April 15, 2011

NBA Playoff Predictions

    Now that the NBA season is over, it is time for the most exiting part of the NBA season to me, the Playoffs! Before we start my predictions, lets look back at how I did from my pre-season predictions.

    In the Eastern Conference, all the divisions I predicted very well. The Atlantic and Southeast divisions I was close to perfect, but I had two teams one spot higher and one spot lower then where they actually finished. In the Central, I had the Bucks at number two, Pistons at three, and Pacers at four. Yet the Pacers finished second, Bucks third, and Pistons fourth.

    I did great in my Eastern playoff predictions. I had seven of the eight teams I picked to make the playoffs, make it to the playoffs. The odd team out is the Milwaukee Bucks who were a disappointing team this year, and instead the Pacers took that spot. The seeding was well chosen too, as all teams had the correct seed or were one spot away. The exemptions were the Magic and Knicks, who were two spots away, and the Bulls who were three.

   As for the Western Conference, things did not go to well. I did a poor job in predicting the Southwest and Northwest divisions. I did predict the division winners correctly at least. The Pacific division was better, but not as good as any of the Eastern divisions. I predicted the Lakers and Suns at one and two respectively, and that played through. The fault though was that I had the Kings at number three and Warriors at five. If I had those teams flipped, I would have had a completely perfect division.

    For the Western playoffs, I only correctly predicted five of the eight teams. This being the Lakers, Spurs, Mavericks, Thunder, and Trail Blazers. I would like to add though that the other three teams I had in the playoffs were the last three teams to not get in. For seeding, the five teams I had in the playoffs were very close to their real seed. Except the Trail Blazers, who were three seeds off. Besides the Trail Blazers, the three teams i did not have in the playoffs held one of the bottom four seeds.

    So overall, I would say I did pretty good. Especially in the East. Now though, lets look at my playoff predictions for the real playoffs. And please remember, I still stand by my pre-season playoff predictions, and can only be held accountable for those predictions.


Round 1:

1-Chicago Bulls over 8-Indiana Pacers, 4-0

    Bulls have not been a number one seed for a long time. But they are a determined team and Derrick Rose is the best point guard in the NBA. Bulls dominate Pacers and finish with a quick sweep.

Dwight Howard, Magic
5-Atlanta Hawks over 4-Orlando Magic, 4-2

    Orlando has looked weak at times this season and always has seemed to lose the games against talented teams as of late. Atlanta is tired of being bounced by the Magic the last two years, and makes sure it does not happen again. Atlanta will win the first two in Orlando and go up 2-0, which will lead to a series win due to the strong start. 

3-Boston Celtics over 6-New York Knicks, 4-2

    A great series here as New York will give Boston more then they expect. But Carmelo has never had much playoff success, and Amare Stoudemire has never had any as the leader. Boston has the experience which will lead to the win.

2-Miami Heat over 7-Philadelphia 76ers, 4-3

Dwayne Wade, Heat
    This is hard because I think the Heat will struggle and barley pull out the first series or two, much like the Celtics in their first year together in 2008, as they went to seven with Atlanta. Yet the 76ers have little playoff experience. But neither did Atlanta in 2008. So Heat win in seven, but only due to this being the first playoff series for the Big three.
Eastern Conference Semis:

1-Chicago Bulls over 5-Atlanta Hawks, 4-2

Ray Allen, Celtics
    Bulls keep rolling, and Rose is playing like the MVP he is. Hawks put up a fight, but Bulls are a better team when it comes down to it.

3-Boston Celtics over 2-Miami Heat, 4-3

    Miami and Boston put on the best series in the playoffs, of hard fought, really rough play. Many technicals and lots of shoves. The Celtics are lucky the heat don't have two great big men now that Kendrick Perkins is gone. But at least there wont be as many technicals. And its not like Bosh is that good anyway. Celtics pull win and LeBron still has no ring.

Eastern Conference Championship:

3-Boston Celtics over 1-Chicago Bulls 

    Once again, experience pulls the Celtics through as it has many times before. Celtics reach Finals for third time in four years, hoping to win one more ring. But Bulls will be much better next year, and have a great shot at getting that title.

