NBA Playoffs 1st Round Predictions/Discussion


Welcome back folks! Today I’ll be giving my thoughts on each matchup in the first round of the NBA Playoffs!

Round 1

Eastern Conference

Bulls vs 76ers
The first round, or tuneup round for Chicago will see my Chicago Bulls face off against the Philadelphia 76ers.  Philly has come in this season playing extremely well together and made the playoffs this year after fighting for and nearly winning their division at different points this season. This series may or may not be competitive depending on the level of consistency from the Bulls frontline.  Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Luol Deng matchup extremely well with Spencer Hawes, Andre I, and Elton Brand. Carlos Boozer and Elton Brand’s low posts games will neutralize each other, Noah SHOULD eliminate Hawes from the equation, and Luol Deng’s ability to defend the dribble drive will allow him to eliminate Iggy’s ability to attack the rim. As far as guard play goes, with Rip Hamilton flying around screens and playmaking as if he is in Detroit he looks a far cry better than he did earlier this season when he looked like he seemed to be hurt. I don’t think Evan Turner is a good enough defender to chase Rip around all those screens just yet. At Point Guard, I like Jrue Holiday a lot, and think he’s on the verge of becoming a special player but his inconsistency will give D. Rose plenty of time to rehab and adjust to playing with Rip. Doug Collins is a great coach who always seems to get his guys together to play well during the season but he never can seem to get the effort out of his guys during the playoffs. Maybe if he could do that..then he might be the one with 10-12 rings not Phil Jackson. Despite that, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bulls drop at least one game simply based on my faith of the Andre I and Elton Brand combo, but if the Bulls clamp down this series will be over quickly.

Bulls in 5.

Boston vs Atlanta

This series should be over really quickly. Like seriously, without Al Horford the Atlanta Hawks drew the first possible matchup in the first round and play Boston first. Minus Al Horford, The Celtics are going to look to sweep and prepare to play Chicago in round 2 as they know that they will have a big fight on their hand in round 2. If this series goes longer I will be shocked, Joe Johnson and Joe Smith are too inconsistent minus Al Horford. Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce will push the Celtics to the 2nd round with ease.

Boston sweeps Atlanta.

Orlando Vs Indiana

I won’t even begin to comment on the Dwight Howard festival that has been characterized by bickering and inconsistent basketball. But, at this point whether or not Orlando sneaks out of the first round will depend heavily on how well Stan Van Gundy coaches as Indiana is NOT READY. True enough they’ve got a solid ball club with Granger leading a great nucleus of ball players and shooters, however they lack playoff experience and depending on how much effort Orlando gives this series will either go 4 games or 6 games. The Van Gundy’s are one of the few things great left from the old age of NBA basketball, and in my heart I think Stan has too much pride NOT to try to get something out of his players considering the impact it could have on his future coaching career. Matchup wise, it’ll be interesting to see Darren collison vs Jameer Nelson and J-Richardson/Turkoglu defending Granger outside. The key matchup will be whether or not Roy Hibbert will be able to play Orlando’s shooters at the three point line extended . When Orlando is hitting their three point shots they are one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA don’t sleep on them..that being said.

Indiana in 6.

Heat Vs Knicks

I’ve been waiting for this. Since Mike Woodson took over the NYC have started to look not like the Knicks I’ve seen the last two years but a physical and very intense presence on the defensive end of the floor. Not only that, but the last two weeks Carmelo Anthony has continued to light up and the Knicks bench has progressively begun to learn their roles. This is something that could possibly spell doom for a Miami team that is dragging it’s feet into the playoffs. We’ve seen it before with a CERTAIN Lakers team not even ten years ago that thought it could turn the switch off and on simply due to having the NBA’s most dangerous players and I’ve never been a believer in it. Granted, Lebron James(as much as I dislike him) seems to go out and play to his peak every game of the season this may or may not end up hurting Miami during the playoffs. The key matchups to this series will be the decision making of the Knicks bench on the offensive end and how much effort the Knicks decide to put into taking D. Wade out of each game.  Point guard play will be a push, Mario Chalmers/N. Cole vs Baron Davis/Mike Bibby will be irrelevant and though Mario chalmers has a chance to be BIG I don’t expect him to seize the opportunity as he has yet to do anything to prove he will against better teams in the past. D. Wade vs J.R. Smith/Landry Fields/Iman Shumphert this will be one of the key match ups in the series. A HUGE matchup, and I think the key will be how well D. wade can handle being pushed around by Iman shumpert at one point and chasing around J.r. Smith on another end. I don’t think Miami’s backup 2 guards or wings will matchup well in any of these cases and thus it’s D. wade vs the field.  Lebron James Vs Carmelo/Novak/Shumpert/World this matchup will primarily be Lebron vs Carmelo, but due to Lebron’s ability to dominate the game for 3 quarters I wouldn’t be surprised if Woodson sends different players to defend Lebron at different points in the game due to the effort it will take to limit him. How Lebron plays this series will be up to how he dictates it. He’s the most athletic player on the court, and when he attacks the basket the only player he seems to have had trouble with is…Tyson Chandler…oh. Well, if that’s the case, then depending on his how well he shoots the jump shot he will or will not have a good series. Although..most of his and D. Wade’s offense will come on fast breaks. Finally! The turning point matchup in this series will be with the bigs and I’ll end my long rant on this series. Tyson chandler/Amare vs Chris Bosh/Joel Anthony/Udonis Haslem too much size. Too much size! Chris Bosh and Udonis haslem are the Heat’s most consistent bigs but only Chris Bosh has the offensive ability to bring Tyson Chandler out of the paint which, he doesn’t mind doing. Tyson Chandler gave Bosh Fits in the Finals last year and as a result his impact was lessened considerably from the big time baskets he got as a result of a certain forward not being able to defend him. Amare Stoudemire is returning to his Pre-NY Phoenix Suns form and is looking special on both ends of the court once again. I expect him to have a big series especially if they give him a lot of touches down low.  So, in short..expect a long hard fought and great first round series to kick off the playoffs!
Knicks over Heat in 7 

