Belated NBA Predictions
Because of my lack of ESPN and TNT, I used to watch NBA games at my landlord’s house. But she cut the cord last year, and I haven’t been able to watch any of the NBA playoffs. I don’t usually miss having cable, but it’s tough to read recaps of the games and not feel a pang of sadness. Oh, well. Such is life. And for the most part, I feel I know enough about the NBA to make some educated guesses about how the first round is going to go. Here are my picks:
Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks — The Pacers should be very, very worried. They might have the No. 1 seed, but they haven’t played like a number one seed for quite some time. I’m not sure what the issue is — did their entire roster fall apart the moment they signed the cancerous Andrew Bynum? — but the Pacers looked pretty terrible in game one, when they lost to the Hawks. Will they be able to pull it together and win the series? Um, probably. But they might want to put their championship dreams on hold. Pacers in 7.
Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Bobcats — I’m happy to see the Bobcats finally make the playoffs, mainly because I’m a longtime fan of Al Jefferson, who got his start with the Celtics. But I’m also sad, mainly because the Bobcats have no chance of winning this thing. They should win one game, though. Heat in 5.
Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets — The Raptors have had a great season. Trading Rudy Gay was an excellent decision, as it enabled the team to play much better basketball. Unfortunately, the Raptors are up against the Nets, a tough, battle-scarred veteran squad that also improved dramatically over the course of the season. I’m rooting for the Nets, because they have former Celtics Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. But I also think they can win the series. Nets in 7.
Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards — The Wizards are in the playoffs? And they’re not even the eighth seed? That’s amazing! And if I had made my picks before the playoffs started, I might have picked the Bulls to sweep the Wizards. After all, aren’t the Wizards just happy to be here? But then the Wizards beat the Bulls in game 1, and I had to consider the possibility that the Wizards might be capable of winning this series. My gut tells me that the Bulls are going to pull together and that defensive player of the year Joakim Noah is going to single-handedly put the Wizards in their place. But you never know. Bulls in 6.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks — The real question is whether the Spurs will sweep. They’re certainly capable of it, but I don’t think they will. Spurs in 5.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies — This is not the match-up the Thunder wanted. After all, last year the Grizzlies upset the Thunder and bounced them out of the playoffs. Sure, the Thunder had lost Russell Westbrook to injury. But the Grizzlies are a tough, tough team, and they showed they aren’t afraid of the Thunder by beating them at home to even the series to 1-1. I still expect the Thunder to win — Kevin Durant is just too good — but it should be a challenge. Thunder in 7.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors — The Warriors shocked the Clippers by beating them at home, but I doubt it will happen again. The Clippers got serious last night and evened the series, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they took the next three games. The Warriors are missing Andrew Bogut, which hurts a lot. But I think they’ll pull out at least one more win. Clippers in 6.
Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trailblazers — If Houston wants to contend, they’ll have to play a little better than they did in game 1, when they blew a 10 point lead in the final four minutes and lost in overtime. I suspect my dislike of Rockets center Dwight Howard is clouding my brain, but I’m going for the upset here. Trailblazers in 6.
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