Western Conference

Round 1:

Tim Duncan, Spurs
1-San Antonio Spurs over 8-Memphis Grizzlies, 4-1

    Spurs are just to good. Even if Manu Ginobli does not play, Spurs still win this series. Grizzlies are on the right track to getting better. Yet they are still missing that one piece. Even one more good player could help this team. The Pistons were a team with only good but not great players in 2004, and they one a championship... but in 2011, Spurs win.

4-Oklahoma City Thunder over 5-Denver Nuggets, 4-3


Brandon Roy, Trail Blazers
6-Portland Trail Blazers over 3-Dallas Mavericks, 4-3

    Tough series here and hard to predict. Could go any way. But I think Portland pulls the upset. The difference maker? Gerald Wallace. He brings the tough mentality the Trail Blazers need to be better. He adds the extra piece to Portland. And that is why Portland sneaks out of this series with the 4-3 advantage.

2-Los Angeles Lakers over 7-New Orleans Hornets, 4-1

    The Hornets have Chris Paul back which is what kept them out of the playoffs last season. But their playing the Lakers. And there is no way the Lakers loose in round one. Not a chance. New Orleans gets one win late in the series, but LA takes this one easily.

Conference Semis:

1-San Antonio Spurs over 4-Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-2

Kevin Durant, Thunder
    In my pre-season predictions, I had the Spurs going to the Western Conference Finals. I still think they will. Many people did not have them having the same amount of success. I did and that was one thing that I did very well on. In this series the Spurs play at a higher level then the Thunder, who have the least amount of playoff experience of anyone in the west besides Memphis. Spurs win this series. The only reason I see that would let Oklahoma City win is if Manu Ginobli still is not healthy. 

2-Los Angeles Lakers over 6-Portland Trail Blazers, 4-2

    The Lakers have dominated Portland year after year. Except when they play in Portland. The Lakers are just too good. Portland squeaks out one or two wins in Portland, but Lakers dominate this series. Kobe will play at a high level, but I think the biggest difference maker I think will be Pau Gasol in the paint.

Conference Championship:

2-Los Angeles Lakers over 1-San Antonio Spurs, 4-3

Lamar Odom, Lakers
    The Spurs and Lakers are the best two teams in the West no question. Yet I still think the Lakers are the better team. Kobe Bryant has made it a mission to win six championships like Michael Jordan. This year would be #6. Assuming my prediction is correct as to the Celtics making it from the East, Shaquille O'neal would win his fifth ring. Bryant knows this is such a big deal and will make sure his team wins their third championship in a row. 

NBA Finals: 

3-Boston Celtics over 2- Los Angeles Lakers, 4-3

Garnett in 2008
    I hate to see it as much as anyone. The Lakers and Celtics are both back in the Finals. Again. Its boring. Nothing changes. But the NBA has always kind of been that way. So here we go again. Lakers and Celtics. The good news is that I see a very good, very hard fought series here that goes to seven games. But I think the Celtics pull one out and the original big three wins one more ring. Lakers come close, and almost win. But the Celtics will play like they did in 2008 against the Lakers and win. However I still could see the Lakers winning this one. But because I have to pick one winner, the Boston Celtics win the 2011 NBA Finals.

    The good news is that both teams are aging. Next season I don't think we will see either of these teams in the Finals. The Bulls, Thunder, Knicks, and Heat will have a great shot. The Celtics are old and the window of greatness is closing fast. The Lakers are going down too, just not as fast at Boston. 

    If I were the Celtics, I would start to transition, so that I do not have a long stretch of mediocrity. Build the team around Rajon Rondo. Sign a huge, young free agent. Try to trade for a lottery pick and get a top-5 talent. Because if they wait to long and rely on Garnett, Pierce and Allen, they will have a long stretch of bad years. Rajon Rondo is not going to carry this team to the Finals. He is no LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. Let Allen go, and mentor young guys with Garnett and Pierce. Then they will not skip a beat and keep on winning. But if they do not do something fast, this will be the Celtics last Championship for a long time.

Boston Celtics, 2011 NBA Champions

MVP: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

Defensive Player of Year: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Most Improved Player: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

Rookie Of Year: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

6th Man:  Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers

Coach of Year: Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls

MVP Derrick Rose, Bulls
    So there you have it, my 2011 NBA Playoff predictions. I hope you enjoy them and I am exited to get the games started! Thanks for reading!


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