After this crazy, shortened season, the playoffs are finally here. Teams will actually get more rest during the post season than the regular season. Go figure. Also, I am really interested to see if the shortened season leads to any major upsets like it did in ’99.
Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs: Spurs are the 1 seed in the West just like in ’99 when they won it all. But maybe Utah could be the 8 seed upset this time around…and then again maybe not. I am stoked the Jazz found themselves down that final stretch to make it to the playoffs. It was worth forfeiting a late lottery pick even if they get swept. I think they’ve got enough in them, especially with the trio of Millsap-Favors-Jefferson to avoid the sweep and maybe even make the series look competitive. Spurs in 6 (I originally thought 5, but I am giving my boys the benefit of the doubt).
LA Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies: The Clippers were the trendy team of the year, but they face one of the toughest obstacles in the Grizzlies. I think these are two teams people would like to see advance far in the playoffs, unfortunately only one can. The Grizz just match up way too well against this young Clipper team. However, as we saw last year, Chris Paul can carry a really bad team to compete. Grizzlies in 6.
Denver Nuggets vs. LA Lakers: This is a really fun Nuggets team that works hard and win despite having no superstar. I think they might match up well enough with the Peace-less Lakers that they may give them fits. Unfortunately, as much as I want to, I just can’t see them winning the series. Even with this roster, Kobe just knows how to win. Lakers in 6.
Dallas Mavericks vs. OKC Thunder: A rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finalists. This year’s Red River Rivalry should be a heck of a series, but I am not convinced the shell of the NBA Champions have enough to overcome this young Thunder squad this time around. Thunder in 6. (I’m starting to notice a theme. What are the odds of every series going 6 games?)
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls: I like this Sixers team, but they were one of the teams tanking at the end of the year that wasn’t trying to and barley made the playoffs. I think this is the series most likely to end in 4 games, but I still think Philly has enough to eek one out. Bulls in 5.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics: For a couple years, this was the fun, new rivalry to watch. The Hawks, as major underdogs, gave the Cs a run for their money. This year, both teams seem evenly matched. Somehow the Celtics still have enough talent, that despite age (really old fused with really young), they keep winning. This Hawks team has gone completely under the radar. I still think the Celtics just know how to win. Boston in 7.
Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers: It’s amazing to see how Dwight has completely demoralized this team both when he is and isn’t there. This Pacers team feels like it’s really close to being a real contender. Pacers in 5.
New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat: I hope this turns into the series all the talking heads are predicting. The Knicks aren’t the 8 seed yet but are still the underdog to the Heat. Hopefully they can pull off similar magic as they did 13 years ago. I really wanted to have the Knicks coming out of this one. Heat in 7.
What are your picks? Can you do better than this?