Hello all!!! (Read on, I will explain the length of this article, so don't leave yet, when you see the number of pages.)
If you know me, you will know that I have been away from Bleacher Report for quite some time now. Much has happened in my latest absence. I am sorry to all my fans, and all who have enjoyed my work and hoped for more. I am sorry, but I am back!
I have seen and enjoyed some great work in recent times.
Sooo. These days, the NBA Playoffs are upon us.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know; I am pretty late by now, already into the first round by three or four games now. Actually, I write this as I watch the Sixers play the Magic in Philly in Game 4, and the 76ers have the 39-38 lead in the third. (Pretty low scoring game, huh.)
This is the story. In the recent years, I, along with some family and friends, make playoff brackets to predict the outcomes. We make the first one a day prior to the start of the season and the second is made a day prior to the start of the playoffs. The one made prior to the season was a guess in who would make it, then advance and win the whole thing.
WHEN YOU SEE HOW LONG THIS ARTICLE IS BY NUMBER OF PAGES, DON'T FREAK OUT, OKAY?
I will write my brackets, talk about them, why I believe in them, and more. That part is not all that long. The reason this will be so long is because I will add something, just so I can post the brackets of a couple of others who filled them out with me. So that is why it will be so long, because there are so many brackets. You can choose not to look at them and just pay attention to my stuff, I just wanted to have the others posted for fun.
Now you can take my word, these are prior to any of the action taking place. I will present my playoff predictions, and follow it up with my thoughts on what will take place.
(A day prior to the start of the '08-'09 season) My bracket:
4. Orlando vs. 5.Toronto = Toronto 4-3 First round
3. Philadelphia vs 6. Cleveland = Philly 4-3 First round
1. Boston vs. 5. Toronto = Boston 4-3 Semis
2. Detroit vs. 3. Philadelphia = Philadelphia 4-3 Semis
1. Boston vs. 3. Philadelphia = Boston 4-2 Conference Finals
1. Houston vs. 4. San Antonio = Houston 4-3 Semis
2. Los Angeles vs. 6. Utah = LA 4-2 Semis
1. Houston vs. 2. LA = Houston 4-3 Conference Finals
NBA 2008-2009 Finals
1. Boston vs. 1. Houston = Houston Rockets 4-3 Champions of the World!!!
Finals MVP=Ron Artest
Season MVP= Dwight Howard
All-Star Winners= West
All-Star MVP= Allen Iverson
Most Improved= Nate Robinson or Beno Udrih
Sixth Man = JR Smith
ROY= Michael Beasley or Greg Oden.
(A day prior to the start of the '09 playoffs)
1. Cleveland vs. 8. Detroit = Cleveland 4-1 First round
4. Atlanta vs. 5. Miami = Atlanta 4-1 First round
3. Orlando vs. 6. Philadelphia = Orlando 4-3 First round
2. Boston vs. 7. Chicago = Boston 4-2 First round
1. Cleveland vs. 4. Atlanta = Cleveland 4-2 Semis
3. Orlando vs. 2. Boston = Boston 4-3 Semis
1. Cleveland vs. 2. Boston = Cleveland 4-2 Conference Finals
1. L.A. vs. 8. Utah = LA 4-1 First round
4. Blazers vs. 5. Houston = Rockets 4-2 First round
3. San Antonio vs. 6. Dallas = SA 4-3 First round
2. Denver vs. 7. Hornets = Denver 4-1 1st round
1. LA vs. 5. Houston = Los Angeles Semis
3. San Antonio vs. 2. Denver = Denver 4-3 Semis
1. Lakers vs. 2. Denver = LA 4-2 Conference Finals
NBA Playoffs 2008-2009
1. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 1. Los Angeles Lakers= L.A. Lakers 4-2 are World Champions!!!
