It’s time for the NBA playoffs and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Baseball’s just warming up & a few months from warranting paying attention to it. Only thing popping off with football is the draft & spring practices in college. Hockey’s playoffs have begun, but you can’t even find those games on TV if you wanted to. The Lakers appear to be in prime position to repeat, but there are capable teams in both conferences standing in the wings & waiting to take it off their hands. Which makes the NBA playoffs the hot ticket, the intensity picks as the O’Brien trophy is the ultimate prize.
For all the flack that LeBron received about sitting out a few meaningless late regular season games, it looks like a couple of other teams may been wise to follow his lead. It’s one thing to try to better your playoff seed but you have to remember that it doesn’t matter if your not around for playoffs period. It’s a shame they happened, but the show must go on. Check out how we see things playing out.
Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls split the regular season series with the Cavs, but they won those games by the skin of their teeth. It doesn’t help that LeBron wasn’t playing in their last match up a little over a week ago resulting in a one point dub for Chicago. You’ve also got to factor the team reacquainting themselves with Shaquille O’Neal back in the lineup. The Bulls are scrappy but you have to be smoking crack if you expect them to win. Derrick Rose will put up impressive numbers, but only in consolation to a far more superior squad. The John Paxson/Vinny Del Negro not-fight was probably more competitive than what’s offered here.
Atlanta Hawks Vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Even with Andrew Bogut, this Hawks team is too good for scrappy Milwaukee. Without him, it should be a cakewalk due to the Hawks depth and quickness. Plus when you have a guy who can come off the bench and drop 25 in a moments notice, Jamal Crawford, that always helps too. The Bucks can get one or two because Atlanta isn’t the best road team and that’s been their Achilles heal throughout their regular season campaign.
Boston Celtics Vs. Miami Heat
Flash notwithstanding, Miami doesn’t square up well with Boston’s squad down the stretch. The Celtics have too many weapons and they’re a superior defensive team as well. Ripe for an upset they’ve lucked out by drawing Miami in round one, as their still potent D should be able to contain D-Wade and co.
Boston as a team has relied on the fact that they’ll be able to turn it on once the playoffs start. But when (& if) they turn it on, you’ve still a team that’s a shell of its former self. If Wade’s teammates can help keep the games close, he’s more than capable of taking over to close games out.
MZ — Heat in 6
Denver Nuggets Vs. Utah Jazz
Injuries to Kirilenko & to a lesser extent Boozer, will make this a much easier match-up for Denver. Which is good because they’re a team that’s recovering from injuries & Coach Karl’s cancer. As long as the Nuggets get A-game performances from Melo, Chauncey & Smith, they shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Jazz.