over Sixers in five.
Philly is a nice story and they’re solid underdogs, but there’s no way they can match up with Dwyane Wade and company.
Celtics over Knicks in six.
Next year, New York could be a force to be reckoned with. This year, they’re still a work in progress.
Magic over Hawks in five.
The only way that Atlanta takes a game is if Dwight Howard gets into foul trouble early – something that’s not unrealistic.

Western conference
Spurs over Grizzlies in five.
While it’s alright to be slightly worried that the Spurs have some nagging injuries, Memphis isn’t going to give them too many headaches while it’s on offence.
Lakers over Hornets in five.
Andrew Bynum’s back practising and the worry about the Lakers’ rough end to the season is a bit overblown. CP3 should steal one win.
Trail Blazers over Mavericks in seven.
Portland has the bodies to deal with Dirk, the only real threat this Dallas team has. This could be a stellar series…
Thunder over Nuggets in seven.
…But not the best series because OKC-Denver takes the cake. The star-less, underdog Nuggets and the solid all-around Thunder will be everything you want from a playoff series.

As for the Finals, if I had to call it right now, which I am doing, I’ll take Lakers over Bulls in seven.

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