All right, taking a break from some of the heavier shit discussed earlier this week, let’s have some fun and look at this year’s NBA Playoffs.
Much as I write an annual MLB Preview to my buddy Matt, every April my buddy Josh and I write each other predictions for what’s going to happen in the NBA Playoffs. Basketball is, on the whole, a lot more predictable than baseball, so this isn’t quite the exercise in dart-throwing that an MLB preview is. In basketball (spoiler alert), the team with the best player usually wins. But this gives me a chance to talk about one of my favorite sporting events (even if you’re pretty sure of the outcome, the NBA playoffs are full of drama).
Before I get started, a note on my biases: As a kid in New York, I grew up watching the Patrick Ewing Knicks. And living in the Bay the last few years, I developed an affection for the Warriors–in particular since Steph Curry made the leap and became the best shooter in the history of the NBA this year. I root unabashedly for those two teams. Also, I hate the fucking Lakers with the fury of a thousand suns. On to the picks:
Miami over Milwaukee 4-0. There might be one game that’s close, if Monta Ellis goes nuts. Maybe. Probably not.
New York over Boston 4-2. The Celtics will play the Knicks tough, but with all of the Celtics’ injuries, there’s a pretty big talent gap between the teams right now, and I see J.R. Smith and the Knicks giving the Celtics the pipe.
Indiana over Atlanta 4-2. No one cares about this series. Seriously, does anyone care about this series? Anyone? Bueller?
Brooklyn over Chicago 4-3. Look, I live in Brooklyn. In a basement, in case you haven’t heard. I love Brooklyn. Add to that: My buddy Matt is a huge Bulls fan, booster of all things Chicago, and hater of all things New York, and he and I love talking shit to each other. If Bulls-Knicks had happened, the comment thread on this post would have gotten ugly quick. But I can’t bring myself to care about this Nets team. The only thing that would have made this series compelling would have been Derrick Rose vs. Deron Williams. Get well soon, D-Rose; basketball fans miss you.
Miami over Brooklyn 4-0. Maybe the Nets win a game … but nah, probably not.
New York over Indiana 4-3. A nice, old-fashioned Eastern Conference Playoff war. Pacers are tough, but I think Game 7 at the Garden makes the difference for the Knicks.
Miami over New York 4-2. The games will be competitive. I say the Knicks get one win because of the Garden crowd and one win because of a 45-point ‘Melo supernova … but Miami’s too strong.
OKC over Houston 4-0: Woohoo! The Lakers rallying to beat the Rockets on Wednesday night gave us our much hoped for OKC-Houston-James Harden-Revenge Series. Except the Rockets have looked bad the last couple of weeks, and Harden looks tired. Sadly, I think this series will fall short of expectations.
San Antonio over LA Lakers 4-1: I think the Spurs are the one team the Lakers have a legit shot at in the first round, because San Antonio can’t run them off the court the way OKC or Denver could. Well, except Tony Parker. He can run them off the court, and he will, because with no Nash and no Kobe, the Lakers have the worst backcourt in the NBA
Denver over Golden State 4-1: I really, really want to believe that the Dubs can test the Nuggets. But Denver has handled the GSWs fairly easily this year, the Dubs don’t have anyone who can check Lawson, and the Nuggets have a huge, huge homecourt advantage playing at altitude. As much as I’d like to see Steph Curry go nuclear, I think Iguodala will make life tough for him and Denver will win in five.
LA Clipper over Memphis 4-3. This is going to be a seven game war that goes down to the last posession of the final game. I really like Memphis and wouldn’t be surprised if they win, but I’ll take Chris Paul in the fourth quarter of an elimination game.
OKC over LA Clippers 4-1: I think the games will be closer than the five game result would indicate, but I like Durant to hit the big shots when it matters most.
San Antonio over Denver 4-2. I’d love to see Denver knock off the Spurs, but San Antonio has too much veteran smarts, and Tony Parker can neutralize Ty Lawson. A seven game series would not shock me, though.
OKC over San Antonio 4-2. The difference from last year is that the Thunder won’t have to rally from a 2-0 deficit.
Miami over OKC 4-2. Miami is better this year, and OKC, without Harden, is a little bit worse. I’m saying six games because of my respect for Durant, but LeBron James is the best player since Michael Jordan, and this is his time.