Bill Russel Award Finals MVP= Kobe Bryant
Who will win: Season MVP= LeBron James
Coach of Year= Mike Brown
Rookie of Year= Derrick Rose
Sixth Man= Jason Terry
Most Improved= Devin Harris.
Who I think are the real winners:
Season MVP= 1. Dwayne Wade 2. Chauncey Billups
Coach of Year= Rick Adelman or George Karl
Rookie of Year= Derrick Rose
Most Improved= Not Sure
Sixth Man= Jason Terry
Now. Why did I choose these specific predictions? Well, I'll get into that. Let me start from the first rounds and work my way up towards the finals.
The Cavs defeat the Pistons 4-1.
Looks as though my prediction fanned out here, as it was very likely too. It was just a game different ending to the game. I said 4-1; it was really 4-0. The Cavs just have too much power. While the Pistons were going to make them fight, and they did for half of the game in games one, two, and four.
But Pistons' fans must understand from this series. What were the Pistons missing? A scorer. A closer. A leader. In other words: Allen Iverson, Allen Iverson, Allen Iverson.
But even if he was around, they would have still lost 4-2. But the Pistons never learned how to utilize The Answer. Even McDyess said, let AI be himself (30-35 ppg, 7-8 apg, 2-3 spg). Let him create for himself as well as everyone else. When he does, he is a top five player, but sadly the Pistons never got down to trying hard enough to adjust. Just look at his stat line, and compare it with his other years. He is still in his prime, but...ah...I am pretty sure he did A LOT of sacrificing for Detroit.
Hawks will defeat Heat 4-1.
The Heat are too young. Wade cant win the series by himself; he is not that good. No offense there, but he can not carry these guys through. If Jermaine O'Neal can get his old self going, maybe we'll see a tough game seven. I thought it would go 4-1, Hawks.
I guess I was wrong on the games, seeing that the series is tied 3-3. But I still believe Atlanta comes out. There is just too much hunger, experience, veterans, and skill. The Heat have Wade, JO, Haslem, Moon, but the other guys are not ready yet to me.
Magic beat 76ers 4-3.
I don't get it. You guys are idiots if you seriously believed Orlando would dominate this series. It has been the most exciting series, along with the Celtics/Bulls.
I mean it is tied at 2-2 (game five is right now, and the Celtics/Bulls in OT). But three of the four games have had game-winning shots. INSANE!!!
I am just plain bewildered how anyone thought this would take four or five games for the Magic to pull out the victory.
The components are all there: Philly has a major shot at winning, and actually going to the Conference Finals. Andre Miller is arguably a top five point guard, along with young stars (that are veterans in their own right) in Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert.
In addition, they have some young guns: Lou Williams, Willie Green, etc and savvy veterans: Theo Ratliff, Donyell Marshall, etc.
Orlando is hobbled by injuries, so you never know. With Dwight Howard out for Game 6, we'll have to see what happens. I still thought that Orlando would win because of home-court advantage, but now with Dwight out (as well as Courtney Lee), momentum is shifting,
Celtics win 4-2 vs. Bulls.
Veterans, champions, sound foundation, and young gunners vs. rookies, sophomores, and third year player as starters. An easy win for the first predictions.
But that ALL changed when Brad Miller and John Salmons arrived in Chicago. Miller is the best passing big man in NBA; a veteran, who can score and rebound, as well as score and a veteran who can shoot and who was under the wing of Allen Iverson.
That is a lot of help, and is the reason they are where they are. I picked six games for the Celtics. That now may change with Powe out of the action, but I think my prediction still may pan out.
Ray Allen. Paul Pierce. In there prime now. Clutch players. Superstars. Remember everyone, before they ever were the Big 3 with KG, they led their own respective teams to playoff runs, (Conference Finals and Semifinals for Ray Allen).
Sooo, I would expect these two to do something like that, ESPECIALLY TOGETHER.
Lakers win 4-1 vs. Jazz.
I was right on the dot with that one. The Jazz are a great team, but are not the same state of mind and play that they were last season.
