I’ve been saying for the past several months that I really don’t care about this year’s NBA season.  Nothing that I’ve seen during this shortened and condensed season has done anything to change my mind. 

The opportunity for this league to place itself back on the top of the list of leagues with integrity was so badly squandered by both sides of the battle (players and ownership) that I just haven’t been able to pretend that I cared about this season’s outcome. 

Having said that, I feel that I should at least include my thoughts on the playoffs, if nothing else but to satisfy the fans that have asked me to do so.  After all, the fans are who I direct this blog to, not the athletes or the owners. 

I haven’t really made it a big secret that I believe there are only a handful of teams that have a prayer to win the championship this year.  The following projections don’t sway from that mindset.  Since I feel so strongly about this, I will go ahead and take the playoff projections all the way to the final round. 

First Round: 

Eastern Conference 

#8 Philadelphia 76ers vs. #1 Chicago Bulls – This should be no contest, regardless of how the Sixers finished the season.  Even without Rose, the Bulls should walk away with this one unscathed.  Bulls 4-0. 

#7 New York Knicks vs. #2 Miami Heat —   On paper, this should be another blowout.  But until the mighty Heat can prove they are who they claim to be, they will not get my unwavering respect.  They’ll still win the series, but they’ll have to earn it.  Heat 4-2. 

#6 Orlando Magic vs. #3 Indiana Pacers – There has been way too much turmoil within the locker room and the board room for the Magic to think they can go far in the playoffs.  The Pacers are too physically tough to lose more than one or two games in a seven games series with Orlando.  Pacers 4-2. 

#5 Atlanta Hawks vs. #4 Boston Celtics – This one is tough to call.  Both teams have shown glimpses of brilliance, along with glimpses of the polar opposite, to be able to clearly identify one as the obvious choice.  I’ll go with the healthier Hawks to win the series.  Hawks 4-2. 

Western Conference 

#8 Utah Jazz vs. #1 San Antonio Spurs – The Jazz had to pretty much win out during the last two weeks of the regular season, just to get the opportunity to get destroyed in the first round.  San Antonio will not let them down.  Spurs 4-1. 

#7 Dallas Mavericks vs. #2 Oklahoma City Thunder – I have been watching the Thunder for the past three years, as they have patiently built themselves into a team to be reckoned with for the next decade.  They are nearly there, but have been unfortunate enough to get a playoff savvy team in the first round.  Forget that the Mavericks struggled just to make the playoffs this year.  Once in, they are tough to beat.  Still, I’ve got to go with the talent.  Thunder 4-3. 

#6 Denver Nuggets vs. #3 Los Angeles Lakers – I really like the Nuggets in this series.  I think they have all of the ingredients to give the Lakers fits and even, possibly steal the series.  The Lakers need to finish them off quickly.  If it goes seven games, look for the Nuggets.  Lakers 4-2. 

#5 Los Angeles Clippers vs. #4 Memphis Grizzlies – The Clippers had the chance to win their division and get have home court advantage in the first round, but they let it slip away.  They may pay for it, as the Grizzlies will match up against them well.  This should be a hard fought series, but I’m going LA.  Clippers 4-3. 

Second Round: 

Eastern Conference 

Chicago Bulls over the Atlanta Hawks in five.  There is just too much of a difference in the talent level between these two teams.  The Bulls are one of only two teams from the Eastern Conference that could possibly reach the finals. 

Miami Heat over the Indian Pacers in five.  After a first round scare by the Knicks, Miami will come out blazing, which is not good news for the Pacers, who will not have the guns to keep up with the Heat in a seven game series. 

Western Conference 

San Antonio Spurs over the Los Angeles Clippers in six.  The Clippers will give them a good battle, but the Spurs have the perfect mixture of well-rested veterans that have been here many times before and youth that has been able to play quite a bit during the season.  The Clippers are still a year or two away from being serious contenders. 

Oklahoma City Thunder over the Los Angeles Lakers in seven.  Just as the Clippers are on their way up, the Lakers are in danger of being on their way down.  The off-season will be a very important one for that organization.  It begins after round two. 

Conference Finals: 

Eastern Conference 

Miami Heat over the Chicago Bulls in seven.  Although the Bulls have a lot of talent and will be battling the Heat for the next several years, this may be the year for Miami to actually finish the job. 

San Antonio Spurs over the Oklahoma City Thunder in seven.  Pretty much the same story here.  The Thunder will eventually take over this conference (probably next year), but the Spurs are still the top dogs. 

NBA Championship: 

Miami Heat over the San Antonio Spurs in six.  I think the Heat will put it all together this time.  But if anyone can beat them, it is the Spurs, so they need to stay focused and finish what they start.  If not, look for the Spurs to bring this one home.

So there you have it.  The entire playoff picture laid out for you.  I’m sure there will be a lot of disagreement with my picks.  Let me know what you think and who you are picking to go all the way.  I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say!



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