CFC NBA Playoffs Round 1 Preview

Ah, it’s playoff time. It’s always a good time in any sport during the playoffs, but this year’s NBA playoffs seem even more exciting. Maybe it’s because of the shortened season or maybe it’s because there’s several teams who have a really good shot at winning this. Regardless of the reason, I’m excited for the games which start a couple hours from now. Here’s my Playoffs round 1 predictions, starting with the Eastern Conference.

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (8) Philadelphia 76’ers.

The Bulls are getting back Derrick Rose and get a nice warmup for him. Arguably the coldest team to still make the playoffs, the 76’ers barely made it into the playoffs. They play good defense but their offense has been awful in the second half which doesn’t work well against Chicago, who has one of the best defenses in the league. I think the 76’ers may be able to grab one game but that’s about all.

Prediction: Bulls in 5

(2) Miami Heat vs. (7) New York Knicks

Oh man, this is going to be fun. I said earlier this week that the Knicks should have tanked and played for the 8th seed, but they won both games and ended up in this first round matchup with the Heat. Either way, I think they’re going to make a great series out of it and it’s going to be the most exciting one we see. Carmelo Anthony has been ridiculously good in the month of April and will have to continue that into the playoffs for the Knicks to have a chance. The Knicks have the better bench but I’m not sure if it’s enough to overcome LeBron and Wade.

Prediction: Heat in 7

(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Orlando Magic

With Dwight Howard, this is probably a pretty good matchup. A matchup that the Magic may even be able to win. Without Dwight Howard though, the Magic don’t stand a chance. I don’t think that the Pacers are a real contender in the East, but I have them getting the easy sweep here in the first round.

Prediction: Pacers in 4

(4) Boston Celtics vs. (5) Atlanta Hawks

I’m not sure how entertaining it will be, but I think this is going to be a close series. The Celtics may be without Ray Allen for some of the series but that probably won’t be a huge problem because they can plug Avery Bradley into their starting lineup. For the Hawks they will be able to stay in this series due to the play of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, who is playing some of the best basketball he ever has. Also playing well though, is Kevin Garnett who looks rejuvenated after they got off to a slow start. The Celtics looked like they were done earlier this year but now I have them winning a first round series.

Prediction: Celtics in 6

WESTERN CONFERENCEĀ 

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Utah Jazz

The Spurs came into the playoffs last year as a number 1 seed, although they were banged up. As you know, they would eventually lose to the Memphis Grizzlies. This year they’re looking to avoid the same fate which I think they will. Utah will be a tough matchup with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap having size on the Spurs. The Spurs are going to have to get something out of Boris Diaw in order to be able to stop Jefferson and Millsap. It’ll be a tough first round matchup, but I think the Spurs do eventually pull it out.

Prediction: Spurs in 6

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks

Last year, the Mavericks came into the playoffs as a 3 seed and ended up winning the championship on the back of Dirk Nowitzki. During that run, they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. This year, entering as a 7 seed, they are going to need an even greater performance from Dirk in order to pass the Thunder in the first. The Thunder may be without James Harden for some of the season, but I still see them getting the job done.

Prediction: Thunder in 6

(3) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (6) Denver Nuggets

The Lakers, a lot like the Spurs, had a disappointing postseason in 2010. They are coming back this season with an even better team and have to play the Nuggets in the first round. The Nuggets are a deeper team, but I’m not sure that they can deal with Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant. It’s interesting that the Lakers may hope that this series goes a little bit longer so that they won’t miss Metta World Peace in the second round. I think the Nuggets will get a game, but ultimately it’s the Nuggets moving on.

Prediction: Lakers in 5

(4) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (5) Los Angeles Clippers

The Memphis Grizzlies have gone from the underdog story of last season, to a struggling team during the season and now back to everyone’s favorite upset for the first round of this playoffs. Maybe if they found themselves with a different matchup than the Clippers in the first round, I’d pick them. I’m not though, because Chris Paul has been great in the playoff games he has played with New Orleans and will be even better in these playoffs. It’ll be a close series, but I think the Clippers are going to come out on top.

Prediction: Clippers in 7

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