19 April 2008

NBA playoffs: first-round predictions

Before I start, an apology for not posting for a few days; the end of the semester is approaching, and things are kind of frantic.

First round

Lakers over Nuggets in 5

Sadly, this could very well be the most exciting playoff series; the Lakers play at the 6th-fastest pace in the league, while the Nuggets are easily first. Look for winners to be consistently in the 120-point range.

Rockets over Jazz in 6
Houston's lost Yao Ming, but they've compensated for it by stepping up their defensive efficiency (second-best in the league, behind only Boston).

Spurs over Suns in 7
Yes, Shaq will to a certain extent contain Tim Duncan. But look for Ginobili to - figuratively, of course - explode playing against the Marion-less Suns.

Mavericks over Hornets in 6
As skilled as Chris Paul is, I can't see Jason Kidd, in his first playoff series with a legitimately talented, well-balanced team, failing to make it past the first round.

Celtics over Hawks in 5
I'm giving the Hawks a game here just because I see Josh Smith and Joe Johnson going off at least once.

Wizards over Cavs in 6
Have you noticed that every upset I've picked has been in 6 games? The 2-2-1-1-1 format lends itself to home teams coming through if the series goes to seven. This matchup won't go to seven, though: the Wizards, with Arenas coming off the bench, will dominate.

Magic over Raptors in 7
As an Orlando fan, the Raptors make me nervous; they have good guard play and a solid big man in Chris Bosh. But I'm hopeful that Turkoglu and The Gentleman On Whose Cape Thou Shalt Not Tug (TGOWCTSNT) will pull the Magic through.

Pistons over 76ers in 5
Detroit should win this series based just on quality of names: the Pistons have guys named Tayshaun, Chauncey, Rip, and Rasheed; Philly just has two guys named Andre.

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