NBA Playoff Preview

NBA Playoff Preview

tylercreighton

EASTERN CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND PREDICTIONS

by Tyler Creighton

 

Chicago Bulls (1) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (8)

Rose's ACL tear will surely hinder the Bulls.

 

This one seemed easy at first, but after the ACL tear that Chicago’s point guard and best player suffered, the series opened up.  The Bulls did manage to pull out game one 103-91, but without any assistance from Derrick Rose from here on out, the fast and athletic Philly stand a much better chance.  Chicago remains a threat without Rose, but there odds of winning the conference have been severely diminished. The series is anyone’s right now, but in the end the Bull’s probably still own enough pieces to come out victorious in round one.

Prediction: Chicago in 7
 
 
Miami Heat (2) vs. New York Knicks (7)
 
Without Stoudamire, it is up to players like Tyson Chandler to pick up the slack in the paint.

 

This series should be a lot closer than it will be.  The Melo and Amare duo simply hasn’t matched up to Lebron and Wade.  And now, the battle between the superstars will not even continue after Stoudamire took himself out of the fight by punching a glass fire extinguisher case, tearing his hand apart.   Now, New York is facing a two game deficit without their second best player.  Things don’t look too hopeful.  And although both teams are extraordinarily deep,  New York just doesn’t play well enough together to get it done.  The New York Knicks own as much talent as any other team in the league, yet they have only performed at an 8 seed level.  The Heat have the chemistry and playoff experience as a team, so they will probably take this one with ease.

Prediction: Miami in 4

 

Indiana Pacers (3) vs. Orlando Magic (6)

The Indiana Pacers is a team expected to make some noise in the playoffs.

 

The Indiana Pacers are a team on the rise, while the Orlando Magic are beginning an inevitable decline.  And without Dwight Howard for any of the playoffs, Orlando’s chances at winning are even lower.  The Howard era Magic is not what it was when it peaked in 2010, and they will probably struggle to get past the Indiana – led by one of the most quietly productive stars in the league in Danny Granger.  With the series now tied at 1-1, it won’t take more than 5 games for Indiana to eliminate Orlando.

Prediction: Indiana in 6

 

Boston Celtics (4) vs. Atlanta Hawks (5)

Rondo's suspension will make an immense impact in Game 2.

 

This is probably the closest match up in the Eastern Conference.  With Allen injured, a thin bench, and a suspended Rondo, Boston needs an great game out of all of its starters each night.  This adds significant pressure to players like Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass, who did not begin the season as starters, but must now fill the role and become leaders.  The Celtics are now down 1-0 and lacking their all-star point guard for a game after an altercation with a referee.  Atlanta’s Josh Smith and Joe Johnson will certainly put up a fight, but the Celtics will most likely take this series in 7 games.

Prediction: Boston in 7
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE: FIRST ROUND PREDICTIONS

by Jake Moser

 

San Antonio Spurs (1) vs. Utah Jazz (8)

The Spurs' big three looks to make one last championship run.

 

The Jazz have no shot at beating the Spurs this year, but it will still be a fun series to watch, as both teams will showcase their high-powered offenses for the fans.  The Spurs made short work of the Jazz in game one, winning 106-91.  The Spurs’ Tony Parker (PG), Manu Ginóbili (SG), and Tim Duncan (PF) are as rested as they have ever been coming into the playoffs, so for the first round at least, age will not be a factor for this aging big three.  The Jazz will showcase their strong post presence in the form of Al Jefferson (C), but in the end it won’t be enough to get past the seasoned veterans of the Spurs.

Prediction: San Antonio in five.
 

Oklahoma City Thunder (2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7)

The Thunder will need Westbrook's intensity to move to the next round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After winning the NBA Championship last year, the returning Champion Mavs are not the same team, and it spells trouble in the first round for them.  A 102-99 victory for the Thunder puts them up in the series going for game three.  The Mavericks swung and missed on the Lamar Odom experiment, and star power-forward Dirk Nowitzki’s production has dropped considerably after last year’s playoff run.  Also, after a long championship run, the Mavericks might not have enough gas in the tank to advance any further.  On the other hand, the Thunder have been one of the most consistent teams all year, and with solid production from their bench and star players Russell Westbrook (PG) and Kevin Durant (SF), the sky is the limit for these guys.

Prediction: Oklahoma City in six.
 

Las Angeles Lakers (3) vs. Denver Nuggets (6)

Kobe will have to play at the top of his game to carry LA through the playoffs.

 

Even though Metta World Peace will be out for the first seven games, the Lakers should manage without him and win this matchup handily.  In the first game of the series, the Lakers beat the Nuggets easily, 103-98.  As long as Kobe Bryant (SG), Pau Gasol (PF), Andrew Bynum (C), and Ramon Sessions (PG) are on the court for LA, the Lakers will wipe the floor with Denver.  The Nuggets had a solid year after losing star player Carmelo Anthony, and more improvement is sure to come in the future, but this is not their year.

Prediction: LA in five.
 

 Memphis Grizzlies (4) vs. Las Angeles Clippers (5)

Hopefully, Blake Griffin's dunks will help the Clippers advance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is going to be the hardest-fought series of the first round in the West.  Both teams are extremely similar in style, and in the end it will come down to execution.  In their first matchup on Sunday, the Grizzlies blew a massive fourth quarter lead, and ended up losing by one.  Both teams have plenty of scorers, for example: Blake Griffin (PF) for the Clippers and Rudy Gay (PF) for the Grizzlies; however, the distributors on each team will be the x-factor.  The matchup at the point guard position between the Clippers’ Chris Paul and the Grizzlies’ Mike Conley will decide this series.  It comes down to this: Paul is better at distributing that Conley, give LA the edge.

Prediction: LA in seven.