LA has a top five player (arguably the best player) leading them. With veterans who have been in the Finals (a few times for Derek Fisher). With All-Stars by him, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and very good players who make HUGE contributions, such as Sasha Vujacic, Derek Fisher, Luke Walton, Andrew Bynum, Trevor Ariza, and Jordan Farmar that pretty much summed it up.
Rockets defeat Blazers 4-2.
Again. People were just riding along the Portland bandwagon. NOOO!
Young guys, led by Brandon Roy, the only real guy who can average 20 ppg who creates for himself against maybe the best center when healthy in Yao Ming, as well as Ron Artest and Shane Battier guarding Roy.
Uhh, pretty easy pick for me here. Just too much hunger, passion, defense, and a better coach.
4-3, Spurs over Mavericks.
Yeah, yeah, sure. 4-1, Mavs had it this time. But it was a hard decision. It was hard to tell just how much an impact losing Ginobili would have.
I think against a few other teams, the Spurs could've had it. But I guess they were too predictable.
The Spurs will be back next year, hungry. I sense a couple of shuffles here and there.
The Mavericks were hungry, hungry players, especially in their two superstars, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki, with a great coach trying to show he can have playoff success, not just season success.
I really pushed for the Mavs to do something in the end of the regular season. If they drew the Lake show, it would have been four or five games before they said "bye bye." If they moved up, I saw a great opportunity.
They have a good shot at making the Conference Finals, but I still see the Nuggs getting that one.
Hornets lose to Nuggets 4-1.
I was right on the dime, literally. I had 4-1, and what happens? 4-1, Nuggs take it.
I told everyone that the Nuggets would win easy, that Billups would torch CP3, and CP3 would be shut down. All evidence in my support.
Even so, people continued to believe the Hornets would take it. They love CP3, and they think because they hear his name so much and he is a star, that the Hornets would win.
WRONG, big time. I have NBA League Pass and understand how the teams play and the players play better than anyone else who just plain watches regular televised games.
NO WAY were the Nuggs losing; not even close. Even last year, had these two teams met, the Nuggs would have beaten them almost as easily.
Just goes to show what idiotic fans we have these days.
EAST ROUND TWO
Cavs vs. Hawks, Cavs 4-2.
This one can really be a toss up.
Most people think the Cavs will breeze their way to the Conference Finals, even the Finals. I don't think so.
Just because the Heat pushed the Hawks to seven games, I still see the Hawks playing better versus the Cavs.
People just don't see what I see, because of that League Pass.
Teams play different versus different teams. I think this has the potential to go to six or even seven games, possibly in the Hawks' favor. It matters. If they meet for game seven, it goes to Cleveland. But if the Hawks want to win, they won't do it in seven, they will have to win an early away game. It is tough.
Magic vs. Celtics. The Champs keep on keepin' on, 4-3.
Ray Allen. Paul Pierce. Two superstars in their prime.
Before the Boston Big 3 happened, each star led their respective teams to much success, notably Ray Allen. The Celtics have the foundation built in. They are veterans who are playing hard. Ray and Pierce won't let it end easy. It will be a fight. With Courtney Lee possibly out, it will hurt the Magic.
I see Allen and Pierce leading the Celtics on to the Conference Finals, with the rest of the team playing very well.
Rockets out of the first round, but how much farther? Not much, Lakers 4-1.
The Rockets are playing great. They have a great coach and great defense.
But...they don't have that many scoring options. Sure, Yao and Artest can produce 20-25 points. But the rest of the guys are not such prolific scorers, and they are young as well. It will be tough.
I think it will be 4-1 Lakers, but most of the games will be very tight. Lakers have too much of everything this series.
Spurs vs. Nuggets, Nugs 4-3.
Well, it won't happen anymore, since the Spurs are out. But either way, I had Denver in this one.
