1 Bulls vs 8 Pacers
What is there to say about this game? The best team in the league is going up against a team that was five games under .500. Prediction: Bulls in 4. MVP: Derrick Rose.
2 Heat vs 7 76ers
Andre Iguodala and the rest of the Sixers’ players are very athletic and should be able to stick around with the Heat. If you’re not a top four seed though, you won’t bother the Big Three too much. Prediction: Heat in 5. MVP: Dwayne Wade.
3 Celtics vs 6 Knicks
The Knicks won’t be able to stop Doc Rivers’s prolific half-court offense. Rajon Rondo will break out of his slump and own Chauncey Billups. Carmelo Anthony will keep things close, but the C’s are the defending Eastern Conference champs for a reason. Prediction: Celtics in 6. MVP: Rajon Rondo.
4 Magic vs 5 Hawks
This is easily the best series of the four in the East. Al Horford has really improved on the defensive end, and he won’t get destroyed like last year against Dwight Howard. The Hawks are more athletic than the Magic, but I think that the all-around talent of the Magic gets them by. Prediction: Magic in 6. MVP: Dwight Howard.
1 Spurs vs 8 Grizzlies
Even though Manu Ginobili isn’t at full strength, I don’t think that really matters much in this series. He’s probably only going to miss one game anyway, and the Spurs are still going to be great without him. The Grizzlies are a pretty good team, but the savvy Spurs take this in 5. MVP: George Hill.
2 Lakers vs 7 Hornets
Chris Paul is going to cause a ton of problems for the Lakers, but the Hornets can’t cause the defending champs too much trouble. The talk of a Lakers’ collapse will have to wait another round. Prediction: Lakers in 5. MVP: Pau Gasol.
3 Mavericks vs 6 Trail Blazers
This is my upset special right here. Although Dirk and the Mavs are a great team, no doubt, I love the Trail Blazers and their efficient-but-not-sexy brand of basketball. Guys like Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Miller, and even Brandon Roy (in a limited bench role) are playing well off of eachother- gee, that sounds a lot like the Spurs. Prediction: Blazers in 7. MVP: Gerald Wallace.
4 Thunder vs 5 Nuggets
I love what the Nuggets have done since the Melo trade, but it all ends here against a really good Thunder team. Their interior is good enough to match up with K-Mart and Nene now that they have Kendrick Perkins. I don’t think the Nuggets have an answer against KD, and I see him going off. Prediction: Thunder in 6. MVP: Kevin Durant.