2012 NBA Playoff Predictions [First Round]

The highly-anticipated NBA playoffs tip-off this weekend. The match-ups are set, so let the conversations begin! With games starting tomorrow, here are my playoff predictions.

SATURDAY


CHICAGO BULLS VS. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – This match-up doesn’t intrigue me too much. Love what Doug Collins has done with this Sixers team, and although Iguodala is one of my favorite players in the league, the 76ers don’t stand much of a chance against the Bulls. The only hope Philly fans have is Derrick’s Rose unpredictable play due to injury. 76ers will put up a fight in most games, but I think it will be a Chicago win in 5 games. (Game 1: TNT, 1:00 PM ET)

MIAMI HEAT VS. NEW YORK KNICKS – This one here has my vote for the best match-up of the first round, mostly because we get to see Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James square off at least 4 times in approximately a week. Mike Woodson finally has the Knicks playing at a consistent level, and Tyson Chandler’s defensive leadership will be key come playoff time. New York’s poor point guard play won’t be highlighted too much in this round, but their perimeter defense definitely will be. We know what we’ll get from guys like Melo, Amare, and Chandler, but it’s guys like Landry Fields and J.R. Smith who will determine how long this series goes. Fans can expect lots of intensity, sweat, and maybe even a little blood. I’ll have my NY hat on, but I think the Heat take this in 6, having a bit of trouble in MSG. (Game 1: ABC, 3:30 PM ET)

ORLANDO MAGIC VS. INDIANA PACERS – Can the Pacers just get a bye for this match-up? Why is it even on national tv? The Magic are not a playoff-type team without Dwight Howard, and we’ve seen that in their recent, lackadaisical play. Indiana has been this year’s surprise team, led by coach Frank Vogel, who I feel deserves the Coach of the Year award, and I’ll say say Pacers in 5. (Game 1: ESPN, 7:00 PM ET)

DALLAS MAVERICKS VS. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER – This series is going to be a lot closer than most are expecting- do not underestimate the defending champs, no matter what their record says. Oklahoma is looking to take back what could have been theirs last year. Durant, Nowitzki, Westbrook, Terry, Ibaka, Kidd, Perkins, Carter, Harden… two teams with plenty of notable names are set for a battle royale. Who will advance? I’m saying Thunder in a tough, competitive 6 game series. (Game 1: ESPN, 9:30 PM ET)

SUNDAY


UTAH JAZZ VS. SAN ANTONIO SPURS – I know most aren’t too hyped for this series, but I’m looking forward to seeing a solid front line in Utah go against the balanced attack that is the Spurs. With Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Enes Kanter, and Derrick Favors holding down the paint for Utah, the Jazz have a clear advantage with size; however, where they fall extremely short is in their guard and perimeter player. The Spurs are a great team, and they don’t buckle under pressure. Most importantly, they’re not going to beat themselves with unforced turnovers and failed possessions. Remember, they aren’t last year’s San Antonio team that lost to Memphis in the first round; they’re healthy, rested, and poised for another title run. I’m saying Spurs in 6, only because Utah is pretty tough place to play in. (Game 1: ESPN, 1:00 PM ET)

DENVER NUGGETS VS. LOS ANGELES LAKERS – This series comes down to size vs speed. Okay, size vs speed and depth. The Nuggets are a team filled with B’s and B+’s, no A caliber superstar. Historically, the team with the superstar has the advantage in the playoffs, a reason I still can’t count out Dirk and the Mavs. Denver’s lack of a “go-to” guy will hurt them down the stretch. Bynum has been beast, Gasol is always reliable, and Kobe is Kobe. The Nuggets are a solid team, however, and who doesn’t want to see JaVale McGee on the NBA’s biggest stage? Lakers in 6. (Game 1: ABC, 3:30 PM ET)

BOSTON CELTICS VS. ATLANTA HAWKS – This series would have been a lot different if Al Horford had in fact come back. This won’t be too exciting of a series, with each game having a grind-it-out type feel. I see Boston taking it in 5. (Game 1: TNT, 7:00 PM ET)

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS VS. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES –  I think I’m a bit over-excited for this series. I can’t wait for the Grizzlies to send the Clippers and all the bandwagon fans home. If you’re one of the few legitimate Clippers fans, my apologies, both for my statement and for being attached to that team. All bias aside, this series goes 6 or 7, no doubt.  The Grizzlies scare every team in the West, and match-ups wise, stack up quite well against the Clippers. They can put Tony Allen on Chris Paul in case he starts taking over, and they have the size down low in Marc Gasol, Marreese Speights, and Zach Randolph to contain Blake Griffin.  The Clippers losing home-court advantage will play part, and I think the Grizzlies take this in 7. This will be a  career-defining moment for Blake Griffin- will he be able to elevate his game for the occasion? (Game 1: TNT, 9:30 PM ET)

Just like first rounds in the past, we’ve got some really exciting series’ and a couple that are nothing to write home about. The NBA Playoffs are here … can’t wait!

—–

Posted on Bleacher Report

Advertisements