I thought the Spurs would run out of some gas, while Denver would be at full strength, easily handling the Hornets. Nuggets have a leader point guard, who has one a chip, and very talented young players and veterans like Melo, Kenyon Martin, JR Smith, Linas Kleiza, etc.
I thought T. Parker and T. Duncan would push the Nuggets, but Denver would ultimately have it.
East. Rematch, Cavs vs. Boston, Cavs 4-2.
No Powe, no KG. Tough loses.
But again, the team is still very good. But the Cavs are just stacked with stars. Delonte West, Anderson Varejao, Ben Wallace, Big Z, Wally's World, LeBron James, Daniel Gibson, Maurice Williams. So many options.
People say that Garnett won't be back these playoffs. But...I think different. I think they say this just so the players get it in their minds, that they will get the minutes, and who will play, they won't be relying on KG returning.
But if the Celtics make it far, I see KG possibly suiting up for a few games for say 12-20 minutes.
The Celtics can beat the Cavaliers. LeBron James is nowhere near unstoppable. But the Celtics wll have to bring different game plans. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are just too good, and the Celtics already are champions.
Throughout the playoffs, I see Stephon Marbury making the difference in at least one game. You never know, but this time I just picked the Cavaliers.
WEST. Another rematch, Denver vs. LA, Lakers back in the Finals, 4-2.
Okay. The difference is that the Nugs no longer have the dynamic superstar, Allen Iverson.
Although they got a player who is actually alot lower than Iverson( not as great a basketball player as AI, in other words), Iverson is not the better fit. The Nuggets were too much of and offensive team, with young guys that needed to be guided.
Iverson doesn't guide; he sets examples by playing hard and the team follows, but that is not the right leader for this squad.
The Nuggets will give the Lakers a hard time and push them in each game. But ultimately the Lakers want to avenge last year's loss in the Finals, and even though the Nuggets improved defensively, it won't be enough.
You never know, the Nugs have a good chance, but we'll see.
The 2008-2009 NBA Finals!!! L.A. Cleveland. Who prevails? No doubt, Lakers in Six.
The match up that is supposedly this unbelievable series.Uh, I don't think it will be that great.
Let it be said, KOBE BRYANT IS BETTER THAN LEBRON JAMES! KOBE BRYANT IS BETTER THAN LEBRON JAMES. Everyone should understand that; it is the truth, I really don't see ANY argument for LeBron, or even close.
Look, Kobe Bryant is in a certain kind of mindset right now.
The Spurs. The Celtics. These are the only two teams that WOULD beat LA if healthy. But both of these teams are hobbled this year.
Kobe sees his opportunity to strike, NOW! The Lakers lost last year to the Celtics and would do the same thing this year, had they been healthy. Last year, the Lakers even got lucky in getting to the finals.
The Spurs had a less than 100 percent Manu, and still made it to seven games. Had he been healthy, it would've been a S.A. vs Boston final. Bryant sees his best opportunity now.
The Cavs and Lakers are two very different teams. As I had stated, I have NBA League Pass. I understand the teams and players better. The Lakers are very good, and always are the team to beat with the elites.
But although they beat the elite teams, they lose to the below .500 teams (got swept by Charlotte, almost lost to Thunder, and more). The Cavaliers dominate, absolutely dominate the lower-ranked teams. They dismantle and bully them. They are beasts. But when it comes to the top-notch teams, they play lesser than versus other teams. So strange.
In the end,the Lakers win. Kobe sees this is his best shot of late. LeBron is not better than Kobe. The Lakers are too hungry as a whole. The Cavs have been swept by the Lake Show. The Cavs are not all that good against elite teams.
Actually, the Lakers might not even meet the Cavs. If the Cavs meet the Magic, Orlando has a great shot at winning, actually I think they would win. But again, teams play different versus certain teams, and although I think Orlando can beat Cleveland, I am not so sure they can beat Boston, although the Cavs can. I know, confusing.
