The NBA Playoffs are around again, and everywhere, especially all over the web, you will see various previews of it as you excite yourself for the big post-season. The playoffs is the time when the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders, and when pretenders everywhere write their predictions about it. You will see clichéd introductions and long analyses presenting many details and pointing out different reasons trying to articulate what they opine, and in this day and age, they can come from anybody.
This may be just another observer’s take on it, but it’s right to the point, short and quick to your preference, without any pretensions, and any further ado.
#1 Chicago Bulls (62-20) vs. #8 Indiana Pacers (37-45)
Season series: Bulls, 2-1
The Bulls ended the season strong, and will start the post-season strong. The Pacers may win one or none, but they are merely opponents for the Bulls, who are looking to showcase that they are really championship material in the first round. Bulls in five.
#2 Miami Heat (58-24) vs. #7 Philadelphia 76ers (41-41)
Season series: Heat, 3-0
Head Coach Doug Collins has done a good job of bringing the 76ers to the playoffs, but unfortunately that’s all they can realistically hope for. As the playoffs start, every team starts on even terms from scratch, but sweeps are natural in the playoffs, and that’s what the Heat will accomplish here.
#3 Boston Celtics (56-26) vs. #6 New York Knicks (42-40)
Season series: Celtics, 4-0
As poor as they closed their season, the Celtics still ended it with a win against the Knicks. The Celtics were able to just turn it on last year in the playoffs, and they are just a better team than the Knicks, even with the latter’s new two superstar combo. On sheer superstar power alone, the Knicks may win two games, but that’s about it.
#4 Orlando Magic (52-30) vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks (44-38)
Season series: Hawks, 3-1
The Hawks may have led the regular season series against the Magic, but they’re the same team that the Magic swept in the second round of last year. Against Al Horford, Josh Smith, and the rest of the Hawks, Dwight Howard will have a big series as he will need in the next rounds to come. The Hawks may win two, but the Magic will win four.
#1 San Antonio Spurs (61-21) vs. #8 Memphis Grizzlies (46-36)
Season series: Tied, 2-2
Zach Randolph, Memphis’ best player, was pulled out of games towards the season’s end for the Grizzlies to deliberately avoid the Lakers in the playoffs. But no matter how good Randolph plays, he won’t be able to lead the Grizz against the Spurs, which are reborn to return to their championship ways. The series will end at six but the Spurs will have decisive wins all along.
#2 Los Angeles Lakers (57-25) vs. #7 New Orleans Hornets (46-36)
Season series: Lakers, 4-0
Size is a distinct disadvantage for the Hornets against the champs, and with their primary post scorer David West out, they won’t be able to give much of a challenge against the length of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom. The results will be exactly like their regular season.
#3 Dallas Mavericks (57-25) vs. #6 Portland TrailBlazers (48-34)
Season series: Tied, 2-2
This series is as hard to judge as any in the first round of the 2011 playoffs, especially that the Blazers have upgraded after the all-star break with Gerald Wallace to help out LaMarcus Aldridge. But lest we forget, the Mavs are perennial contenders and they will play like one. This will be an interesting series with a power forward star match-up to crave for, but Dirk Nowitzki’s championship quest will not end in the first round this year. Dallas in six.
#4 Oklahoma City Thunder (55-27) vs. #5 Denver Nuggets (50-32)
Season series: Thunder, 3-1
Even after the send-off for Carmelo Anthony, George Karl was able to able to maintain a a good record for the Nuggets to advance to the playoffs, but this is when they slow down. The Nuggets have very good players in their roster but nobody on the fringe of all-star level, while the Thunder, as young as they are, have two. The playoffs are where the true stars come out to play, and the Nuggets will miss theirs. Close games all throughout but the Thunder will edge each game just a little, except maybe one.
Continue to the second round of playoffs…