Sunday, April 13, 2008

NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs

Agent Zero and his game winners!

I've touched on the Western Conference playoff race, so I thought I better give the run down on the East with two games remaining in the regular season. This would be the scenario if the playoffs started today.

The league leading Boston Celtics (64-16) will matchup against the resurging Atlanta Hawks (37-43). (The Hawks have a 2 game lead of the 9th place Indiana Pacers. They should hold on.)

Joe Johnson is not just a one man show for the Hawks any more. He has the erratic Josh Smith who is a true stat stuffer across the board, riding shot gun. These two can win games together but throw in the ever improving pair of Marvin Willams and Josh Childress and the Hawks are beginning to assemble some substance.

Mike Bibby could be the real "X" factor for the young Hawks. He has major playoff experience and if he can recapture the form that saw him and his then, Sacramento Kings, come within a Robert Horry three of the NBA Finals, the Hawks may scare the Celtics.

The Celtics "Big Three" have been great all year. KG and Paul Pierce are being talked about for MVP honours, while Ray Allen has been providing game winners all season.

Adding Sam Cassell during the year gave them a veteran at the point if Rajon Rondo is having a quiet night. Sam I Am is clutch in the playoffs.

Although the Hawks are young and athletic all over the floor, I feel the veteran savvy Celtics will sweep this series.

The Detroit Pistons just quietly go about their business all season and finish with the 2nd seed without creating a fuss. They will get the slumpingToronto Raptors. (Yes, I'm tipping the 76ers will overtake the Raptors.)

The Raptors might win gold at the Beijing Olympics with all that international talent, but there is just something missing from the Dinosaur's roster to make them legit.

Chris Bosh is terrific, but on nights when he is struggling who do they turn to as their second option?

I also think they need to go with either TJ Ford or Jose Calderon. The Raptors coaching staff seem to go with whoever is playing better on the night, but this has to be disruptive to the rest of the team. The point position needs to be rock solid for a team to succeed.

The Pistons on the otherhand are just the definition of rock solid. You have to go out and beat Chauncey, Rip and Sheed. And now that they have a young bench, they may be ready to give the title another nudge.

This series might go 5 games if the Pistons forget to show up in Toronto for one.

This next matchup could become a hell of a series. Orlando Magic vs the Philadelphia 76ers.

Orlando have one of the best frontcourts (Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashad Lewis) in the NBA, but I still have to question their backcourt. Jameer Nelson and the erratic Carlos Arroyo have flip flopped at the point, so just like the Raptors, I question this.

Philly on the otherhand are stronger in the guard spot. If the two Andre's (Miller and Igoudala) can have a great series, the 76ers can trouble the Magic.

76er centre Samuel Dalembert is the "X" factor here. If he can give his team some consistent play, this will go a long way to containing manchild, Dwight Howard.

I'm going for an upset here. The 76ers start to rejuvenate this great franchise and win in 6 games.

Last but not least that leaves the Cleveland Cavs taking on the Washington Wizards.

King James (LeBron) taking on the high scoring Wizards.

The Wizards will put some series points on the board, especially with Gilbert Arenas back in uniform. Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler have been carrying this team in Agent Zero's absence.

The question in this series is, can LeBron get enough help from his teammates to get the win. Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak were traded for during the season to bring perimeter scoring, so that will be needed to counter the Wizards perimeter onslaught.

Big Zydrunas Ilgauskas is the "X" factor here. If the Cavs get in a half court game he has an impact during this series, but if they try and run and gun with the Wizards, Big Z will be sucking oxygen early.

Wizards in 7, with Gilbert hitting a walk off three at the buzzer.

In college basketball there has been a whole lot of coaching changes made already. You can track all the movements right HERE.

In NBL news the Melbourne Tigers have added Rod Grizzard to their developing All Star roster. It is believed they are also chasing Adelaide import Julius Hodge if Dave Thomas stays State side. Shane Heal and the Gold Coast Blaze will decide where their relationship stands during the week. Brad Robbins has signed on with the Perth Wildcats for a few more years.

Kobe jams today against the Hornets!

1 comment:

DJ Leon Smith said...

JR, seeing as you went to Gonzaga, which is in the general area, I'd be interested to know your thoughts on the Seattle Sonics situation!