Sunday, April 19, 2009

NBA Playoffs

The NBA Playoffs kicked off today and I was glued to my TV due to the lack of coverage in the early rounds. I have to make the most of every opportunity. Enough complaining because there were some good games and series that began today.

Boston vs Chicago (Bulls lead 1-0) boxscore

Enough will be written elsewhere about this game and Derrick Rose's rookie breaking game so I'm dedicating little to it.

One thing I will say though, Rose is a big time performer. The bigger the occasion, the bigger he plays. Cast your mind back twelve months ago and the then freshman Rose led the Memphis Tigers to within inches (thanks to Mario Chalmers) of a National Championship.

My question though. Can Rose do this for a entire series against the defending champs?

My Prediction: 4-2 Celtics

Cleveland vs Detroit (Cavs lead 1-0) boxscore

No surprises here. MVP in waiting LeBron James was huge and Detroit's interesting season is only three games away from ending.

The LBJ's (Cavs) should be able to get some rest before they get entrenched in a meaningful series.

My Prediction: 4-0 Cavs

San Antonio vs Dallas (Mavs lead 1-0) boxscore

There is no way the Mavs can continue to get solid contributes from as many people as they did today.

Whether it was JJ Barea (please don't let him turn the corner on a pick and roll) penetrating and scoring, Brendon Bass being in the right spot or Erick Dampier crashing the "O" glass and playing Tim Duncan straight up on "D", the Mavs had all the right answers today.

The Spurs minus Manu Ginobili really struggled to get anything from anyone not named Duncan or Longoria.

I believe that Mavs centre Dampier is the key to this series. While the Mavs allow Dampier to play Duncan straight up, it will be difficult for Spurs like Matt Bonner and Michael Finley to get clean perimeter looks.

Once Dampier gets into foul trouble (it will happen) and the Mavs are forced to double the low post play of Duncan, look for those above mentioned to have an impact on this series.

I'll back the Spurs until Dampier shows he can play back to back good games.

My Prediction: 4-3 Spurs

Portland vs Houston (Rockets lead 1-0) boxscore

If there is a series that I can see being won by the lower seed, than this is it. (Sorry Mookie.)

Playoffs are about experience and the Rockets have more than the youthful Trailblazers.

Yao Ming will show us all why he is a handful and the best centre in the game, while Shane Battier and Ron Artest will wear Brandon Roy down over the series.

Rockets have more at stake in this series to boot. They will be wanting to get themselves out of the first round for the first time in Yao's NBA career while Portland will be gaining valuable experience for years to come.

I do feel a little sorry for Tracey McGrady if the Rockets do advance to the second round. T-Mac himself has never made it out of the first round so I'm sure he will cop a little flack if they win without him.

My Prediction: 4-1 Rockets

Now to tomorrow's games.

LA Lakers vs Utah

I'm a Kobe Bryant fan, so I'm expecting a Lakers win but the Jazz do have me a little nervous.

They have players (Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur) who can get the job done.

Lamar Odom is the key guy for me if the Lakers are to coast through this series. Odom needs to be aggressive so he makes himself a handful for Boozer to defend which will take away from his offensive efficiency.

Kobe will be Kobe and Fisher will make life tough for Williams and Pau Gasol will win the European battle at the centre position. This is why Odum becomes key for the Lakers in this particular match up.

If the Jazz are to put a fair dinkum scare into the Lakers, Andrei Kirilenko needs to come up big. He is the type of player that can have an impact both offensively and defensively for the Jazz.

If Kirilenko is on his game, I can see an upset on the horizon.

My Prediction: 4-1 Lakers

Philadelphia vs Orlando

Andre Miller will run his 76ers ball club with precision but I just cannot buy into the Phila squad due to their lack of consistency.

Although the Magic's Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis are getting over late season injuries, I just feel their depth and experience will be too much.

Don't forget, there is some pressure on Magic pair, All Star Dwight Howard and coach Stan Van Gundy to advance.

My Prediction: 4-2 Magic

Wow, clear the floor and let Joe Johnson and Dwyane Wade go one on one for seven games.

If I'm a Heat fan that's what I'm asking for because Johnson has a few more helpers within his team.

Flip Murray seems to be comfortable in his Hawks jersey and his play reflects this. If Murray can continue with his bench productivity, this will be a huge factor in the Hawks advancing.

This series could remind us of the 80's. High scoring from wire to wire. If only I had access to all the games.

This one is going the distance.

My Prediction: 4-3 Hawks

Denver vs New Orleans

This is about point guards, Chris Paul (Hornets) and Chauncey Billups (Nuggets).

Can the Nuggets control Paul in the open court and pick and roll situations? If they do, the Hornets have very little sting in their offense to compete with the high scoring Nuggets.

If the Hornets can upset Billups' tempo, they give themselves a very good chance at making this a long series. Trouble here is, Billups has been around the block before and he is the one that controls the situation on most occasions.

My money is on Mr Big Shot and the Nuggets. It is time the Nuggets did some damage in the playoffs. Billups is just the guy for this squad to make some noise.

My Prediction: 4-1 Nuggets

This gets the blood pumping for a new season, let alone the NBA Playoffs.


SN said...

Derrick, Chalmers, Brandon, Michael, Tracy McGrady, Williams, Odom, Andrei, Andre, Rashard, Dwyane (strangely).

JR I hope this was intentional for some odd reason.

John Rillie said...

Cheers for that SN and sorry to all those individuals.

I had a Barry, that's all I can say.

Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Can you believe that win by my Bulls is the first ever playoff win over the Celtics?

6 championships and not once did they go through the C's - even in the bad old days - never a playoff win...