Sunday, April 12, 2009

Playoff Bracket

Robert Kivell

Here is my predictions for May Madness in the NBA.

1st Round

(1) Cavs over (8) Pistons in four games.  

Too much Lebron in this series.  The Pistons were not that great after the Billups-Iverson trade this season, and I do not think they can scratch out a game against the Pistons without Iverson in the lineup.

(2) Celtics over (7) Bulls in six games.

The Bulls have been playing extremely well since the aquisitions of John Salmons and Brad Miller.  Similarly to the Hawks of last year, the Bulls have a young team that is very good at home.  I think the Bulls will give the Celts a little trouble, but in the end Boston will prevail.

(6) 76ers over (3) Magic in six games 

The Magic just are not playing playoff basketball right now.  Back to back losses to the lowly Knicks and Nets knocked them out of contention for the second spot in the East.  I like the sixers to catch Dwight Howard off guard and upset them in six games.

(4) Hawks over (5) Heat in seven games

Two words, home court.  The Hawks have been nearly unbeatable this year at home posting 30 wins at Phillips arena with one more to go.  The Tuesday matchup between these two teams should give us some insight into who will win the matchup next week.

(1) Lakers over (8) Jazz in five games

The Lakers are the better team here.  The Jazz are very good at home, so I think they can steal one on their home court, but this series is going to be won by the Lakers

(2) Nuggets over (7) Mavericks in five games

Like the Jazz, I think the Mavs can win one on their homecourt, but the Nuggets are clearly the better team.  The addition of Chauncey Billups earlier in the year has been the best move by a GM in the lasta 365 days.  Too much Billups and too much Melo in this series for Dirk and the Mavs to handle.

(3) Blazers over (6) Hornets in six games

Chris Paul is the best PG in the league, but his supporting cast is not as good as it was last year.  Tyson Chandler is banged up and David West is not the same.  James Posey was a nice addition to the rotation, but Brandon Roy and the Blazers have way too much depth.  

(5) San Antonio over (4) Rockets in six games

Even without Manu Ginobli I like the Spurs in this series.  Tony Parker can take over a game whenever he wants and Duncan will be able to neutralize Yao.  Although it would be comical if T-Mac's team finally won a playoff series without him, I do not see it happening.

Second Round

(1) Cavs over (4) Hawks in six games

Again I have two words to explain the outcome of a Hawks playoff series, home court.  The Hawks have given the Cavs fits in Atlanta this year winning their first meeting back in December and then losing by one in March.  The Cavs will win the first two games in this series, lose the next two, and then go on to win games five and six.

(2) Celtics over (6) Sixers in five games

The Celtics will have received a little scare from the Bulls and round one and will get straight to business in this series.  KG will be completely back in the rotation and the "Thad-less" Sixers will not have enough to overcome The Boston Three Party (and Rondo).

(1) Lakers over (5) Spurs in four games

Without Manu the Spurs cannot matchup against Kobe and the Lakers.  Bryant, Gasol, Odom, and Bynum will be too much for Parker and Duncan.  After somewhat of an upset in round one, the Spurs will fall quickly in round two.

(3) Blazers over (2) Nuggets in six games

Brandon Roy will lead the Blazers to their first Western Conference finals since the 90's and Clyde Drexler.  Greg Oden will score zero (0) points in this series, but Aldridge will be too much  of a presence in the frontcourt.  Denver falls in a tough series to the young, up and coming team in the West.

Conference Finals

(1) Cavaliers over (2) Celtics in five games

After today's 31 point beat down of the Celtics the Cavs proved that they are in fact the superior team.  Lebron James scores 30 a game in this series and the Cavs dominate KG, Pierce, and the Celtics en route to a four-one series win.

(3) Blazers over (1) Lakers in seven games

It all comes down to the last possession of game seven.  Blazers up by 1 with 15 seconds to go and the Lakers come up court.  10 seconds, 9, 8, 7, 6, Kobe drives, 5, 4, 3, puts up the layup, 2, its no good, 1, Bynum tips it up, 0, its good!!!! Lakers win!

Correction: (1) Lakers over (3) Blazers in seven games    [Gotcha at first didn't I]


Game 1: Cavs 98, Lakers 92
The Lakers Game Seven miracle did not last very long.  Lebron and the Cavs jumped out to a 14 point lead at halftime.  Kobe has a big second half to pull the Lakers within three late, but a three by Mo Williams pushes the Cavs up by 6 with 20 seconds to go and the Cavs go up 1-0.