The only way the Lakers don't win the championship this year is if they lose to a western team. If they make it to the finals, it is all over. The Nuggets might have the best shot at beating them
What will happen then? Kobe Bryant used to be overrated and still is, but not as much. If LA wins, that overrating will come back, and he, along with LBJ will be the two most overrated players in the NBA.
This year's MVP will be LBJ although it should be Wade. After him, it is Billups.
Here is my All-NBA team (not so sure though, didn't do much thinking here):
G) Dwayne Wade G) Chauncey Billups (REALLY TOUGH CHOICE THOUGH) F) LeBron James F) Pau Gasol C) Dwight Howard
Second team G) Kobe Bryant G) Chris Paul F) Dirk Nowitzki F) Tim Duncan C) Yao Ming
Third Team G) Deron Williams G) either Brandon Roy/Jason Kidd/Andre Miller/Ray Allen/Joe Johnson/Tony Parker/Steve Nash F) Camelo Anthony/Paul Pierce/Vince Carter/Chris Bosh/Ron Artest/Amare Stoudemire C) Shaq/Al Jefferson
The 2008-2009 season. I just want to say, it has been maybe the worst NBA season I have ever watched. The stars have all been getting injured or playing on the wrong style of teams: Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, Amare Stoudemire, Al Jefferson, Michael Redd, Manu Ginobili, Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden, Elton Brand, Marcus Camby, Tim Duncan, Baron Davis, Gilbert Arenas, Chris Kaman, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Eddie Curry, Peja Stojakovic, Jameer Nelson, Rasheed Wallace, Rip Hamilton, Carlos Boozer, and more.
That is way too many. On top of that, the NBA has stricken an all-time low and become much too much materialized and marketed. What do I mean? It is all about the stars and not enough about the teams. The players are becoming overrated.
The NBA commish and everyone is trying to blow up the images of players that are loved way way out of proportion, and people are buying into it. So this causes the fans to overrate players, and the NBA is even letting them do so by letting them vote for the All-Star MVP or dunk contest winner. The fans buy merchandise and the NBA gets the money. That is why they do it. It has become more about business than basketball; it is very sad.
Playoff brackets of two people (left unnamed) that I show the brackets made prior to the season and the playoffs. You can choose what to do, but my part is pretty much done. Here they are:
Anonymous No. 1 (prior to '09 season)
East First round
1. Cetics vs. 8. Sixers = Celtics 4-1
4. Magic vs. 5. Raptors = Raptors 4-3
3. Cavaliers vs. 6. Bulls = Bulls 4-2
2. Pistons vs. 7. Bucks = Pistons 4-1
1. Celtics vs. 5. Raptors = Celtics 4-1
6. Bulls vs. 2. Pistons = Pistons 4-0
1. Celtics vs. Pistons = Celtics 4-2
West First round
1. Suns vs. Jazz = Suns 4-2
4. Hornets vs. 5. Nuggets = Nuggets 4-3
3. Rockets vs. 6. Blazers = Rockets 4-2
2. Spurs vs. Mavericks = Spurs 4-0
1. Suns vs. 5. Nuggets = Nuggets 4-3
3. Rockets vs. 2. Spurs = Spurs 4-2
5. Nuggets vs. Spurs = Nuggets 4-0
NBA Finals 2009
Denver Nuggets vs. Boston Celtics = Denver Nuggets 4-3
Finals MVP= Allen Iverson
Season MVP = Kobe Bryant
All-Star Winners/MVP= West/Kobe Bryant
Most Improved= Shaq
Sixth Man= Jason Terry
Rookie of Year= Michael Beasley
Amazing! He got three of the four first round Western Conference series correct, (Nugs/NO, Dallas/SA, Houston/Blazers) and even got two of the three results right. He got the All-Star game winner right, the west, and partially the MVP, Kobe. He even got the Jazz right on their playoff spot in the eighth seed, and got the sixth man right, Jason Terry. This is all before any action started in the season of 2008-2009.
