The playoffs are upon us once again ladies and gentlemen. This has the potential to be one of the most interesting playoffs in the past couple of years and that’s saying a lot because last year was pretty epic. All I can remember is Ray Allen hitting that game tying three-point shot, to tie the score, sending my Heat to an overtime win against the formidable San Antonio Spurs. Now this is a new year and I think we’re in for quite a ride. Just like last year, I have my predictions for the first round playoffs and some may shock you.
Western Conference 1st Round
San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks – Winner: Spurs in 6
Key to victory for Spurs: make Dirk play on both ends of the floor.
Key to victory for Mavericks: contains Tony Parker.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies – Winner: Thunder in 7
Keys to victory for Thunder: establish an inside presence and set the tone early.
Keys to victory for Memphis: they have to do what got them to the dance; don’t play OKC game.
Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trailblazers – Winner: Rockets in 6
Keys to victory for Rockets: play inside out and establish Howard early work through him.
Keys to victory for Blazers: give Aldridge the ball; Houston has no one to defend him, which can cause a mismatch if he is doubled.
Los Angeles Clipper vs. Golden State Warriors – Winner: Clippers in 5
Keys to victory for Clippers: defend and take care of the ball, they don’t want to give the warriors free possessions.
Keys to victory for Warriors: take care of the ball, get physical with Griffin and keep Jordan off the glass.
Eastern Conference 1st Round
Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks – Winner: Pacers in 6
Keys to victory for Pacers: defend like you have all season; they should make short work of the Hawks.
Keys to victory for Hawks: attack Hibbert early; get him in foul trouble and open up the lanes.
Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Bobcats – Winners: Heat in 5
Keys to victory for Heat: play Heat basketball; you should make short work of the bobcats
Keys to victory for Bobcats: attack the paint and crash the board; Miami is last in rebounding, so they might have a chance.
Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets – Winner: Toronto in 6
Keys to victory for Raptors: they have to use their quickness and keep a frenetic pace; Brooklyn won’t be able to keep up.
Keys to victory for Nets: since the Raptors are young, cash in on their mistakes. Their young and may not be able to handle the pressure.
Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls – Winner: Chicago in 7
Keys to victory for Washington: take care of the basketball, Chicago is a top rated defensive team. These are the last guys to turn the ball over against.
Keys to victory for Bulls: make guard play will be important on the defensive end. If Wall and Beal get going, it could make for a long series for the Bulls.♦