For the Love of the Game: A little late on this, but I promise the outcomes of Day 1 aren’t changing the predictions I had in mind prior to the start of the post-season. Anyways, here goes:
Chicago Bulls (1) vs. Indiana Pacers (8)
Season series: Bulls 3 - Pacers 1
The Bulls should have no problem in what I believe will be the only sweep in the playoffs. The Pacers are young and just aren’t ready for this level of the game, they are going to be run out of the gym by MVP Derrick Rose and co. Not even close. That being said, now that game 1 is over I can easily say that I’m surprised at the effort the Pacers brought out onto the court, still however, I can see the Bulls not taking anymore chances and blowing them out from here onwards.
Prediction: Bulls 4 - Pacers 0
X-Factor(s): Granger’s heat check, Derrick Rose is the beast of the east
Miami Heat (2) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (7)
Season series: Heat 3 - 76ers 0
That record should be taken with a grain of salt as the Sixers have managed to put up more than a fight in their meetings. The young gunners from Philadelphia bring a lot of energy onto the floor, work well in transition and have their fair share of depth on the bench, which is more than I can say for Miami. Although a date with the Celtics would have been a “better” matchup for the Sixers, now facing an even better transition team, the Heat should be able to take this series, although let’s not count out Philadelphia just yet.
Prediction: Heat 4 - 76ers 2
X-Factor(s): Heat’s transition game > 76ers’
Boston Celtics (3) vs. New York Knicks (6)
Season series: Celtics 4 - Knicks 0
Another deceptively looking season series, this has all the makings of a nitty, gritty and dirty seven gamer. The Knicks are yearning to prove that the Melo trade was worth it and with Mr. Big Shot well in his comfort zone come the post-season, the Celtics should have their work cut out for them. The defending eastern conference champs have been through this before and are definitely no strangers for 1st round seven game series’, like Bryant, Garnett and co. won’t let an early exit happen.
Prediction: Celtics 4 - Knicks 3
X-Factor(s): Celtics’ physical play will overpower the Knicks
Orlando Magic (4) vs. Atlanta Hawks (5)
Season series: Hawks 3 - Magic 1
Although the Hawks have sputtered and limped into the post-season, it seems the Magic bring out the best in them. Despite the season series record between the two, it is the Magic that many believe will be coming out on top no problem, and I agree. However, I feel this certainly won’t be a cake walk for the Magic, I believe this series will be going the distance. The one thing the Magic outmatch the Hawks in other than Mr. Howard is their perennial game from behind the arc, and that will be the driving force that pushes Orlando into the second round.
Prediction: Magic 4 - Hawks 3
X-Factor(s): Orlando’s 3-ball
Chicago Bulls (1) vs. Orlando Magic (4)
Season series: Bulls 3 - Magic 1
When 2 MVP candidates clash in the post-season, more often than not it’s going to make for great entertainment, and this case is no different. These two teams matchup great although I feel that this is where Noah elevates his game and puts a hurting on Dwight Howard. Rose does his thing and the Bulls fly into the conference finals.
Prediction: Bulls 4 - Magic 2
X-Factor(s): Noah’s defense on Howard
Miami Heat (2) vs. Boston Celtics (3)
Season series: Heat 1 - Celtics 3
Yet another clash of powerhouses, LeBron James and co. will be put to the test in this one. Has James overcome his post-season woes? Will he step-up in the clutch? Or will he disappear yet again, this series has more on the line than simple championship hopes. I also honestly don’t believe that these three stars in Wade, Bosh and LeBron can carry a team to 16 wins in the post-season, I just don’t see them making it all the way, that’s a lot of work for three players, even if they are out of this world talents. Pitting villain vs. villain in LBJ and Garnett, only the baddest of the bad will make it through, and in my opinion, you don’t get any “badder” than the Boston Celtics.
Prediction: Celtics 4 - Heat 2
X-Factor(s): Fatigue on the Heat’s big three, Celtics’ bench
Chicago Bulls (1) vs. Boston Celtics (3)
Season series: Bulls 2 - Celtics 2
Derrick Rose has come a long way this season, and so have the Chicago Bulls, but are they ready to make that jump into Finals territory? While the Celtics have been in this situation countless times, they know what to do and how to do it. Simply put, that’s what is going to push Boston over Chicago in this series. Might sound ridiculous to put experience over raw athleticism and talent, but it’s a philosophy that any champion knows and respects. No doubt the Bulls are for real, and will I be surprised to see them in the Finals? Absolutely not, but I can’t deny another Lakers Celtics NBA Finals showdown.
Prediction: Celtics 4 - Bulls 3
X-Factor(s): Boston’s experience
Eastern Conference Champions: Boston Celtics
That’s all there is to my predictions, tried to keep it simple, nothing too in depth, most people just want to see the numbers anyway, but if you cared enough to read through it, then I am truly grateful to you! Thanks a bunch, might write a Finals prediction, but basically I just have the Lakers coming out on top of the Celtics in seven, could there be any other way?