Day Prior to the Playoffs
East First round
1. Cavs vs. Pistons = Cavs 4-2
4. Hawks vs. Heat = Hawks 4-1
3. Magic vs. Sixers = Magic 4-0
2. Celtics vs. Bulls = Celtics 4-3
1. Cavs vs. 4. Hawks = Cavs 4-2
2. Celtics vs. 3. Magic = Celtics 4-2
1. Cavs vs. 2. Celtics = Cavs 4-2
West First round
1. Lakers vs. 8. Jazz= Lakers 4-2
4. Blazers vs. 5. Rockets = Rockets 4-3
3. Spurs vs. 6. Mavericks = Spurs 4-2
2. Nuggets vs. 7. Hornets = Nuggets 4-1
1. Lakers vs. 5. Rockets = Lakers 4-0
3. Spurs vs. 2. Nuggets = Spurs 4-3
1. Lakers vs. 3. Spurs = Lakers
NBA 2009 Finals
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers= Cleveland 4-3
Finals MVP= LeBron James
Anonymous # 2 (Prior to the '09 season)
East 1st round
1. Cavs vs. 8. Hawks = Cavs 4-2
4. Pistons vs. 5. Raptors = Pistons 4-3
3. Magic vs. 6. Sixers = Sixers 4-3
2. Celtics vs. 8. Bucks = Celtics 4-2
1. Cavs vs. 4. Pistons = Cavs 4-2
2. Celtics vs. 6. 76ers = Celtics 4-3
1. Cavs vs. 2. Celtics = Cavs 4-3
West First round
1. Lakers vs. 8. Nuggets = Lakers 4-2
4. Hornets vs. 5. Suns = Suns 4-2
3. Jazz vs. 6. Spurs = Spurs 4-3
2. Rockets vs. 7. Mavs = Rockets 4-1
1. Lakers vs. 5. Suns = Lakers 4-3
6. Spurs vs. 2. Rockets = Rockets 4-3
1. Lakers vs. 2. Rockets = Lakers 4-3
NBA 2009 Finals
1. Lakers vs. Cavaliers= Lakers 4-3
Finals and season MVP = Kobe Bryant
All-Star winners/MVP= East/ LeBron James
Rookie of Year= Greg Oden
He got the Sixers/Magic match up right, even the seeding. He also got the Cavs and Lakers seeding right.
Day Prior to the '09 Playoffs
East 1st round
1. Cavs vs. 8. Pistons= Cavs 4-2
4. Hawks vs. Heat = Hawks 4-3
3. Magic vs. 6. 76ers = Magic 4-1
2. Boston vs. 7. Chicago = Celtics 4-1
1. Cavs vs. 4. Hawks = Cavs 4-1
3. Magic vs. 2. Celtics= Celtics 4-3
1. Cavs vs. 2. Celtics = Cavs 4-3
West First round
1. Lakers vs. 8. Jazz= Lakers 4-1
4. Blazers vs. 5. Rockets = Blazers 4-3
3 Spurs vs. 6. Mavs = Mavs 4-2
2. Nuggets vs. 7. Hornets = Nuggets 4-3
1. Lakers vs. 4. Blazers = Lakers 4-2
6. Mavs vs. 2. Nuggets = Nuggets 4-3
Lakers vs. Nuggets = Lakers 4-3
NBA Finals 2009
Lakers vs. Cavaliers = Lakers 4-3
Finals MVP= Kobe Bryant
Thank you for reading! Sorry it was sooo long. I hope you got through it all.
Enjoy the rest of the playoffs; I am sure I will. Game 7 Bulls/Celtics, should be nasty!
I'd love to see some feedback on this. It is my return to Bleach Report, so I might have been a bit rusty. The 2008-2009 season? Uhh, not so good. 2008-2009 playoffs? Amazing is happening!