 

West

 

Spurs vs Jazz

Man, I love this match up! Physical old school basketball! These two teams are going to beat each other up and it’s going to be riveting tv for anyone who’s played serious and organized basketball for long periods of time. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson are going to get their first real playoff experience this series, however they won’t be able to overcome San Antonio’s experience and their lack of true point guard. As good as Devin Harris is, he’s a 2 playing 1 and Utah needs to try to move up in the draft to find a 1.
Spurs in 6

 

Grizz Vs Clippers

I like the progress the Clippers have made this year. And Chris Paul is one of the top 3 PG’s in the NBA however…the Grizz are too big, and too damn gritty. The Clippers won’t be able to handle that brand of basketball. Though Chris Paul will dominate his matchup, I don’t think the rest of the Clippers D has enough to limit the Grizzlies.  Paul over Conley/Arenas of course. Rudy Gay/O.J. Mayo/Tony Allen will dominate Foye/Mo Will/C. Butler. As good as C. Butler has been in the past, he’s showing why Dallas didn’t want to invest anymore money in him. Finally Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph might get dunked on by Blake Griffin, but Blake Griffin’s lack of ability to defend these guys downlow will be L.A.’s downfall.

 

Grizz in 6.

 

L.A. Lakers Vs Denver Nuggets

THIS is a prelude to a possibly even more interesting matchup in the 2nd round. How long the Lakers play the nuggets will depend entirely on how well Andrew Bynum decides to play. We could get the punk ass kid, or we could get the 2nd best big man in the NBA. Not much to discuss here, Denver has hit their bench mark for the year and will look to be a lot better next year. I expect every game to be close though, Ty Lawson is a beast, and McGee has untapped potential as well at the 5. Too bad that Kobe Bryant guy will be playing as well.
Lakers in 5

 

OKC Vs Dallas

Another interesting matchup. We get a possible conference finals matchup in the first round how lucky are we? This is another matchup that will be extremely interesting and I think will shock a lot of people. Ever since Rick Carlisle started coaching the Dallas Mavericks I’ve had a rule…don’t sleep on Dallas and this season they’ve been through a LOT of flim flam that isn’t entirely their fault. Between Lamar Odom and their owner clipping their depth to pieces they’ve had a pretty tough time.  Enough about that though, let’s get to the matchups! Jason Kidd/Terry vs Russell Westbrook/Harden this will be the matchup that determines this series more than anything else. I fully expect Durant to get off vs Dirk/Shawn Marion but depending on how this matchup plays out we should see some fireworks. Jason Kidd is past his prime, but he still knows how to play championship basketball something that James Harden and Russell Westbrook are still learning. As a result of this I think the Thunder drawing Dallas in round one is the worst possible matchup simply b/c these guys are still learning how to win the big games. The x factors in these guard matchups will be Vince carter/Derek Fisher and how much they give their respective teams. As of right now I think it’s too close to call and I’m not going to make a prediction. Look for Jason Terry and Russell Westbrook to put up big numbers. Down low Dirk Nowitzki’s offensive game will determine the Dallas Mavericks playoff lives. Last season he showed that he still has the clutch gene alive and throbbing inside him contributing to Dallas’s playoff runs but this year I wonder if that will be enough. Ibaka and Kendrick perkins will be the guys technically supposed to guard Dirk, but if OKC wants to win this series they are going to need Kevin Durant to step up and be the man here to limit Dirk Nowitzki’s offense. If he does not and Dirk channels the Nowitzki inside from last year…OKC will be in trouble. The bench play between these two teams will also play a huge factor in these games, however Dallas’s bench may not see heavy minutes due to the lack of depth and Lamar Odom. Taking all of this into account, I think..
Dallas in 6, but if it goes 7 OKC in 7.

 

Alright. Thanks for stopping by folks, I hope you enjoyed my thoughts please leave your comments and any feedback below!

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    • whitejeanpr
    • April 27th, 2012

    i see lakers moving to the next round…..and that’s all that matters. 😉

    Like

  1. crap, meant to use this account. haha

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