JakeWatts23's Wiz-Blog

The NBA Playoffs As I See It… | April 16, 2011

In my wildest dreams you couldn’t tell me that preseason the Bulls were going to have the leagues best record, the potential league MVP and the potential Coach of the Year. Sparing you from my overarching bias (well kind of there is a good amount of that ingredient in this apple pie) I had a difficult time laboring back and forth with certain picks and how to have things unfold a certain way, more so than I ever have in the past because of the Bulls, but also because in each conference there are at least 3 teams that you can make an argument for to not only get there but win it all. In my attempt to be able to do something that mimmicks the makings of an NCAA bracket, I needed a platform to be able to publish my picks and in the meantime why don’t I shed some analysis on it for the hell of it. Here’s everything, thanks for the time…

East Breakdown

(1) Chicago Bulls Vs.  (8) Indiana Pacers

I will save your eyes and brain from even thinking about the possibility of reading more than two sentences in my analysis of my favorite team’s first round games. Next!!!

Bulls in 5, game three will go to Indiana

(2) Miami Heat Vs. Philadelphia 76ers

 

Heat in 6, on a stretch pick. Really I think this series goes to six games because of a few small reasons. Doug Collins probably can outcoach Erik Spolestra for two wins. Brand probably could make Bosh a puppet for two games. Igoudala could score 30, and he and Thaddeus Gibson could contain Wade and Bron for two games. Philly could have a crowd in the home games. There are enough feasible ‘coulds’ in this series to make me believe six is this series destination.

(3) Boston Celtics Vs. (6) New York Knicks

 

Boston wins in 7. Okay so let’s play a good game of ‘who you got’. Carmelo or Pierce? KG or Amare? Chauncey or Rondo? I would rather have Carmelo, Amare, and Chauncey all in a playoff series…but I wouldn’t want them to be on the same team! Boston has chemistry, veteran playoff experience, clearly the better coach, and as a cohesive unit that will survive 4 wins before New York gets 4. The most exciting about this series is the Boston/New York rivalry. There will be a good amount of highlights from this series, but even more important, I’m really excited to see how the fans in the Garden bring it for this playoff series.  New York wins 1 of the first 2, Boston then responds with game 4,5,7.

Orlando Magic (4) Vs. Atlanta Hawks(5)

 

Magic in 5. They win in 5 because of playoff experience, the better coach, better big man, and because they are more of a team than playoff disgrace Atlanta. Atlanta goes out early again just because I bet, and had to watch that awful performance of last year.

 

Chicago Bulls (1) Vs. Orlando Magic (4)

 

A good friend of mine, who is usually wiser when stepping out on a prediction expressed his lean towards Orlando in this matchup. It was humbling, this is a legitimate possibility. Bulls fans would be remised to just completely write off the 2nd round vs. Orlando as a joke. This is still the Orlando team that matches up well with the Bulls, or did in the regular season at least. The same Orlando team that went to the finals 2 years ago and has a lot of playoff experience, something that is so valuable in the NBA. That being said, my friend will lose all of his money that he has in the playoffs on this series and will bite the bullet by being wrong. The Bulls will very well win this series if Thibs has the Bulls prepared to not overlook an opponent. As Thibs said “I believe you have to be moving in the winning direction constantly, you can’t accept moving in a losing direction”. Chicago will come out with confidence, play hard and take advantage of homecourt. Bulls in 6.

Miami Heat (2) Vs. Boston Celtics (3)

 

I could write as much about this series as avid NBA fans can talk about it. I think this has the potential of being the obvious pick for most exciting series of the NBA finals. The Heat are very talented, with a ton of playoff potential Chris Broussard is very excited and so is “source”, Lebron is excited to get another shot at the playoffs (But not really … Lebron ‘Role Model’ voice),  Bill Simmons can hardly control himself, and hold up, neither can Gloria James, she gets to watch her baby Lebron, and her boo, Delonte ‘Hot Sauce” West play on the same court against each other…”this is so exciting” (Craig Robinson, Pineapple Express Voice). Boston’s team chemistry, Doc Rivers coaching, veteran experience, passion will be able to override Miami’s 2 and ½ players, no coach, and no chemistry. Rondo, RayRay, Pierce, Garnett, Doc together still does more for me than Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Bibby, Spolestra. Celtics in 6, Delonte get’s the girl, and Lebron ices his elbow after walking off throwing his jersey into the crowd in frustration. Lebron also underperforms because of ghosts from playoffs past arise causing a drastic shift in the playoff series.

Chicago Bulls (1) Vs. Boston Celtics (3)

Tom Thibodeau (1) Vs. Doc Rivers (3)

Brian Scalabrine (Red Hair/Red Jersey) Vs. Brian Scalabrine (Red Hair/Green Jersey)

 

Bulls edge out a rematch of the best playoff series of all time. Derrick is familiar with having a tough series with the Celtics and he remembers losing. The Celtics are good, they are very respected, a nicely run team and will carry a very good legacy as the “Boston 3” in the NBA’s bible when it’s all said and done. It’s Doc’s last year and it’s KG’s last year (I’ll bet). This series reminds me of something that has a lot of potential to happen in the west too, when ferocious young meets seasoned, experienced old. This time the older, very impressive dog will end up meeting the very good young dog at the wrong time. In many ways the Bulls are trying to mold themselves around the Celtics organization of the last 4 years and Thibs is fully capable of developing an athletic team with a veteran, mature playoff mentality because of his experience with Boston. Bulls have the better combo of bigs in the series, the better team defense,  draw in coaching, maybe with edge Doc on experience, but Bulls also have great team chemistry, and the MVP. Overall Thibs will have the advantage of being able to gameplan for Boston’s playoff strategy because he was the architect of Boston’s defense that they still use today, so if anyone can design a system to beat it, its him. Bulls players believe in Derrick Rose, and Derrick believes in them, and they  play amazingly exciting basketball.  Bulls don’t come out intimidated at all in this series, if they do it might be in a lot of trouble, but the Bulls win in 7 at home on a D Rose dominated game 7.

