28 April 2012
The playoffs kick off with the 76ers going to Chicago to play the Bulls. The Bulls finished the regular season with a 50-16 record. You know the same record as the red hot Spurs. They also did this without their star player for many games this season in Derek Rose. The Bulls have a team, not a player. They play as a team, they win as a team. The 76ers don't stand much of a chance.
The Knicks get to take on the Heat in what will surely be the most covered series of the first round. It's just how it is given the media markets and players involved. Most money is on the Heat to win this series and that may turn out to be true, but the Knicks will put up a fight, if they keep focused. They have a real problem letting internal politics spill onto the court. Couple that with a merciless New York sports media and the Heat may have the easier go of things.
The Dwight Howard-less Magic will face off against the upstart Pacers. This could turn out to be the capper on a very bad Magic year filled with controversy, bad press and a so-so record. The Magic will have to find some other way to win and that's not something they do well. The Pacers could find themselves in the second round of the playoffs in very short order.
The second day of the first round of the playoffs kick off with the Jazz and Spurs. If you follow the NBA at all, you know the Spurs are the hottest team going. Plain and simple, they are the team to beat. They have played the regular season to the tune of 50-16. That's right, they have lost a total of 16 games. The Spurs are a perfect 10-0 over their last ten games. At home this season, the Spurs have lost FIVE games. The odds that they lose this series with the Jazz are slim and not in a million years.
The Nuggets and Lakers kick off the second series on Sunday in LA. The Lakers have been surrounded by controversy of late with the suspension of Metta World Peace, which will continue into the playoffs. These two teams are pretty evenly matched, but the Lakers have been in a bit of a skid the last 10 games going 6-4. The Nuggets may find a vulnerable Lakers team with which to work. The controversy may linger on and the team may not be as focused as they should be. Kobe will be rested for the Lakers though and that might be enough. Kobe has carried the team on more than one occasion this season and he just may have to do it in the playoffs as well.
Next up on Sunday, the Celtics and Hawks opening in Atlanta. These two teams play so evenly on the court that it comes down to overtime to get a win in a lot of instances. The Celtics play well at home and not so well on the road. They chose to rest their players and gave the Hawks home field. It well may be the only advantage the Hawks have and it well may be the only one they need to win the series. This one though goes to 7 games.
The Clippers and Grizzlies round out the opening weekend of the playoffs in Memphis. Another evenly matched set of teams with some highlight making players. The Grizzlies come into the series on a bit of a hot streak carrying that momentum to their home court to open things up. This could be another 7 game series.
All in all, the playoffs look to be filled with some exciting games and with several series possibly going to 7 games, it could stretch the NBA season out for a good while yet. I'm not a fan of pick making because it tends to make a fool out of me, but what the heck, I've never been afraid of what people think of me why start now. First round winners: Bulls, Heat, Pacers, Spurs, Lakers, Hawks, Grizzlies. Let's have some NBA playoffs!