Games 2: Cavs 101, Lakers 83
The Lakers worse lose all year was by seventeen to the Blazers.  The Cavs hope to one up the number of games the Blazers won against Kobe and the Lakers, and one up'ed them in this game.  Lebron goes for 40 10 and 8 and the Cavs dominate from the start

Game 3: Lakers 87, Cavs 86
The Lakers finally got to control the tempo and it paid off.  King James misses a three as time expires and the Lakers hold on to win a crucial, must-win game three

Game 4:  Cavs 99, Lakers 95
Things do not look too bright for the Lakers after Lebron James tears up Kobe for 55 points.  Bryant has a very good game too, 35 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lakers head back to Ohio down 3-1 knowing they must win three straight against a team that never lost more than two games all season if they want to be league champions.

Game 5: Lakers 101, Cavs 79
There is life for the Lakers.  Kobe comes out determined to shut down Lebron, and does.  James is held to 15 points, shooting only 25% from the field as the Lakers coast to a win on the Cavs home floor.

Game 6: Cavs 114, Lakers 88
Just like last year against the Celtics, the Lakers fall big in game six, this time losing by 26.  Lebron was back to his old self scoring 30 points and the Cavs are NBA CHAMPIONS.

MVP: Lebron James  

Playoff Brackets

By Josh Sperber

The seeds are basically set in stone, so NBA's version of March Madness can start

Eastern Conference
Cavs over Pistons (4)
Pistons are not great this year, the Cavs are on fire, and LeBron James will have an easy time on Rip, Prince or anyone the Pistons throw at him

Celtics over Bulls (5)
Shaky playoffs last year are gone, especially after clutch performances in the Eastern Conference and NBA finals.  A hobbling KG might hurt a bit, but the bulls have no answers for Pierce and Allen and Rondo should be able to keep Rose in check

Magic over 6ers (5)
Orlando may be on a downward spiral, but few centers in the game can play with Dwight Howard, who will outmuscle Dalembert.  With enough rest, Turkoglu will be back for the Playoffs, and even without him, Rashard Lewis will help out in scoring to combat Iguodala, but a healthy Turkoglu would seal the deal.

Heat over Hawks (6)
Two words, Dwyane Wade.  The size of Joe Johnson means nothing since Wade is a 6'3-6'5 superstar who can do it all.  Wade can come up big on either side of the court at any time. 

Cavs over Heat (5)
LeBron James can do whatever Wade can, but the King is bigger, stronger, and just as fast as (if not faster than) Wade.  The Cavs better bench will overpower the Heat's bench

Celtics over Magic (6)
Garnett will be able to slow Howard down enough so Pierce, Allen and Rondo can takeover.  Pierce and Allen are faster and more experienced in the playoffs than Turkoglu and Lewis in the playoffs, and Rondo will prove that he deserved the All-Star Game more than Nelson

Cavs over Celtics (7)
The Cavs are on fire right now, and the Celtics in last years playoffs were helped by James Posey, now a Hornet, because Posey slowed down LeBron enough so Pierce could lead the Celtics.  A sweet revenge will send LeBron to the Finals his 2nd time ever

Western Conference
Lakers over Jazz (4)
No team in the league has an answer for Kobe, except maybe the Cavs.  This will be a quick and easy series for LA

Nuggets over Mavs (5)
Billups has done a lot for Denver, and old Nets-Pistons playoff games were too long ago for Kidd to repeat his past success against Billups

Hornets over Rockets (7)
A gutsy pick, but Chandler can handle Yao, Posey can handle McGrady, but nobody can handle Paul.  Paul and West will be a formidable duo, and McGrady's playoff woes will continue

Spurs over Blazers (6)
Experience will be key here.  Oden is not yet good enough to handle Duncan, and the Spurs bench will help Duncan as Parker and Roy cancel each other out

Lakers over Spurs (6)
A typical Western Conference 2nd or 3rd round battle.  Again, Kobe will do what he does best to cancel out Duncan's dominance of Pao, and Odom will be too big for Bowen, Finley or Manu

Hornets over Nuggets (7)
Paul will use his age to his advantage as he runs circles around Billups.  Chandler will stop Camby, Posey will stop Melo, and West will beat Martin, that should be enough in this close series

Lakers over Hornets (5)
The Hornets will be too worn out to play with the best team in the NBA right now, Paul will take advantge of Fisher, but Kobe will make that meaningless

Lakers over Cavs (6)
The Cavs will be better than they showed in the Lakers double-digit season sweep of them, but Kobe will outplay LeBron and Kobe's better backup crew will prevail