 

Western Conference Breakdown

 

(1) San Antonio Spurs Vs. (8) Memphis Grizzles

 

Ginobili might be injured for the first initial series, but this won’t matter. Spurs veteran zest, Pops is one of the best coaches in the game, and San Antonio’s home venue is a tough spot in the playoffs.

(2)  LA Lakers Vs. (7) New Orleans Hornets

 Lakers in 4, no questions asked.

(3) Dallas Mavericks Vs. (6) Portland Trailblazers

Dallas wins this in 7 games. Everyone is picking Portland over Dallas like it’s Belmont over Wisconsin in this years NCAA bracket (I learned my lesson there). Portland has Gerald Wallace (huge midseason pick up), LaMarcus Aldridge, and about 5 other guys to throw at Dirk, which will quiet him or at least contain him. However, this is still the veteran Dallas Mavericks playoff team with the best player in the series. Kidd is better than Andre Miller, Tyson Chandler is going to be healthy, and Dallas has enough to beat Portland in a series, plus they are at home and that’s why I pick them.

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder Vs. (5) Denver Nuggets

Probably the best first round matchup of the Western Conference, or at least most intriguing. Denver can very well win this series with their chemistry, new found sense of team pride post-Melo, and George Karl is a good coach with a great story. However, best player, better chemistry, and overall better team is the Thunder and I think they win a good series here especially since Denver has a few injuries. Thunder in 6

(2) LA Lakers Vs. (3) Dallas Mavericks

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Now this is really where we start testing the classic Lakers age question, where we still ask, “do they still have it” versus “yes they actually still have it, and we are all absolutely insane for picking against them…again”. Still the Mavericks are also old, they are veteran, but LA is a better version of old. It’s fascinating that these two teams have never played in a playoff series with their current talent that they are working with, meaning Dirk versus Kobe. I think Dirk vs. Kobe will be a great set up and age vs. age will only make the winning elder more tired. Lakers have more size, better coaching, better chemistry, Lakers in 7.

(1)  San Antonio Spurs Vs. (4) Oklahoma City Thunder

 Remember what I said with the Bulls playing the Boston as the older dog who typically advances in a round like this versus the young pup. Well fortunate for OKC they might also be that team that is able to meet the old team at the right time, where the youngsters stake a claim at what they want. Durant brings the quiet confidence with the desire to be the best, Russ Westbrook brings the swagger and the explosion, and Kendrick Perkins rounds out their playoff ability. More about their bench in then next round. I might have to buy a Thunder jersey by the end of the playoffs. Oklahoma City in 6.

(2)  LA Lakers Vs. (4) Oklahoma City Thunder

 Call me crazy here, but Lakers fans, if it doesn’t interest you to read about me predicting your team losing here then you can stop reading. The OKC Thunder will win this series as well. Let’s analyze what we spoke about in the last paragraph. Durant, well he’s got my money for the 2011-2012 NBA MVP (Preseason I picked D Rose for this year and the only other person who was in that same category was Durant, and naturally since Derrick did his thing this year, Durant will get my vegas money for preseason MVP next year). So let’s dig deep to last year in the first round when Russell Westbrook waxed Derrick Fisher and will do that again this year. Kendrick Perkins knows how to play Bynum, and if Bynum’s injury significantly plays a factor in the playoffs or at least carries over into this series, then I say edge Thunder. Thunder have Perkins, Ibaka, Collison with 18 fouls total to throw at Hollywood’s big men, Durant and Lamar Odom in a good matchup but Durant is definitely better and more proven in his young career to get a playoff edge. Essentially this is a big reach pick. On paper the Lakers still have the better coach, better player with the better (or more proven) killer instinct, the only player to consistently on a year in year on basis emulate the exact type of player that Jordan tried to be (hold your jets), a better core of big guys, better playoff experience, however I just think OKC will be able to pull it off. I know it’s going to take a lot here but like the Bulls over. the Celtics, the Thunder have players that have experience winning games in a series against the Lakers and that plays a role. It will definitely take a few calls, a few breaks, but it’s not inconceivable. Thunder in 7.

THE FINALS

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder @ The Chicago Bulls

 

Wow what a picture perfect series from an entertainment standpoint. Where the younger, more humbled superstars who work hard and shut up, literally out play the latest generation of out spoken, overly cocky, under-proven in clutch moment superstars for the throne to play each other for the ultimate grand prize (shot at Lebron, Carmelo, Bosh and crew). I will pick the Bulls in this amazing matchup for obvious reasons. Both teams have allure, both teams have up and coming superstars that are more deserving of championship series games played than endorsement deals. The Bulls bench is deeper, I believe they are better coached, Chicago home court advantage will help too and ultimately the MVP goes for what he has played to deserve all year, the ultimate hardware. Realistically I will be on cloud nine if I predict this championship series correctly, but mark my words, one of these teams will absolutely be in the championship series.  Chicago Bulls in 7! D Rose D Rose D Rose D Rose!

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