Thursday, April 19, 2007
NBA Playoffs coming up!
I have to admit that at heart I am a fan of the roundball above all others. I have a strong basketball background in my family with two of my uncles having played hoops at the Division I college level and growing up as a kid my winters were spent shoveling the snow off of the blacktopped halfcourt in the backyard every time more than a half inch of snow fell on the ground.
My adolescence was during the Doctor/Magic/Larry/Michael days that everyone waxes poetic about today. (And as a Knicks fan during that era, I have a different opinion than most on that issue).
But anyhow, the recent run of Sabres success has turned this former NBA League Pass watching/wild feed satellite searching/staying up till 1:30 am for the Hawks/Clippers tilt hoops nut into a former basketball junkie.
(But again, the wildly inept front office and pathetic on court play of the Knicks going on simultaneously has to be a bit of a factor here as well, doesn't it?)
I guess the point of this rant is that I've watched NBA hoops less in the past season or so than I have in the last quarter century. But gosh darnit, that doesn't mean I'm not gonna put together a preview of this NBA postseason. It might not be of ESPN quality, but I bet I'll be as accurate as they will be, so there! So for the dozen or so NBA diehards who live in the Buffalo area, here goes my NBA playoff preview....
Some intriguing stories are abound in this season's first round(with predictions)....
The Cavs(2) and Wizards(7) meet in a rematch of last season's superb first round matchup. The Wizards appear to be sitting ducks for Lebron James and company with Gilbert Arenas out indefinitely. No Hibachi in this series I'm afraid....
Pick: Cavs in 5
Chicago(5) and Miami(4) is another rematch from last season's first round. How much of a factor will D-Wade's shoulder be for the Heat? Shaq v. Wallace is going to be quite a matchup of two of the East's(the only two??) premier big men. Should make for the best first round series......
Pick: Bulls in 6
Magic(8) v Pistons(1): I'm guessing that Dwight Howard and Grant Hill won't be talking about the second round like McGrady did a couple of years back after going up 3 games to 1 in the series between these two clubs in '03. Never mind, the Pistons won't let that happen against the only NBA playoff team with a losing record.
C-Webb is still in the NBA??...amazing what a change of scenery can do for a player.
Over/Under on Rasheed Wallace technicals in this series(2.5). That's down one thanks to Joey Crawford's banishment by Godfather....ahem....Commisioner Stern.
Pick: Pistons in 4
Nets(6) v. Raptors(3): good ol' Vince Carter is coming back to the ACC to destroy the Raptors seaon. While I like the nice gang of young talent that Brian Colangelo has put together in Toronto(Bosh,Bargniani,et al), something says to me this is going to Jersey....maybe it's just my hatred of the Leaves boiling over.
Pick: Nets in 6
Lakers(7) v. Suns(2): Kobe averages 55 per game in this series, posterizes Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, and Amare Stoudemire in the span of a single game.....and the Suns win in five games at most. Phoenix is just too damn stacked and hell they're so much fun to watch with their uptempo style of ball.
Pick: Suns in 4(not 5 due to my heavy anti-Laker bias)
Warriors(8) v. Mavericks(1): Chris Webber was a rookie, Chris Mullin was in his prime, Tim Hardaway probably still hated gay people and Don Nelson was coach the last time the Warriors made the postseason. Now Mullin is in the front office and after eight different Warrior head coaches since 1994 Nelson is back as the head coach. Combine that with a 3-0 record over the Mavs in the regular season and one might think there's a shot for the Warriors here.
Nah, Nelson will pull some silly schemes out of his a## in a vain attempt to knock off the club he last coached but the Mavs advance in a very entertaining series.
Pick: Mavericks in 7(instead of 5 or 6 due to my heavy pro Chris Mullin bias)
Jazz(4) v Rockets(5)....this series has no shortage of characters here....Yao, T-Mac, Boozer, AK-47, Van Gundy....ok I admit it, I got no clue about either of these two teams....well, John Amaechi did play for both clubs during his career, there's a nugget for you!
Pick: Rockets in 6
Speaking of Nuggets.....
Nuggets(6) v Spurs(3): Forget what I said about the Heat/Bulls series, THIS one will be the most interesting to watch. Have 'Melo and AI jelled as teammates in time for the postseason? And how will they stack up against Tim Duncan/Tony Parker? Does anyone else want to throw down with Duncan? Denver does come in winners of nine of their last ten....
Pick: Spurs in 6
So there ya have it, an informal yet somewhat informed look at the postseason in what I like to call "The True American Sport." And trust me, by the time the first round ends(sometime in mid-June, thank you Commish,NOT!) my picks will probably be about as accurate as all of those "experts" out there.
And remember, Knicks take it all in '08. You heard it here first!