While I will admit to not spending as much time researching the NBA this year as the NHL for the simple fact that the Celtics suck and the Bruins are awesome, I still think I know enough to make some predictions. And, more importantly, what’s the first round of any sports league’s playoffs without some predictions? Let’s get started.
Indiana Pacers over Atlanta Hawks in 4.
This is the NBA, after all. The 1 seeds rarely lose to the 8 seeds, especially when said 8 seed went 38-44 and almost lost their playoff spot to the New York Knicks.
Miami Heat over Charlotte Bobcats in 5.
I almost went with another sweep, but I think the Heat might just forget to care about a game. Either way, who cares. Michael Jordan’s franchise ain’t winning more than a game.
Brooklyn Nets over Toronto Raptors in 6.
I know that everyone and their brother will make this exact pick, but I really think it’s the smart call. The Nets are better than what they showed in the first month of the season, and, more importantly, I can’t pick against Pierce and Garnett unless the other team is far better than they are. Everyone will pick the Nets in 6 because the Nets are home in Game 6 but not 5 or 7, and I think that’s the smart call here.
Chicago Bulls over Washington Wizards in 6.
The Wizards really, really hurt themselves by winning their last 4. I realize that Toronto had a better point differential than Chicago, but would anyone rather play Joakim Noah during his Top 5 MVP Candidate season than the Toronto Raptors? John Wall should put himself on the map in this series, and he’ll be a big reason why it goes 6 games. But, if there’s one time that coaching really matters in the NBA, it’s in a tough playoff series, and Tom Thibodeau is involved. Bulls finish it off on the Wizards’ home floor
San Antonio Spurs over Dallas Mavericks in 5.
Finally, a conference with a lot of good teams. Spurs-Mavs will be a really, really hard fought series, so it’ll basically be the opposite of the Heat’s 5 game series. But the Spurs will be too much, and will win the close games that they need in order to dispatch the Mavs at home in 5.
Oklahoma City Thunder over Memphis Grizzlies in 6.
Zach Randolph has always done pretty well against Kendrick Perkins, and the Grizz’s size will give the Thunder issues. That’s why this series will go 6, which is a marathon of a series for a 2-7 matchup in the NBA. But, ya know, Kevin Durant.
Los Angeles Clippers over Golden State Warriors in 7.
Stephen Curry will go off in this series. Just be an absolute animal. Golden State is actually a pretty good road team, so I would not at all be shocked to see them take a game in the Staples Center. But I’m gonna have trouble going against Doc Rivers, and I think that Rivers and Co. will be able to take a game back in Oakland, as hard as that may be. They’ll then win in 7.
Houston Rockets over Portland Trail Blazers in 7.
Houston 33-8 at home and 21-20 on the road. Portland was 31-10 at home and 23-18 on the road. There will be no road wins this series, and that includes Game 7. The series will be by far the best in the first round, especially with LaMarcus Aldridge and Dwight Howard going at it. But the Rockets will prevail, and Sam Presti should continue to hate himself for trading James Harden for 12 cents on the dollar.